Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 04 Mar 2019
I don’t often drive large commercial vehicles, so when one does come along it needs to be rather special, just like this, the latest generation Volkswagen Crafter.
The Crafter has been on sale for many years and seen great sales volumes. Previously built in an alliance with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, it provided a no-nonsense workhorse and vehicle capable of being configured in so many ways. Now Volkswagen has taken to building the Crafter on its own, and seems like it has become better than ever!
Clean Commercial Appearance
The Crafter forms part of Volkswagens prolific commercial sector, and, aside from what many may think, the commercial space now puts much more focus on aesthetics than ever before. With clear lines from Volkswagens passenger vehicle line-up and assembly, the Crafter brings with it an updated air of German solidity and premium quality.
The outside represents very typical Volkswagen family lines, while on the inside, the large vehicle feels much like driver something a lot more compact such as a VW Polo or Golf in terms of driveability. Though space on the interior is generous, it is never exactly a bad thing when a large vehicle has the ability to feel much smaller and easier to drive than you would expect.
What Else Does The New Crafter Bring?
The new van enjoys a larger permitted maximum cargo volume of 5.0 metric tonnes, with 17.5 m³, which assists in making it a much easier and more capable vehicle in which to pack. I made use of the Crafter to assist with a household move and was shocked and the amount of volume which it was able to gobble-up within its massive loading cavity.
No matter what you need, the Crafter has an offering. It comes in three length options, including (5 986 mm, 6 836 mm or 7 391 mm in its panel van guise. Heights vary from 2 355 mm, 2 625 mm and 2 637 mm for the panel van while more options include closed body alternatives as well.
The Crafter can also be adapted to transport passengers and includes the latest safety systems such as a side-wind compensation system – an important and revolutionary danger mitigating system in this sector, hill hold assist and the likes of an advanced electro-mechanical steering system which assists in making the crafter easy to manoeuvre in tighter spaces and more nimble on its toes. The large vehicle also enjoys the likes of Park Assist; Trailer Assist and as optional extras: a reverse-view camera, rear traffic alert; cornering LED lights, adaptive cruise control as well as EBS.
From a tech perspective, you can even have the cabin of the Crafter fitted with a 7-inch Volkswagen Composition Media system and enjoy the likes of every imaginable media source including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto applications.
Perfect Business Sense
Fuel economy is a crucial aspect in running any fleet business and according to Volkswagen South Africa, the crafter will return figures as impressive as 7.3 to 7.6 litres/100 km depending on the derivative, with the Crafter being offered in South Africa exclusively with a 103 kW 2.0-litre TDI engine driven through either the front or rear wheels. The plucky 4-cylinder TDI motor has peak torque output of a healthy 340 Nm. Power delivery feels smooth and impressive, even when carrying heavier loads.
SA Pricing & Conclusion
New Crafter Prices (VAT and emissions tax included)
Crafter 35 (MCV) Panel Van R519,900 (As Tested)
Crafter 35 (LCV) Panel Van R599,900
Crafter 50 LWB (Bus Conversion Ready) R638,400
Crafter 50 LWB (Panel Van) R638,400
Crafter 50 LWB with overhang (Bus Conversion ready) R638,400
Crafter 50 LWB with overhang (Panel Van) R638,400
Sold standard with a 2-year/unlimited km manufacturer warranty, a 5-year/120 000 km Automotion service plan and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty.
While I usually spend most of my time driving passenger vehicles, if this latest-generation Volkswagen Crafter is anything to go off what the commercial vehicle segment is starting to offer, it seems that Volkswagen has certainly delivered a vehicle which is sure to be a segment leader. German build solidity, impressive looks and commercial-grade technology and driver assistance features help make it a joy to drive and welcome addition to any business fleet.
— Photography Supplied – Volkswagen Group South Africa —