The default dynamic tuning of a cargo-lugging van keeps the Transporter planted, stable and fairly steady in its body control when you give it some speed to carry on a halfway challenging country road. We could only test it in an unloaded condition, when you would expect it to have some composure in reserve. But given the tall body profile, it’s quite impressive how hard you can corner in it, and how much outright grip those Hankook sport tyres can provide for it, on a sufficiently smooth and wide canvas of a surface.
The Sportline rolls a fair bit as it corners, but not enough to prevent the van from keeping its weight fairly evenly spread across its axles, or to cue up steady-state understeer, surprisingly enough. It turns in quite sleepily, but stays true to a cornering line once it has been taken, except where bigger bumps come into play. And it has enough grip at the front wheels to haul itself away from an apex with a modicum of urgency, too. If you are the sort of van driver who just likes to get from A to B in a hurry, and don’t much care how that is achieved, the Transporter Sportline’s outright adhesion and body control probably would feel like a modest step up from your existing van.
If, on the other hand, you are used to the sort of agility, chassis balance, damping dexterity, control feedback and all-round driver engagement that you might get from even an average performance car in 2022, this will just feel like a van. At times, a pretty busy- and fiddly-riding one at that, without much keenness at all in its responses, and no apparent life or liveliness at all about its controls.