Volkswagen Transporter/Caravelle T4 – Facelift Friday

The van of the 1990s was perhaps the Volkswagen Transporter of the T4 generation. That car received a new, longer and more rounded nose from 1996, but that was not immediately available for every version.

When the Transporter T4 took office in 1990, it was a total revolution compared to its predecessor. That T3 still had the engine in the traditional Volkswagen spot, namely all the way in the back. Initially this even involved air-cooled boxer engines, later more modern four and five cylinders. The T4 was front-engined, offering a more usable cargo area and stable, predictable handling.

Really early T4s have gradually disappeared from the streets. They are recognizable by their angular, rather thin bumpers. In 1996 the car got thicker, more rounded bumpers, which gave it a more modern look without serious changes to the sheet metal.

Still, those more drastic changes did come in ’96, but only for thicker versions. The more rounded nose, which seems to look more sternly at the world thanks to the obliquely cut headlights, was actually born out of necessity. This newer nose is longer than the original and therefore offers space for the VR6 six-cylinder, which was used in more luxurious passenger car versions with the name Multivan or Caravelle. Lower-order variants retained the shorter, straight-lined nose for a long time, although the rounded front later also found its way to other variants.

At the rear, not much has changed in all those years. As with many ‘vans’, there was a choice between a tailgate or rear doors and the bumper was also more rounded from ’96, but large-scale changes were not made here. Nevertheless, the T4 remained quite fresh-looking until 2003, when it was replaced by the T5, which followed the same pattern.


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