VW T6 Kombi
The VW Type 2, or Kombi was introduced in 1950 and was related to the Type 1 or Beetle. The new Kombi is the sixth generation or T6 version and is an improvement on the T5 which was a radical change from earlier designs.
Without a doubt this is the best Kombi to date. It sticks to the basic recipe. Loads of space, good visibility, reasonable economy and pleasant to drive. The improvements and changes are all in the details.
There are five variants to choose from.
All are diesels, but you get to choose a lower or higher power version.
Long or short wheel base and basic or smart.
VW make three types of minibus. The Transporter range, Kombi and Caravelle.
Transporter is basically a bakkie, either single or double cab and sells from around R300 00, to R400 000, but a crew bus and a panel van are also available.
The Kombi range are 8 seater mini-busses, available in Trend or Comfortline trim levels and with either a 75kW or 103 kW diesel engine. Comfortline also has a long wheelbase version with a 7-speed DSG gearbox which is also an 8-seater.
The Caravelle is a seriously well appointed big MPV type personal bus. Caravelles start at R760 600 and top off at R873 500, befitting the luxury limo feel.
What its like
I got around 8 litres/100km on the open road and about 12 litres/100km in town, which is pretty good considering the size of the van.
The interior is very neat and functional. VW know a thing or two about car interior design and it shows.
From the driver’s seat you have very good visibility and all the controls are within reach and well laid out.
I found the air-conditioning rather rudimentary, although it does work especially for the front seats.
Issues I had with this new Kombi include the following – the gear stick obstructs the gear markings, although the display does indicate which gear you are in. The gearbox seems to hunt on occasion especially at low speeds, fortunately the less powerful version only comes in manual.
For such a big vehicle the omission of park distance control or assist coupled to a lack of a rear camera was disappointing.
I found the brakes overly sharp and the hill hold control unrefined.
The Kombi Comfortline 2.0 TDI DSG (103kW) we tested retails for R583 900 and included the following options: metallic paint, towbar, comfort package, 17-inch alloy wheels, multifunction steering wheel and the audio system, which all adds up.
Prices vary from R496 300 for a Trendline to R609 00 for the top of range Comfortline, excluding extras.
Also look at the Hyundai H1 which has been recently facelifted, Ford Tourneo, Chrysler Grand voyager, Kia Grand Sedona and the Mercedes Vito/ V-class.
VW gives you a 5 year or 60 000 maintenance plan and a 3 year or 120 000 warranty.