Volkswagen Crafter Review

VW Crafter Van and minibus

VW Crafter Van and minibus

On sale from 2006 to 2011, the first-generation Crafter replaced the old LT van that had been VW’s large van offering for around 30 years. The product of a collaboration between Volkswagen and Daimler/Chrysler, the Crafter shares many components with the Mercedes Sprinter.

The Crafter has a comfortable cabin with an adjustable steering wheel and plenty of storage for odds and ends, including overhead and under-seat options. The gear change is mounted on the dash to leave a flat floor. All models have electric windows and a decent CD stereo system. Driver aid options include automatic lights and wipers, a heated windscreen, park assist, sat nav and powered side doors.

The Crafter initially was powered by a 2.5 litre five-cylinder diesel engine; this is available with four different power outputs - 89, 109, 136 and 163bhp. All are rear-wheel drive and fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox. A six-speed automatic box is an option on the two middle power outputs. From 2011 these engines were replaced by VW’s four-cylinder 2.0 litre TDi engine in 109, 136, 143 and 163bhp versions, with BlueMotion technology available for better fuel economy and lower emissions. In 2014 VW introduced its latest Euro VI engines to the Crafter in 163bhp or 114bhp versions.

Available with three different wheelbases and gross vehicle weights of 3, 3.5 and 5 tonnes, the Crafter is most commonly found as a van, but there are also pickup, chassis cab and minibus versions. A sliding side door is standard on van versions, and on longer wheelbase models this is wide enough to load a standard Euro pallet. Off-the-shelf Luton, tipper and dropside versions were available from VW dealers from 2007, with the option of a tail lift on the Luton. There’s a full-height metal bulkhead to separate the cab from the load area. Lashing points on the floor and sides are standard, and optional tracks can be added to the sides and roof to further secure loads.

Crafters have anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control, which automatically adjusts for load, as standard. A driver's air bag is standard, with passenger and side bags available as options.

With oil changes at 30,000 miles and a major service only at 50,000 miles, running costs should be low, though they do make it vital to check the oil level regularly. Bumpers and other external parts are designed to be easily replaced if they get damaged.

An all-new Crafter is due to launch in 2017.

Categories: Volkswagen /

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