Volkswagen Motor Company
As a baby boomer of the 60’s, Volkswagens were regarded as basic, utilitarian vehicles combined with the distinctive sound of an air-cooled engine. Everyone in my age group has some recollection of a VW camper van in some form or other. This changed through the seventies and eighties as I realised that ‘VeeDubs’ were both charismatic, cheap and were simple to work on. A twin-carb VW 1600cc ‘suitcase’ engined Mk1 GP Beach Buggy with dual cannon exhausts became my first car.
Devoid of any weather protection, it utilised a beetle chassis, cut down to form a short-wheelbase 2+2 buggy. The first day I bought it, I drove thirty miles to a party in Richmond Surrey. The only problem was that I couldn’t get over 60mph,and every so often a big flame and associated ‘bang’ would exit from a tail pipe. I subsequently discovered that one of the HT leads had detached so that it was only running on three cylinders and a quarter of the petrol was imitating a flame-thrower. Without baffles, it was riotously noisy, it was exciting, it was lightweight and when running correctly, felt really quick. But a lack of schoolboy funds for something running Aston Martin tyres combined with dodgy electrics and a requirement for a valid MoT, meant that it was off the road more than on.
It’s a testament to that memory, but over 35 years, Porsches, TVRs and many other ‘toys’ later, I still want one. Although, next time it has to be an original tuned VW air-cooled flat four, Meyers Manx with a ‘less is more’ original ‘60’s look.
Today, the current Volkswagen group has grown up, and incorporates the brands of Bentley, Bugatti, Porsche, Lamborghini, Ducati, Scania, MAN, Volkswagen, SEAT, Skoda and Audi. The VW Group is one of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe. Its headquarters are based in Wolfsburg Germany.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles
The Volkswagen van range has been adding and improving models since it began 60 years ago. With one of the largest ranges of commercial vehicles on the market unquestionably at the pinnacle of its range is the iconic Transporter Van which has built an almost cult following particularly in passenger and camper van versions.
The range is vast and includes vans for both business and pleasure. For the everyday tradesmen they can choose the Caddy, Crafter or for more space the Transporter and for those needing something with a little more meat the Amarok pickup offers a rugged yet stylish alternative. Add to this the variations and conversions like the tipper and dropside and all bases are covered.
The most popular of the range has to be the Transporter not only as a commercial vehicle but as a passenger van or camper van. For decades people have been packing up and heading to the sun and the fashionable and market leading vehicle just increases to grow in popularity holding its value over any of its rivals. In fact it has become so popular that whole festivals and events have arisen as a kind of religious appreciatiion. The Volkswagen Transporter has now entered its 6th generation with a new T6 model being this year (2015). The Caddy also sees the release of it’s 4th generation.
Bluemotion technology is at the centre of Volkswagen’s drive to increase efficiency and performance of their vehicle range and their vans are no exception. Featured as standard with Start/Stop technology on the Transporter and on the Caddy and Crafter the quest for better performance and more fuel efficiency is at the forefront of development of Volkswagen commercial vehicles.
Volkswagen vans are both spacious and comfortable and load spaces are generous ranging from 4.2 cubic metres in the Caddy, 9.3 cubic metres in the Transporter and 17 cubic metres in the Crafter. Load lengths respectively are 2249mm, 2975mm and 4711mm. In fact the Crafter with its supreme load length can handle up to 5 Euro pallets making it a rel heavy weight contender in the bigger range of commercial vans. Loading is designed to be easy with wide side sliding doors with twin sliding doors available as an option and on the Caddy and Transporter either rear double doors, panelled or glazed or a tailgate. The pneumatic suspension offers a more comfortable ride and a lower loading height.
Designed with safety in mind the Volkswagen van range benefits from the high quality and innovative range of safety features. For a more comfortable and safe ride there is Adaptive Cruise Control assisted by Front Assist Area Monitoring System adjusting the drivers’ speed according to what is in front. Ideal for those longer journeys, to ensure reduced tiredness and a more comfortable drive, it can be set within the speed limits on managed motorways and to avoid speeding tickets on long stretches of road. There is also Lane Change Assist – Side Scan to see anything that may be approaching in the driver’s blind spot and Automatic Post-Collison Braking along with a rear view camera and parking sensors. All safety features are designed to enhance the driving experience and keep driver, passengers and any cargo safe.
The interior cabs of the VW van range are not unlike the VW car and carry the same features as you would find in a Golf, Polo or Passat. In fact you could call it an overgrown car. This of course makes it very comfortable and with a high spec. Features include comfortable, ergonomic seats that are adjustable to suit even the taller driver and a spacious roomy feel. There are many storage compartments that are both hidden and practical and the centre seat can be used as an office space with a fold out desk big enough to rest a 15.6" laptop or paperwork.
The technology is as you would expect from a manufacturer like Volkswagen and the cabs on all their models feature DAB radio, Bluetooth, Sat Nav, a touchscreen and voice control functionality all controlled from the steering wheel control mount and designed to keep the driver hands free and in control whilst on the move. There is also a USB and Aux port and a good quality speaker system.