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Volkswagen Crafter

HARD CRAFT (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

There are many large vans that claim to be all things to all people but Volkswagen's improved Crafter range comes closer than most, as Jonathan Crouch reports.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 72

Volkswagen's Crafter, the UK's fourth best selling large van, is the thinking business person's choice in this sector, especially since it was improved with a smarter look, a fresh range of 2.0 TDI diesel engines and enhanced safety and media connectivity. Now making more sense than ever before on the balance sheet, this is a contender better placed than most to take in its stride whatever your company can throw at it.

Backgroundword count: 270

A really large van is the kind of thing your business will need for its heaviest, most awkward loads. The kind of vehicle that, as a result, is likely to get the toughest day-to-day treatment. Such an LCV will also require quite a substantial initial outlay, money you'll want to preserve as far as possible in resale value when the time comes to sell. For all these reasons, when considering a van of this kind, it's tempting to stretch yourself a little and go with the quality option, even if it costs a little more. In this market, that tends to mean either a Mercedes Sprinter or this contender, Volkswagen's Crafter. Both these LCVs ride on the same fundemental underpinnings but are quite different in their approach. We're looking here at a revised version of the Crafter, a vehicle now manufacturered at a bespoke plant created in Poland for its assembly. The Volkswagen also offers slightly more economical running costs, which, along with a lower up-front asking price, explains its established appeal in Britain's biggest LCV sector. It's a position that Volkswagen hopes will be strengthened by the enhancements made to this improved version, which now features a smarter look. The changes are timely, with rivals like Ford's latest generation full-sized Transit now commanding increasing sales in the Crafter's large van segment. This Volkswagen though, now has plenty to offer in response, enough, the Wolfsburg brand hopes, to keep its place near the top of its class, building on a large van heritage for the company which stretches all the way back to 1975. Let's put it to the test.

Driving Experienceword count: 271

Once you settle into driving a large van like this, it's a very commanding experience. You sit high up in quite a car-like position thanks to the upright steering wheel, enjoying a supportive seat that's equipped with an armrest to prop a weary elbow on over longer trips. A pity then, that earlier Crafter engines tended to be relatively ponderous. That's not the case anymore thanks to far-reaching changes under the bonnet of this revised version and the adoption of a freshly designed electro-mechanical steering system.. Engine changes centre around the installation of a freshly-designed 2.0-litre TDI diesel unit, available to 102, 122 and 140PS outputs, plus there's a potent bi-turbo version putting out 177PS. All the engines will get you and your load where you need to be with deceptive speed. The smoothness and pulling power of this 2.0-litre unit is something that operators familiar with the old version may well notice in the first half a mile of use, even in the entry-level 102PS variant. Customers have a choice between front, rear and all-wheel drive (4MOTION), as well as the option of a manual or automatic gearbox. Power arrives low in the rev range so that you don't have to row the thing along with the gear lever so much in town. On the open road, overtaking's easy too. It's the main reason why this vehicle has so much towing power too, all Crafters able to haul a braked trailer grossing at up to 2,000kgs. Further up the range, the differences with what went before are even greater, the top-flight twin-turbo 177PS BiTDI variant offering around 400Nm of torque.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

Boot capacity min (litres):

8

15

CO2 (g/km):

234

Height (mm):

2940

Length (mm):

5905

6940

Power (PS):

108

109

Torque lb ft:

221

... and 3 other stats available

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: Vans

Performance
80%
Handling
70%
Comfort
80%
Space
80%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
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