The Volkswagen Crafter offers a wide range of configurations. A direct competitor to the Ford Transit, Nissan NV400 and Iveco Daily, among others, the Crafter shares its body structure and chassis with the Mercedes Sprinter but in many respects is a superior van. There are three wheelbase lengths, ranging from 3,250mm to 3,655mm and 4,325mm, and four body styles, including panel van, minibus, double cab and chassis cab. Engines are solely diesel, with 2.0l and 2.5l options available.
Volkswagen have worked hard to keep the van up to date, ensuring that the engines meet the stringent Euro 4 and Euro 5 emissions standards by fitting particulate filters, which allow the vehicles to be used in urban areas. Comfort and driveability are central in the design of the Crafter, which boasts small but noticeable touches like the positioning of the gear stick on the dashboard for added convenience and safety. The next model will be unveiled in September 2017, but with ten years of production behind it and a maximum GVW of 5t, there are plenty of sturdy Crafters out there for buyers seeking a used van.
From the initial launch, the Volkswagen Crafter came with a 2.5l TDI five-cylinder engine offering a choice of four power outputs of 88, 109, 136 and 163 PS. The lower two power outputs come with a manual six-speed gearbox, but if you opt for the higher outputs, automatic transmission becomes an option. The 2006-2011 Crafter uses EGR and a Euro 4 compliant particulate filter as standard, and all power outputs are generated using variable turbine geometry (VTG) turbocharges - usually the preserve of high-power engines only.
The Volkswagen Crafter comes in all shapes and sizes, including panel vans, chassis cabs and even double-cab chassis cabs. Gross vehicle weights range from as low as 2,800kg to well beyond the traditional 3,500kg - all the way up to 5,000kg. The three main weights are the CR30 at 3t, the CR35 at 3.5t, and the CR50 at 5t, but these can be up- or down-rated to a further seven custom GVWs.
The CR50 can handle a payload of 2,670kg, making it an ideal eco-friendly option as it can do the work of two standard panel vans. Euro pallets easily fit through the side loading door, and two pallets can neatly fit inside the van. The three roof heights give a vertical loadspace of 1.65m, 1.94m or a huge 2.14m.
2009 Volkswagen Crafter Upgrades
2009 saw the release of the Volkswagen Crafter Euro 5 BlueTDI range, with changes to the engines, gearboxes and filters allowing it to exceed the Euro 5 emissions standards. Longer ratios for the top two gears, along with a smoother gear change mechanism, make the manual gearbox more efficient. The VW BlueTDI engines generate more torque and use less fuel, with MPG figures increasing by over 7% for the 3.5t CR35 Crafter. Additionally, the van is fitted with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to reduce nitrous oxide emissions and clean up the exhaust.
2011 Volkswagen Crafter Updates
The 2011 Crafter was upgraded with a re-worked four-cylinder 2.0 TDI offering greater MPG and a new choice of power outputs -109, 136 and a huge 163PS. VW’s BlueMotion Technology helps deliver higher levels of torque at lower engine RPMs than the previous 2.5l engine. The fuel efficiency increases mean that operating costs of the Crafter have been cut by up to 25 per cent.
The smaller engines also reduce weight by up to 10 per cent, providing an increased payload of up to 100kg. The front end was also remodelled, bringing the Crafter in line with the aesthetic direction of other models in the VW range, and the interior was improved with new fabrics and instruments.