Driven: VW Transporter Kombi 6.1

This is not a car review. Because the Kombi is not a car. It is my best friend. And you can’t review a best friend.

Look, man, I was dealing with all kinds of emotions when I got this van. Like, I was still trying to evaluate the best bakkie for loading up mountain bikes, considering which of those would make a good lifetime partner for me. Then this Kombi arrived and look, I already had the Caravelle. This one –

That was a bus so nice I had to ask Kelly to review it for fear of gushing too much. Then she ended up gushing about it instead. Until we saw the sticker price of R1.2mil. A bloody fortune, mate. We were put off by what is essentially the most famous of MPVs at a time where the top-selling cars in the land were double-cabs and besides, haven’t we all moved on to SUVs anyway? Turns out, no.

What is it?
This is the humbler Kombi, where you can have the exact same 2.0-litre bi-turbocharged diesel engine from the Caravelle we tested, with identical performance to boot. That’s 146kW and 450Nm to make for a sub-10 second bus from zero to hundred. But the clincher this time once again was the peloton-swallowing load area behind the second row of seats. And then there’s the fact that this more pragmatic VW bus retails for R300k less at R907,000. And in fact, if you’re content with the base Trendline model’s 81kW and 250Nm, it can be had as ‘cheaply’ as R725k. Our test car however sat in the middle of the range with a 110kW/340Nm single-turbo diesel (0-100 in 12sec) and only costs R740,500. For a wonderous bus. A wunder bus!

How does it look?
In a word, iconic. The Volksiebus has a profile that’s been on our roads for several decades, like a Porsche 911. But not LIKE a 911, you know what I mean. With its great size comes incredible living space too, which you’ll appreciate the moment you climb in.

What about living with it?
This is a very spacious whip, but don’t ask me – ask my bicycles in the load bay, unaffecting seating for five adults. The seat frabric is Titanium Black, and there’s cupholders, shelves, bins and visors all over the show. Honestly, it’s the kind of ‘car’ that makes you want to change your lifestyle to something far more outdoorsy. Luckily for me, I’m already brandishing a brood of five, a pair of Staffie dogs and multiple bicycles so in a word, the Kombi is ‘bliss’. At under R750k, I can’t think of anything I’d rather get old with. Well, and Kelly.

Quick Stats: Kombi Trendline 2.0 TDI 110kW DSG
Price:                  R740,500
Engine:               2.0-litre single-turbocharged diesel engine
Power/torque:    110 kW and 320Nm
Transmission:      7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Performance:      0-100kph: 12.0 seconds, 175 km/h

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