Value of a good name
Volkswagen’s sixth-generation T-Series (T6) shows why the Kombi name continues to be so enduring, says GAVIN MYERS
If there’s one instantly recognisable name in the world of light commercial vehicles, it is Kombi. It’s part of the Volkswagen (VW) T-Series range; a nameplate that has been around for 65 years and sold 12-million units during that time.
We received the T6 Kombi TDI DSG Comfortline for testing. It was immediately apparent that this new T6 version is a smart evolution of the T5. With its bold, horizontal double grille and mid-height cut lines, the T6 Kombi holds a dapper, yet commanding, presence.
This vehicle is about moving people, so it’s the interior that really matters. Practical, comfortable and hardy are the descriptors that come to mind here… There is a huge amount of interior space and all eight seats are large and comfy. They’re easy to access, too, and can be easily removed to reveal 6,7 m3 of total load volume.
Up front there are cubbies, storage trays and drink holders galore. The Kombi does miss out on the Caravelle’s centre stack, though. In the pursuit of passenger comfort, heat insulating glass, rear ventilation and heating connected to the semi-automatic Climatic climate control system, and sun blinds on the rear side windows are fitted as standard. The whole floor is carpeted on the Kombi Comfortline.
Volkswagen claims the T6 is the most advanced T-Series model it has ever made. It has an intuitive five-inch Composition Colour radio with USB and SD card slot, and a Bluetooth hands-free facility, but what’s really important is the range of sector-first safety systems.
These include Multi-Collision Braking System, which automatically brakes after an accident to reduce the risk, or severity, of a secondary collision, as well as the Driver Alert System. Standard in the Kombi Comfortline, this monitors steering patterns and uses visual and acoustic warnings to recommend that the driver takes a break.
Our test vehicle was fitted with the 103 kW 2,0-litre TDI engine. Developing a maximum torque output of 340 Nm (between 1 750 and 2 000 r/min) and coupled to VW’s generally faultless seven-speed DSG double-clutch gearbox, progress is smooth, strong and effortless.
It’s relatively fuel efficient as well. VW claims it’ll consume 8,0 l/100 km on the combined driving cycle and 10,2 in town – we managed an overall 9,1.
VW has gone to great lengths in tuning the T6 chassis for passenger comfort and good handling characteristics. Indeed, despite its 3 080 kg gross vehicle mass and 3,4-m wheelbase, the Kombi is surprisingly nimble while offering a supple ride.
The T6 Kombi is a comfortable, spacious people mover that, overall, is hard to fault. It is one of the best automatic vehicles in its class and proves the value and longevity of a good name.
Competitively priced at R629 700, it is backed up by a three-year/120 000 km manufacturer warranty and 12-year anti-corrosion warranty, as well as a five-year/60 000 km AutoMotion maintenance plan.