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Volkswagen introduces 2015 Transporter van

The sixth-gen Transporter features an evolutionary design and more efficient engines.

Volkswagen's commercial vehicles division has introduced the sixth-gen Transporter.

Called T6 internally, the next Transporter borrows styling cues from the retro-inspired Tristar concept that was presented last fall at the annual Commercial Vehicles Show that was held in Frankfurt, Germany. Unquestionably more of an evolution than a revolution, the T6 gets a sharper look all around but its overall dimensions stay roughly the same.

The Transporter follows the van industry's shift towards more car-like interiors and adopts a touch-screen based infotainment system similar to the unit found in the Golf and the Passat. Called Caravelle in a number of European countries, the Transporter's passenger-carrying sibling can be ordered with premium features like real wood trim on the dashboard and wall-to-wall leather upholstery.

The EuroNCAP, Europe's rough equivalent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), recently urged auto manufacturers to build safer commercial vans. Accordingly, the Transporter packs numerous airbags and a wide array of standard and optional electronic driving aids - including Front Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and a City Emergency Braking Function - designed to keep the van on four wheels and pointed in the right direction.

Volkswagen's mid-size van can be ordered with a 2.0-liter TDI four-cylinder turbodiesel engine available with 83, 100, 147 or 201 horsepower, or with a 2.0-liter gasoline-burning four that makes either 147 or 201 ponies. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard on most engines, and a six-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox is offered at an extra cost. Both front- and all-wheel drive models are available.

The Volkswagen T6 Transporter will go on sale across Europe in a couple of days. Volkswagen has not indicated if it will take on rival Mercedes-Benz on North America's burgeoning midsize van market, though rumors indicate that the company will launch a commercial vehicle on these shores before the end of the decade.

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