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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Alistair Chambers

The magnificent VW Transporter van would be a serious addition to any farm

‘Very useful on the farm’: The Volkswagen Transporter T6.1 Sportline ABT

Bigger vans such as the Transit and Transporter are not that commonly used in an agricultural setting, but this very special version of the Transporter might tempt someone into medium-sized van ownership.

As vans go, this one is up there with the coolest you can buy. In the fashionable grey with the black highlights and massive black alloys, it really does stand out.

On collection day, while circumnavigating the M50, I noticed three fellow van drivers pull alongside, pause to view the big VW and then speed off with a knowing look, nod or thumbs up.

On the motorway and main roads, the Transporter is a stunning thing to eat up miles (kilometres!) with the usual upright van driving position, lots of go from the 204hp tdi engine running through Volkswagen 7-speed dsg gearbox and all the creature comforts you expect in a van at this price point.

In the cabin you get a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel with actual buttons rather than those haptic things that are on some of VW’s passenger offerings.

An 8-inch display in the middle of the dash supplies the directions and entertainment. This can run either Android Auto or Apple car play and is basically the same system as the current Golf. On the inside, it is practical and functional, as a van should be.

On the outside it is a very different story: the German tuning company ABT have been allowed to ‘pimp’ it out.

There are little styling parts that look like something that a F1 aerodynamicist might come up with — little aero flicks on the side skirts and a faux diffuser between the quad tail pipes at the rear (also fake but who cares they look good).

The 20-inch black alloys really finish the look off. These wheels are a triumph of form over function, as they make the ride a bit choppy when you stray off the smoothest of road surfaces.

This issue is compounded by the lowered and stiffened suspension which the German tuning house has added. In saying that I’m not sure I have ever driven such a sure-footed and entertaining van on a smooth, twisty piece of road.

At the business end of the van, it may be very useful on the farm. On opening the back door you are met with the sight of some stunning Wurth storage and mobile workshop solution: removable tool boxes, a fold-out work table and many straps and lashing points to secure tools and equipment.

But the standout piece of kit is the slide-out bench vice positioned just inside the back door. This door opens upwards, giving a nice dry area to work with the vice extended.

This really would be a godsend in comparison to attempting to knock out a pin from a shaft on soft ground with only a heavily used vice grip and a lump hammer.

The slide-out bench vice

The storage in the back of the van is extraordinary and would be a very welcome addition to any agri machinery operating business — a true mobile repair shop.

All this style and function comes at a cost — around €75,000. That’s beyond most farmers or contractors but if you could stretch to a lower-spec van with most of the features and a sensibly sized set of wheel and tyres, it would be a serious addition to any business.

The van as tested sits very much at the top of the heap of the Transporter range, which starts the in mid-30 thousands.

If I had a sizeable win on the National Lottery I would be straight down to order my very own fully kitted ABT Transporter and drive around doing my very best A Team impression.

To paraphrase the Salt-N-Pepa (a rap duo from the 1980s for the younger readers), What a van, what a van, what a van, What a mighty good van.

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