Volkswagen Crafter (2017)

Our Rating: 4.5/5

Pros:

  • Excellent ride
  • Lots of kit
  • Quality interior

Cons:

  • Manual gear box
  • Noisy engine
  • Price

Volkswagen Crafter is a crafty creation

While it has never dominated the bestseller lists, the Volkswagen Crafter delivers an impressive van for most needs with plenty of space, decent economy and lots of equipment. It’s against some stiff competition from the likes of the Mercedes Sprinter and the Ford Transit but it has been a strong seller for the firm in the UK. Also, the lower powered engine is rather weak for a van that can carry a 1,235 kg payload but it is a brisk mover and ideal for driving round town. It’s also a nice van to drive, it is agile around town and it is a practical and likeable choice. The more powerful engines offer more in terms of performance but the overall offering of the VW Crafter is impressive.

 

Reasons to buy

The Volkswagen Crafter is a well made and impressive van which tops the firm’s commercial range and the UK is a popular destination for it. The 2.0 litre turbocharged diesel units deliver power and economy and drivers will also enjoy the safety kit too. It’s important to appreciate that this is an all-new creation that’s made in the van maker’s Polish factory and no longer made by Mercedes in Germany. Also, the new van has seen its gross vehicle weight rise from 3.5 t to 5.5 t. For those wanting a large, well made and durable van, there’s little to criticise the Crafter for and it delivers what it does very well with only niggles to undermine its polished and impressive offering. Essentially, the van is a sound alternative to the market leaders and it has just enough to tempt buyers – particularly those who want reliability and years of service from their investment.

 

If you like the Volkswagen Crafter then have a look at the Ford Transit and the Mercedes Sprinter.

Running Costs

The Volkswagen Crafter is powered with a 2.0 litre turbodiesel engine which is 15% more economical than the model it replaces. The engine has three power outputs of 120 PS, 140 PS and a bi-turbocharged engine producing 177 PS. All of the engines are coupled to a (rather notchy) six speed gearbox with the option of an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engines have stop-start that is fitted as standard to help economy. The engines deliver good power across the rev range particularly for low-down pulling power. Fuel economy ranges from 38 mpg to 41mpg with emissions of 193g/km to 196g/km.

Load Space

With three body lengths means there’s a wide variety of load space options and the mid length model measures 5,986 mm while the long wheelbase is 6,836 mm. The maximum cargo capacity is 18.4 m³. The gross vehicle weight for the front wheel drive variants are between 3 t and 4 t while the rear wheel drive model is promising gross vehicle weight of between 3.5 t and 5.5 t. The 4×4 4Motion VW Crafters will have GVW’s of up to 4 t. The rearwheel drive models also offer a 3.5 tonne maximum towing weight. There’s also plenty of storage space in the cabin with a useful large overhead storage space and dashboard mounted coffee cup holders. Access to the load space is easy thanks to the sliding side doors and side hinged rear doors that will open to 270° without hitting the van’s side. There’s enough space on board for six Euro pallets helped by the 1,038 mm between the rear wheel arches.

Technology & Safety

The Volkswagen Crafter has lots of safety equipment including ABS and electronic stability control along with a trailer assistance system. There’s also an adaptive braking system that will brake automatically when it detects an imminent collision. There’s also side wind assist – VW says drivers won’t know there is a strong wind buffeting the vehicle – automatic post collision braking and the option of parking assist and lane assist.

Performance

The Volkswagen Crafter features a new electric steering system which is one of the best in its class and it helps to make the van easier to drive. Available initially in front wheel drive versions only (which will also account for most of the van’s sales), there will be rear-wheel drive options available late in 2017 along with the chassis cab body style. Minibuses will be available from 2018.

Out on the road, the Crafter is a comfortable van with the steering helping to disguise the size and weight of the vehicle with a natural feel and precision. The one downside is that the 2.0 litre diesel engine does sound noisy when being put through its spaces, particularly at speed.

Specification

The Volkswagen Crafter is available in three lengths and three roof heights; for those who are interested in the maths, the potential buyer has a choice of 69 different configurations for the Crafter. Buyers have the option of rear-wheel drive, front wheel drive or the firm’s all-wheel drive system, 4Motion, so there are even more options. The interior is one of the best cabins around with all of the switchgear within easy reach. The dashboard itself is rather bland but it is functional and robust. The seats are also worth noting with high comfort levels and lots of lumbar and height adjustment for the driver’s seat.

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