Out with the old, in with ‘old’ new

2010-04-23 09:23

Whenever a Volkswagen Kombi passes by, what comes to mind is David

Kramer, the Karoo Kitaar Blues and Bakgat! legend, in his red veldskoene, braces

and guitar hanging over his shoulder. This is the man who in many ways

immortalised the old VW “Volksie bus” ­adverts of the 1980s and 1990s.

With the above in mind, it’s fascinating that the German ­vehicle

manufacturer, Volkswagen, has just given the fifth generation T5 bus – popularly

known as the Kombi or Caravelle – a facelift.

The popular minibuses still carry the distinctive VW DNA but now

­also feature a narrow grille with ­redesigned bumpers, new mirrors and a

new-look VW badge.

Though the Volksie bus adverts date back to the 1980s, the VW bus

has a long history going back to the 1950s when the Type 2 T1 bus was first

created based on the Beetle. Think back to the hippie era and ­images of painted

combis with big colourful flowers and peace signs immediately come to


Although Kramer sings about the fuel-injected all-wheel-drive bus

in the T3 and T4 models, the T5 remains a family car. And it also has loads of

other uses found in the different models within the range such as ­being a good

towing vehicle that can carry a trailer load of up to 2?500kg.

The T5 was launched in 2004 and the current range still includes

the Caravelle as the luxury family vehicle, the Kombi which carries more

passengers and the Transporter which is the double-cab van with a bakkie at the

back featuring drop-down sides for easy loading.

The Transporter range has 16 models including single-cab,

double-cab, panel vans and crew buses. The Kombi range includes five models

while the Caravelle has three.

The latest range features three new 2.0 litre TDI four-cylinder

­engines with power figures of 75kW, 103kW and 132kW of power. Torque figures

start at 250Nm and rise up to 400Nm. These engines offer better torque dynamics

combined with an average reduction in consumption and CO2 values of 10%.

All turbodiesel engines have been replaced by completely new

generation of Euro 3 engines with the latest common rail injection.

The most powerful 4MOTION ­version (TDI with 132kW) will be

available with a dual-clutch gearbox (DSG). The 7-speed DSG combines the comfort

levels of a conventional automatic gearbox with the efficiency of a manual box.

This DSG box can also now be mated with four-wheel drive (4MOTION).

Even the safety features have been upped a notch with an electronic

stability programme fitted as standard and it also includes trailer

stabilisation and hill-hold assist. A new hazard flash function for the brake

lights also come standard.

The newly developed Servotronic system ensures significantly

improved steering precision – a standard feature in the Caravelle.

The range-topping Caravelle with a 132kW of power from its BiTurbo

diesel engine has swivelling second row seats, and the interior makes for a

comfy cabin for either family fun or transporting business people.

An optional table is available to set up a workspace, and there is

also a good night package with a bed sheet to convert the back seat into a


The Transporter is useful, with its drop-down sides on the loadbed,

for transporting equipment while the panel van serves the same purpose but is

more useful for baggage.


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