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Buyers Guide to:

Volkswagen T5

Useful Info

Also Known As

Transporter (T5), Type 5, Sportsline, California, Kombi, Caravelle, Multivan


2003 to 2015

Fuel Types

Petrol, Diesel

Engine Sizes

1900cc, 2000cc, 2500cc, 3200cc

Engine Type


Drive Configurations


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Essentially an evolution of the VW T4, the Volkswagen T5 arrived on the market in 2003. Staying in production until 2015, buyers could choose from various body styles including panel van, camper, and people carrier, all of which brought a smoother, more modern look to the range. A variety of efficient VW Group engines were offered, with most opting for the economical and strong TDI diesels. Mated to 6-speed manual or DSG dual-clutch automatic gearboxes, the T5 was a decent performer and enjoyable to drive. It could also be had in four-wheel drive form, utilising VW’s 4Motion system. More comfortable and luxurious than ever before, the T5 also benefitted from the full gamut of safety kit including multiple airbags, ABS, and traction control.

  1. 1. Bottom of the front doors
  2. 2. lower edge of the tailgate/rear doors
  3. 3. Stone chips around the front panel
  4. 4. General panel damage; scrapes, scuffs etc

The Checklist

  • Not very much when it comes to the bodywork. Rust shouldn’t be an issue unless there’s been previous damage, but check for dents and scrapes on panels and bumpers. Used examples are plentiful, so there’s no need to get stuck with a tatty one
  • The cooling system. There are reports of leaking water pumps on early models
  • The history for evidence of cam-belt changes, especially on 1.9-litre engines. 2.5s use gear- driven cams
  • Whether the engine has been re-mapped for greater power, as it can affect longevity. Failed sensors can lead to misfires, too
  • That the DSG automatic gearbox swaps ratios smoothly. Problems aren’t especially common, but repairs can be costly
  • For signs of rattles or judder from the clutch. Aside from wear, it could signify a failed Dual Mass Flywheel which can result in a four-figure bill
  • That there are no issues with the ABS brakes, and ensure the warning light illuminates and extinguishes on start-up
  • For clunks from the steering column, and signs of leaks from the power steering system
  • For noises from the suspension. Front strut top mounts and anti-roll bar bushes can wear prematurely
  • Inside for a battered cabins and load bay. Heater controls can fail, and ensure items such as electric windows and central locking are working properly
  • The history for any recall work. Five cylinder diesel models were recalled in 2007/08 for fuel pipe leaks, while bonnet locks can work loose

Everything Check Out?

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