The new Volkswagen (VW) Crafter is officially available in South Africa, bringing with it the title of 2017 International Van of the Year. As the first Crafter to be wholly designed and built by VW since 1996, this new model moves the game on in terms of flexibility, technology and operation.
According to VW, the new Crafter is based on a completely new design concept that caters to the needs of various customer groups. Currently available in six basic derivatives with front- or rear-wheel drive, the range offers up to three different vehicle lengths and three different roof heights.
The largest models offer a maximum permitted weight of five tonnes, a cargo volume of 17,5 m³ and maximum cargo space height of 2 096 mm.
In the front-wheel drive version, it offers a maximum cargo capacity of 10,7 m³ with a permissible gross weight of up to 3,55 t. The cargo width between wheel arches of 1 380 mm and a maximum cargo compartment length of 3 201 mm give it the best package dimensions of its vehicle class, says VW.
The new Crafter can be loaded through the 1 311-mm opening of the sliding side door and optional 270° opening of the rear doors (standard on the Crafter 50 LWB). Front-wheel drive versions feature a minimal sill height of 570 mm.
Powering the new Crafter is a 2,0-litre TDI engine, which is available with 103 kW of power and 340 Nm torque. A six-speed manual is currently the only gearbox offered locally. Customers should expect (claimed) fuel consumption of between 7,3 and 7,6 l/100km depending on the model.
The chassis, which has been redeveloped from the ground up and tuned in detail, has a comfortable MacPherson front suspension and five different variants of a rigid rear axle, as well as parabolic springs that are progressive springs in some derivatives.
Practically speaking, the new Crafter provides various preparations for superstructure manufacturers: an optional universal cargo floor is equipped with shelving mounts, so that existing shelving systems (from lease vehicles or previous models) can be installed for all common suppliers of customisation solutions.
Other options available are a second compressor for refrigeration or fresh-produce applications, four variants of a second battery and a second air-conditioner.
Importantly, the new Crafter has a wide range of basic specification – as well as some technologically advanced options. Safety features such as side-wind compensation system, Hill Hold Assist and Automatic Post-Collision Braking System are standard.
The large number of optional active driver-assistance systems include a parking assistant (Park Assist) and an assistant for manoeuvring a trailer (Trailer Assist). Other optional assistance systems include the “ACC Follow to Stop” adaptive cruise control, and the Front Assist emergency braking system, a reversing camera, Rear Traffic Alert, and sensor-based side protection developed specifically for the new Crafter.
Finally, optional LED headlights and cornering lights ensure a clear view of the road ahead at night.
The new Crafter is priced between R509 700 and R635 800. Standard is a two-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, five-year/120 000 km Automotion service plan and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service intervals are 20 000 km.
Read the full launch report in the next issue of FOCUS.