Introduction to VW Transporter models

The Volkswagen Transporter is based on VW’s T platform and refers to a series of vans produced since the 1950s. Here we will explore the VW Transporter weight and payload across the range of variants.

VW Transporter weight and payload

You may also be interested in our VW Transport Model guides VW Transporter models – differences and VW Transporter Dimensions

VW Transporter Weight differences

The weight of the transporter is on a general and consistent increase over the six generations but there are aberrations depending on the trim levels within them that are affected by some of the following factors

  • Wheelbase – Short Wheel Base (SWB) and Long Wheel Base (LWB)
  • Roof height
  • Fuel type – Petrol or Diesel
  • Seating capacity – Shuttle, Kombi, Caravelle, etc.
VW Transporter T6 weight
A SWB VW T6 Kombi spec T32 (3200 kg)

So for example, the diesel variants with a long wheelbase and high roof variants are generally heavier for obvious reasons.

As the transporters evolved to become bigger, better, stronger, and more versatile, the vehicular weight took a central position amongst all other features. With the Transporter T5 and T6, the vehicle’s weight has become the identifying and differentiating factor to the extent that the models were named after their weights.

So the 2,600kg model is T26, 2,800kg is T28 , 3,000kg is T30 and 3,200kg  became T32. This will be further detailed in the tables below.

Weight by models

Before we list the weight of each model, it is important to understand the following two weights:

Kerb weight is the total mass of a vehicle with standard equipment and all consumables present such as oil, diesel/petrol brake fluids, steering fluids and so on, while not loaded with either passengers or cargo.

Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) or Weight (GVW) is the maximum the Transporter can safety weigh when loaded with either cargo or passengers.

The mathematical difference between the Kerb weight and GVM is referred to as the “Payload”.

Here is a table that lists the Kerb weight and Gross vehicular weight of popular variants of all transporter models.

Transporter ModelVariantGVW (in KG)Kerb weight (in KG)
T1 1798kg1047kg
T2 2100kg1105kg
T3Combi2390 – 2460kg1395 – 1465kg
T3Joker high roof2340 – 2410kg1700 – 1770kg
T4800 sepcial2380kg1505kg
T41000kg swb2575 – 2680kg1505 – 1610kg
T41000kg lwb2625kg1555kg
T41000kg window van2600 – 2700kg1532 – 1637kg
T41200kg swb2800kg1580 – 1610kg
T41200kg lwb2800kg1630 – 1660kg
T4High roof2800kg1680 – 1729kg
T4Chassis Cab2800kg1400 – 1430kg
T4Drop side2800kg2580 – 1610kg
T5Caravelle2600 – 3000kg1855 – 1935kg
T5Highline2800 -3200kg1904 – 1985kg
T5Startline2800 – 3200kg1904 – 1985kg
T6T272700kg1887 – 1951kg
T6T282800kg1887 – 1951kg
T6T303000kg1887 – 2005kg
T6T323200kg1896 – 2136kg
VW Transporter weight table

What is the VW Transporter Payload?

Payload is simply the maximum load your vehicle can safely carry as specified by the manufacturer.

This includes all passengers and their luggage.  The payload value can be calculated by simply deducing your vehicle’s Kerb Mass from its Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM).

vw transporter payload
The VW T6 Payload is easily reached

Exceeding the payload can compromise the acceleration, braking, and overall balancing of your vehicle.

It puts a massive strain on your engine and transmission, tyres and suspension components potentially leading to disastrous consequences. Besides, it can invite heavy penalties from law and also create issues in accident insurance claims.

VW Transporter payload by model

The following table lists the VW transporter payload of popular variants across all models

Transporter Model Variant Payload (in Kg)
T1 750kg
T2 900kg
 Joker High Roof640kg
T4800 special875kg
 1000 kg swb1070kg
 1000 kg lwb1070kg
 1000 kg window van1063-1093kg
 1200 kg swb1190-1220kg
 1200 kg lwb1140-1170kg
 High Roof1071-1120kg
 Chassis Cab1370-1400kg
T5Caravelle comfortline740 – 1000kg
 Highline1000- 1314kg
 Starline1000- 1314kg
 T28745 – 917kg
 T30912 – 1117kg
 T32987 – 1309kg
VW Transporter payloads

What has driven the changes in weight?

Over the past 70 years that has spanned 6 generations of the Volkswagen Transporter, the VW Transporter weight has been changing for a lot of reasons as it evolved to keep up with the demands of the time. We have identified some of the following factors:

  • An increase in dimensions led to an increase in weight
  • Making the van more versatile and increasing the utilities made it heavier.
  • A focus on improving the interiors created both heavier and lighter models
  • Increasing the passenger-carrying capacity and offering more seating variants led to a difference in weights within the same model
  • The need for speed and carrying capacity has led to bigger engines –  from 1.1 L in T1, we have a 2 L engine in T6 and 3.2L in T5. This impacts weight.
  • The initial round vans gave way to a square and boxy shape that made it bigger. However, some of the weight was offset by using new-age lighter metals in the body and all other components.

VW Transporter history

The VW Transporter history spans back over 70 years and is now in its sixth generation, the generations are named sequentially from T1 to T6. The T1, T2, and T3 models were named retrospectively only after the T4 model was first introduced in 1990.

The VW Transporter is the best selling van ever produced and there comprises a gamut of variants including vans, minivans, minibusses, pick-ups, and campervans.

Across the globe, the Transporter is known by different names like Shuttle, California, Kombi, Caravelle, Microbus, VW Camper, Bulli etc. The following is a brief progression of transporter models.

VW Transporter T1 – 1950-1967

VW Transporter T2 – 1967-1979

VW Transporter T3 – 1979-1992

VW Transporter T4 – 1990-2003

VW Transporter T5 – 2003-2015

VW Transporter T6 – 2016- till present

VW Transporter weight conclusion

The transporters are being refined with every generation and there is a general increase in its weight due to increased size, versatility, and carrying capacity.

However, with a lot of components that have come to be made of plastic and other lighter material, the weight increase isn’t in direct proportion to the size and carrying capacity.

Within the models, the weight differs according to the trim. And with the average weight of T6.1 almost the same and even lighter for some variants as compared to the T5, it is expected that the future models might see a decline in weight.

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