South Africans love their Volkswagen buses. Ever since the old-generation, egg-shaped Kombi, we have been besotted with these wonderful machines. In fact, in Pretoria and some other parts of the country’s townships, the VW Kombi/ Microbus was the only form of minibus taxi for years. The current generation has proven to be quite popular too, selling over 10 000 units since its launch in 2015. Now the updated, facelifted model has been launched, and it’s called the T6.1.

Mind you these premium buses are part of the larger Volkswagen Transporter family from Volkswagen Commercial division, which also consists of the Pick Up, Panel Van, Crew Bus, and then of course the Kombi, Caravelle and California. Updating something that works is never easy, but Volkswagen seems to have taken it in their stride and delivered the goods.

The front end has caught up with the premium Touareg, with a much bolder grille that splits into two parts, with the top end covered in chrome for the Caravelle. New LED daytime running lights sit below the newly-designed headlights, which can also be LED depending on the specification. Volkswagen went to town with some new colours for the T6.1, with 6 new exterior colours and 7 new two-tone combinations. Also, 6 new wheel designs are available.

These improvements don’t end in the exterior, but also extend to the inside. A new infotainment range has been installed, with the Caravelle and California getting a standard Discover Pro Media system with navigation, as well as the 26cm Digital Cockpit. A new, redesigned, flat-bottomed, multifunction steering wheel has been installed too. This being a people mover, Volkswagen saw it fit to place a large cell phone pad with a nearby charger, which is useful for any trip.

The Caravelle will still take up to 6 passengers in the greatest of comfort, with the iconic swivelling table still a feature at the rear. Others include Wireless App-Connect and USB connectivity, Park Distance Control with a rear view camera, Side Assist, Trailer Assist and Crosswind Assist among others.

Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre TDI turbo diesel engine has been tuned to several power and torque figures, depending on the model at hand. It makes between 81kW and 250Nm, 110kW and 340Nm, and 146kW and 450Nm. For the Caravelle and California the latter (146kW and 450Nm) applies between 1 400rpm and 2 400rpm. That is paired to a 7-speed DSG transmission, which Volkswagen says will help the bus accelerate all the way to 191km/h.

Volkswagen T6.1 Prices

T6.1 Pick Up

Single Cab 2.0 TDI 81kW LWB – R412 800

Single Cab 2.0 TDI 110kW 4MOTION DSG LWB – R466 100

Double Cab 2.0 TDI 81kW LWB  – R485 300

Double Cab 2.0 BiTDI 146kW 4MOTION DSG LWB – R590 800

T6.1 Panel Van

2.0 TDI 81kW LWB – R530 600

2.0 TDI 110kW DSG LWB – R568 700

T6.1 Crew Bus

2.0 TDI 81kW LWB (10-seater) – R612 000

2.0 TDI 110kW 4MOTION DSG LWB (5-seater) – R639 000

2.0 BiTDI 146kW 4MOTION DSG (5-seater) – R710 500

2.0 BiTDI 146kW 4MOTION DSG LWB (8-seater) – R752 700

T6.1 Kombi
2.0 TDI 81kW Trendline  – R697 700

2.0 TDI 110kW DSG Trendline – R726 000

2.0 BiTDI 146kW 4MOTION DSG Trendline Plus – R871 800

T6.1 Caravelle
Highline 2.0 BiTDI 146kW 4MOTION DSG – R1 149 400

T6.1 California

California Coast 2.0 BiTDI 146kW 4MOTION DSG – R1 196 500

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