Decoding the badge
VW T5 and T6s are all the same as each other in many ways, but slightly different at the same time. They are the same in looks and the basics of their engines. They are different in engine power output and their suspension.
So lets start at the back and try to decode what all the badges mean. On the rear door you will often see something like T32 140 TDI Blue Motion. Here’s what it means.
T32 refers to the van’s maximum gross vehicle weight . In this case the 32 means that it has a maximum gross weight of 3.2 tonnes (T26 means 2.6 tonnes, T28 2.8 tonnes etc). With our full conversions, we take off some weight by removing part of the roof, but then we add weight with the pop top and interior fittings. Roughly speaking we add about 200kg to the initial unladen weight of the van (which is around 1.8 tonnes regardless of the exact model). By the time we finish the conversion it will weigh about 2.0 tonnes, so even a T26 will be rated to be able to carry an additional 600Kg load. And that’s a lot of luggage.
The 140 TDI means that it’s a 140PS Turbocharged Direct Injection diesel engine. I can’t in all honesty tell you what PS stands for, but it seems to be almost the same as horsepower. The smallest engines are 84 PS and the most powerful is a twin turbo rated at 179PS. All the diesel engines are 2 litres in capacity nowadays and even the lowest powered vans seem to go well,as well as being very fuel efficient.
So what other badges might you see on a VW van?
Blue Motion refers to VWs reduced emissions technology which includes stop start along with lots of other things behind the scenes, from tyres with a low rolling resistance to improved airflow dynamics.
DSG means Direct Shift Gearbox. It’s almost like driving an automatic but it is in fact a manual gearbox with a clever twin clutch arrangement, much favoured by sports car manufacturers.
Sportline means a high specification van which goes like the clappers (the old Top Gear referred to them as the fastest vans in Britain).
Highline means a top spec van which is likely to have just about every conceivable extra, from climate control and rain sensors to auto dimming drivers mirror.
And 4 motion means that the vehicle is fitted with permanent four wheel drive.
Even the most basic VW vans seem to come with cruise control nowadays and to drive them they are nothing like vans of the past; much better in every way.
So no matter on the exact model you choose, rest assured it will make a fine camper with the capacity to carry lots of additional luggage and it will drive very well whilst doing it.