Back in the 1970s, the late and great Sonny Curley from Rusheens ferried us to many a match and the good people of the area to bingo or the odd dance in his trusted Volkswagen T2 minibus.
We often sat two per seat, with no seatbelts and our kit bags on our knees. Back then, similar to the Beetle, the air-cooled engine was in the back, which left little room for luggage except for a few footballs or the odd small fellow sitting in the boot.
How things have moved on. The latest generation of the new Volkswagen Transporter, a direct descendant of the old people carrier, is a whole new ball game. This week, I tested the Volkswagen Shuttle, the new name for their current minibus, and all of the old traditions have been well and truly kicked into touch.
For a start, there is a whole lot more space in this model, which is based on the long-wheel-based Volkswagen Transporter van with the interior decked out for people with up to nine seats and a substantial cargo area.
Five of us set off for a couple of days of golf – it’s just about all I’m up to now – and proved that the Shuttle was up to par, taking all our gear and our overnight luggage with consummate ease.
Here is a van that can, and will, be used by those in the business of moving people and those with big families needing plenty of seats. It is a super-sized MPV that could also be used as a taxi or as a shuttle bus.
Powered by a 150hp 2.0-litre TDi engine, the Comfortline Shuttle was well up to the pulling job too, with a well-spaced six-speed gearbox and impressive torque. All the additional weight was never a problem on a long journey to Carlow and back. And, it wasn’t too heavy on the juice either, delivering a fuel consumption figure of 7.8L/100km.
Up front there was the driver’s seat with armrest and a double passenger seat. Then you get two rows of three seats, all of which have Isofix anchoring for child seats and can be folded to offer additional luggage space if necessary.
The seats themselves are sturdy and comfortable and should be able to withstand a fair share of abuse. The front area is carpeted and the rear comes with an easy-to-clean surface.
It also comes with a tyre pressure monitoring system, full spare wheel and tool kit, daytime running lights and Stop/Start technology.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.