Volkswagen is putting the final touches on the seventh-generation Transporter, a versatile van positioned on the same branch of the firm’s family tree as the emblematic Beetle-derived models built for decades. Called T7 internally, the next installment in the series will gain a sharper design and a smarter, more modular interior.
We’ve seen enough of the new Transporter to tell it won’t be merely an evolution of the outgoing model. While the previous update added a wider, taller grille, the upcoming redesign will bring the van in line with the newest Golf by giving it a grille-less front end accented by strips of LEDs that connect the headlights. Cooling air will reach the radiator via a wide air dam integrated into the bumper. Two-tone exterior paint options will again be available.
Inside, the Transporter will learn a few tricks from the eighth-generation Golf. Drive-by-wire technology allowed Volkswagen to replace the gear selector with a small switch. It’s positioned on the dashboard, next to the infotainment’s 10-inch touchscreen, to clear up more space between the front passengers. Users will be able to order a sliding center console that doubles as a table, according to Volkswagen. Alternatively, they can choose to leave the space empty and use it to access the rear part of the cabin; the first and second generations of the Transporter (colloquially called split- and bay-window, respectively) were available as walk-through vans, too.
Technical specifications haven’t been released yet. We expect four-cylinder turbodiesel engines will again be available, along with front- or all-wheel-drive, and a plug-in hybrid option might join the range for the first time.
Volkswagen hasn’t sold the Transporter in the United States since the fourth-generation model (which was known as the EuroVan) left our market in 2003, and nothing suggests the seventh-generation model will mark the nameplate’s return. Van fans in the United States will need to admire the next Transporter from across the pond. They’re not entirely out of luck, though. The electric, retro-styled ID.Buzz concept is well on its way to production, and American sales are tentatively scheduled to start about halfway through 2023. Only upscale variants will be offered here.