Volkswagen’s decision, taken last year, to start offering a petrol engine in the front-wheel drive Transporter makes the model unique.
None of the iconic van’s direct rivals feature petrol power (see ‘Rivals’): if that’s what you require then your only option is to downshift to something smaller and lighter such as Ford’s Transit Connect, Vauxhall’s Combo or, indeed, Volkswagen’s own Caddy – always assuming, of course, that your choice has sufficient carrying capacity to suit your needs.
Volkswagen’s move is in part a reaction to the widespread – and largely unfair – condemnation of diesel, something that was in large part triggered by the manufacturer’s own regrettable role in the ‘dieselgate’ scandal.
It is worth repeating that although they are by no means free of harmful emissions, today’s frugal Euro6 diesel engines are far cleaner than their predecessors.
It is also a response to fears that some city fathers may ultimately decide to exclude even the most modern of diesels from their precincts.
Intrigued by the novelty of getting to grips with a medium-size petrol panel van, we climbed behind the
wheel of a 150hp 2.0-litre TSI, with a short wheelbase, standard roof and Highline spec.
What’s it like to drive? Huge fun – but it’s a potential licence-loser too…