As part of the MY2019 update to the Transporter T6, Volkswagen NZ has added a new Runner automatic variant to the local line-up.
There is increased demand for autos in the light commercial sector so adding a two-pedal, entry-level Runner to the Transporter T6 model mix was a no brainer.
Volkswagen created the Transporter Runner models to compete with the Toyota Hiace and Hyundai iLoads of the world by offering the market a competitive price point to go with the perceived German-built quality and safety features.
For MY2019, the manual T6 Runner now has a retail price of $43,990 while the T6 Runner auto opens at $49,990 plus on roads and options.
The Hyundai iLoad six-speed manual opens at $48,990 and the five-speed auto is in at $50,990 while the comparable Toyota Hiace is $41,990 and $43,990 under the new “Drive Happy” no-haggle pricing policy instituted earlier this year by the brand.
While the Runner six-speed manual offers a 75kW/250Nm four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, the auto gets a 103kW/340Nm version of the TDI engine and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission driving the front wheels.
Both Runner models utilise a short wheelbase, panel van body with dual sliding side doors. Glazing for the side windows in the load compartment is one of many available options for the Runner models, as is the upgrade from the standard low roof to the medium roof (2176mm vehicle height) for $1400.
Bear in mind the Runner models are entry-level offerings but they are hardly stripped out cheapies as they do come with a reasonable amount of kit for a day-to-day workhorse.
To be fair, the Runners are better suited to logistics operators or tradespeople, who want the reliability and safety offered by the Volkswagen brand but don’t necessarily want or need all the bells and whistles.
There are individuals seats for the driver and passenger while it goes without a full bulkhead, allowing easy walk-through access into the rear compartment. However, if a two-person bench seat and a bulkhead are required these can both be optioned at the additional cost of $500 and $700, respectively.
Standard equipment includes manual air, a leather-wrapped, multi-function steering wheel, electrically operated and heated side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, electric windows, central locking, adjustable steering wheel (reach and rake) and daytime running lights.
The tailgate is fitted with a heated window as well as its own washer and wiper, and the vehicle also comes with trailer hitch preparation as well as six lashing eyes in the load compartment floor.
Safety features include front airbags for the driver and front passenger (with passenger airbag deactivation), electronic stability programme with hill hold function, traction control, multi-collision brake function, brake assist, and vented disc brakes with ABS.
The Runner automatic is even more fun to drive than its manual counterpart thanks to the more powerful engine and additional forward gear. It’s agility and responsiveness as well as the ease of maneuverability in the city are appreciated, particularly in narrow streets and tight car parks. On the road its levels of noise, vibration, and harshness when not fully laden are more than acceptable for a van.
The Runner auto remains a compelling offer for buyers wanting a no-frills workhorse offering comfort, safety, European design, good driving dynamics and competitive whole-of-life running costs.
|Model||2019 Volkswagen Transporter Runner Automatic||Price||$49,990|
|Engine||1968cc, 4-Cylinder, 103kW/340Nm||Drivetrain||7-speed auto|
|Fuel Use||7.9L/100km||C02 Output||0g/km|
|0-100km/h||0.00 sec||Weight||1785kg kerb weight|
|Service||40,000km intervals, 3 year / 100,000km warranty||Load|
|Vitals||2800kg GVM, 989kg payload||Vitals||2500kg towing capacity|