It may not have been in production since 2015, but the Volkswagen Transporter T5 – which, as its name suggests, is the fifth-generation light commercial vehicle and people carrier of the German marque’s Transporter series – continues to enjoy a strong following among enthusiasts.
A lot of that popularity can be attributed to the vehicle’s sheer versatility – as well as, of course, good old-fashioned German build quality and dependability.
Still, for a variety of reasons, if you are possibly in the market for a T5, it would be ill-advised to simply buy the first decent-looking example you see. Instead, ask yourself these questions to help to ensure you make the smartest choice.
What will I be using this T5 for?
As we touched on above, the T5 has a reputation for versatility above almost all else; new models were originally available in more than 100 combinations, encompassing the likes of panel vans, minibuses and people-mover configurations ranging from six seats up to 11 seats.
All of this means that the best VW T5 for someone intending to use it as an affordable people carrier is likely to be very different to the best VW T5 for a builder, engineer or delivery driver who has commercial use expressly in mind.
How will I insure it?
This is a big one! The very versatility of the T5 meant that many owners ended up modifying their vehicle in some way. This, combined with the aforementioned stellar diversity of T5 configurations, means that insuring a T5 can be a trickier business than initially meets the eye, with the ABI insurance groups for T5s tending to range all the way from Groups 5 to 40.
It is for these reasons that – especially when the T5 that has caught your eye has been extensively modified – you might turn to an insurer that specialises in dedicated VW T5 insurance deals, as is the advice of the experts in specialist insurance at MoneyBeach.
Does this T5 really represent good value for money?
Sure, it may have been a few years now since new VW T5s were rolling off the production lines, but that doesn’t mean every example you see will be dirt-cheap – or that an especially affordable T5 will be a worthwhile investment for you.
As the T5iver website says, “generally speaking in anything in life, you get what you pay for. Any cheap VW T5 is probably cheap for a reason. It’s always a good idea to look at as many different examples as you can before you go and look at ‘the one’, so you get a general feel for what represents a good vehicle and what doesn’t.”
Is there a full service history with this T5?
Such is the love that both personal users and tradespeople tend to have for T5s, that they usually take good care of them and keep them serviced.
So if, as the Honest John website suggests, you come across an otherwise promising-looking Volkswagen T5 that lacks stamps in the book, this is a likely indicator of past neglect, and you should steer well clear of it.
How does this T5 measure up to inspection?
Unfortunately, there can be a lot of scammers out there on the VW T5 used market, trying to take advantage of prospective buyers who lack knowledge or diligence.
You can greatly minimise your own chances of being taken in by a con artist by insisting on viewing the given T5 in person with a mechanic, before agreeing to any purchase.
Naturally, there’s a very long list of things that you should be scrutinising about any T5 you examine ‘in the flesh’.
This article on the T5-6Mods.co.uk website gives a good rundown of what you should keep your eyes peeled for when undertaking an inspection, encompassing the vehicle’s external appearance, engine bay, the front and rear cab, and more.
And no, even all of the above is not a foolproof guide to ensuring you really do only purchase a Volkswagen T5 that you’ll be proud of.
However, it will certainly maximise your chances of doing so, thereby hopefully enabling you to enjoy many more of the wonderful things about this acclaimed, practical, and reliable vehicle.