Flex­ing its mus­cle

VW’s 4Motion van takes you any­where, says GRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

IF YOUR work takes you down dusty bush tracks, over snowy alpine roads, or across farm pad­docks, Volk­swa­gen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive sys­tem could be the an­swer to all your trac­tion woes.

All-wheel drive is fea­tured on many passenger cars and SUVs, but there are few vans with the sys­tem. One that does have it is the VW Trans­porter and it is the only all-wheel drive model in the one-tonne van seg­ment.

Volk­swa­gen’s 4Motion sys­tem is the same as that fit­ted to sev­eral com­pany passenger cars.

It’s a full-time sys­tem with drive go­ing to all four wheels all the time. Mostly, 90 per cent of the drive goes to the front wheels, but it is redi­rected as needed to over­come any wheel­spin de­tected. The max­i­mum drive split is 50/50.

Though it’s not a 4WD sys­tem, it does give theVW­van the abil­ity to go where a reg­u­lar van can’t.

It is per­fect for driv­ers who work in ski ar­eas when roads can be cov­ered with ice, or coun­try am­bu­lance driv­ers who spend their days driv­ing on un­sealed bush roads, work crews on re­mote mine sites, or tourists driv­ing in the out­back.

The all-wheel drive Trans­porter is gen­er­at­ing spe­cial in­ter­est among coun­try am­bu­lance ser­vices where crews have to not only drive down un­sealed secondary roads, but also have to ne­go­ti­ate sandy tracks and rough farm ac­cess roads.

To make the Trans­porter 4Motion even more ca­pa­ble off the beaten track, VW Aus­tralia has de­vel­oped a lo­cal sus­pen­sion kit for the fac­tory-built van that in­creases its ride height and ground clear­ance by 29mm.

The spring and strut kit is fit­ted as an op­tion once the van ar­rives here and is aimed at am­bu­lance ser­vices that need greater ground clear­ance in bush op­er­a­tions.

Big Wheels re­cently sam­pled a short wheel­base stan­dard roof Trans­porter van equipped with the 4Motion sys­tem.

The taller ride height of the sus­pen­sion up­grade was ob­vi­ous, but there was no ob­vi­ous im­pact on the ride or han­dling of the stan­dard van, which rides firm but com­fort­ably and han­dles pre­dictably and with pre­ci­sion.

When fit­ted with the 4Motion sys­tem, the Trans­porter comes with ei­ther the 96kW or the 128kW ver­sion of Volk­swa­gen’s 2.5-litre five-cylin­der TDi tur­bod­iesel en­gine, and only comes with a six-speed man­ual gear­box.

VW claims a com­bined fuel con­sump­tion of 9.2 litres for 100km. The test van Big Wheels drove had the more pow­er­ful en­gine, which is the choice of most in the am­bu­lance busi­ness.

First gear is low and re­ally only use­ful at walk­ing speed, or to get go­ing in rough or rugged ter­rain, but the sec­ond through fourth in­ter­me­di­ate gears pro­vide plenty of get up and go and are use­ful around town.

The top two gears are for cruis­ing on high­ways, the re­sponse in sixth gear is flat and you feel you need to change down to get any worth­while ac­cel­er­a­tion.

If it weren’t for the 4Motion badges on the tail­gate and the high rid­ing stance, the all-wheel drive Trans­porter would be hard to pick in a car park full of Trans­porter vans.

The in­te­rior is comfortable with cloth trimmed seats, and a neat well laid-out dash. There’s air con­di­tion­ing, CD sound, power win­dows and mir­rors, an ad­justable steer­ing col­umn and heaps of places to stow things.

Dual airbags pro­vide crash pro­tec­tion, anti-skid brakes are stan­dard and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol is op­tional.

Be­hind the cab the short wheel­base van will swal­low up to 5.8’’cu m of cargo, which can be loaded through a slid­ing door on the left side or through the lift-up tail­gate at the rear.

The GVM is 3000kg, and the 4Motion Trans­porter will tow up to two tonnes.

Trac­tion:

VW’s 4Motion can tackle snow and dust-cov­ered roads or take you safely over farm pad­docks.

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