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Volkswagen Transporter Syncro 4WD.


2001 left: This VW Microbus is a concept car, shown at [Detroit], and styled on the `T1' mircrobus that was a staunch member of the rear engined Transporter range. The current Transporter is of course front engined but the stylists have done a good job of the retro' look.

The Microbus has three rows of seats; the middle row can be turned to face forwards or backwards.


2001 February: In a novel promotion, Volkswagen is offering a free extended warranty on all Transporters sold between 1 February 2001 and 31 March 2001. A two year extension takes the warranty up to 4-years/ unlimited kilometers (normally 2-years/ 60K-km.

SWB: loa 4707mm, w 1840mm, h 1940mm
LWB: loa 5107mm, w 1840mm, h 1940mm.
Crew cab: loa 5136mm, w 1840mm, h 1920mm.
2.0L: 1968cc, petrol, 62kW at 4300rpm, 159Nm at 2200rpm (SWB only).
2.5L: 2461cc, petrol, 85kW at 4500rpm, 200Nm at 2200rpm.
Tdi: 2461cc, turbo' diesel, 75kW at 3500rpm, 250Nm at 1900- 2300rpm.


Volkswagen released its new Transporter vans in 1992, moving the engine to the front and also driving the front wheels. It made a lot of sense in terms of improved crash worthiness and increased internal space - allowing a full-length, low floor.

Volkswagen Transporter Syncro 4WD crew cab

The Volkswagen Transporter is available as a van (short and long wheel base) and as a crew-cab pickup (left). A people-mover version, the Volkswagen Caravelle, becomes available in Australia in late 1997.

Volkswagen Transporters can be ordered with the optional Syncro "constant four wheel drive system" which uses a viscous coupling. Volkswagen is sticking to "4WD" terminology rather than the "AWD" alternative. The engine and transmission are transversely mounted in the nose to provide front wheel drive. In the Syncro Transporter, drive is taken off the front differential's crown wheel by a pinion to a propeller shaft. This is in three sections, joined by constant velocity joints, and takes the drive to a rear differential. The viscous coupling is incorporated in the input to the differential. There is no dog-clutch to rigidly lock the viscous coupling.

Rear suspension remains independent by semi-trailing arms on the Syncro, as for the front wheel drive models.

Today's Transporter Syncro is not as capable an offroader as the old rear-engined Syncro which had quite surprising abilities, particularly in the tougher 16"-wheel version. The modern Syncro is more of a slippery-roader than an offroader.

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Volkswagen Transporter Series

  • Transporter Van, 3 seats, 3 doors
  • loa: 4707mm, width: 1620mm, height: 1415mm
  • wheelbase: 2920mm, track: 1589mm/1554mm, grnd clearance: 180mm
  • turning radius: 5.85m
  • weight: 1525kg-1695kg (unladen), GVM: 2800kg, towing: 700kg (unbraked)
  • Engines:
    • 2L petrol:
      • Digifant 1968cc, petrol, 4-cyl
      • 62kW at 4300rpm, 159Nm at 2200rpm
    • 2.5L petrol:
      • Simos 2461cc, petrol, 5-cyl
      • 85kW at 4500rpm, 200Nm at 2200rpm
    • 2.4L Diesel:
      • 2370cc, diesel, 5-cyl
      • 57kW at 3700rpm
      • 164Nm at 1800rpm-2200rpm
  • transmission: 5m/4a, Syncro: front wheel drive + drive to rear wheels via viscous coupling
  • suspension: indep'+torsion-bars/ semi-trailing-arms+coils, brakes: disc/disc
  • wheels: 6Jx15, fuel-tank: 80L
  • Price: from $28K (4x2 van) $au, 1997, 1998
    Transporter SWB 2.5 petrol or 2.4 diesel 5-spd Synco 4WD $38,490 rrp
    Transporter LWB 2.5 petrol or 2.4 diesel 5-spd Synco 4WD $40,490 rrp
    Transporter cCab 2.5 petrol or 2.4 diesel 5-spd Synco 4WD $39,990 rrp
    Transporter cab chassis 2.5 petrol or 2.4 diesel 5-spd Synco 4WD $35,990 rrp ('98)
  • Rivals: Iveco van, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Long Wheel Base Van and Crew Cab:

  • wheel base: 3320mm, van loa: 5107mm, crew-cab loa: 5136mm
  • turning radius: 6.45m, weight: 1645kg - 1745kg,

Thanks to Peter Farrer, Tom Niksch and others.

Go to the VW News, Volkswagen or Transporter, rear engined pages

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