The VW Transporter T7 has been spied during high-altitude testing in the Austrian Alps this month, fully laden with a trailer on tow. The next-generation model T7 is due to be launched in 2023 although its not yet clear whether it will be based on VW’s MQB or a Ford platform as part of Project Cyclone.
What is Project Cyclone?
Project Cyclone is the joint venture between Ford and Volkswagen to develop their next generation of vans. The two manufacturers are the last in Europe not to share or sell badge-engineered versions with other manufacturers, but that will come to an end in 2022.
The first vehicle to be produced will be the pickup truck – the successor to the current Ford Ranger and VW Amarok – which will be engineered and built by Ford. Next will be the small city van – the next-generation VW Caddy and Ford Transit Connect – which will be designed and engineered by Volkswagen.
After this, it gets a bit complicated. The official statement from the company states that the ‘larger van’ will be developed by Ford but its unclear whether this refers to the VW Transporter/Ford Transit Custom or VW Crafter/Ford Transit.
However, there have been numerous reports that the VW Transporter T7 is based on VW’s own MQB platform, which is used on a wide range of vehicles from VW Polo to Skoda Superb. This suggests that VW and Ford may still be developing their medium vans – the Transit Custom and Transporter – separately.
VW Transporter T7 design
We can see that the nose protrudes further than the current model, suggesting a more passenger-focused design and better fuel economy. Unusually for a van, the rear lights are vertical which, again, hints at a more lifestyle-focused design. Apart from that, there is very little distinguishing the heavily designed T7 prototype.
The front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive format is likely to continue and the MQB has been developed to house large lithium-ion batteries, meaning the T7 could easily be adapted into an electric version.