Volkswagen Crafter Van Review
The VW Crafter, a stablemate of the almost iconic Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which we reviewed here, is a popular cost effective alternative. Whilst much of the externals and a fair bit of the cab are shared with the Sprinter, the Crafter is almost a van in its own right.
A key difference is in the engines, using the broadly used 2.0TDi power plant the VW Crafter engine is now as strong or powerful as the Sprinter, and you can feel this when driving, if is frugal, relatively refined, for a van, and most importantly, reliable.
The Crafter is not cheap, starting at a not so cheap £24,000 and going up to just under £33,000, with a price tag like this you expect quality and reliability, and the Crafter delivers this. However, as with the Sprinter, the quality comes at the cost of payload.
As mentioned above, the compromise of good build quality is noticeably reduced payload. Worse than the Sprinter, the most efficient in terms of payload being the SWB Low Roof, can take 1,346kg whilst the largest Crafter gives you the same load space as the Sprinter at 4.7m with a 2.14m internal height but again a bottom of the class 1019kg.
Whilst a key selling point of the Sprinter was the strong engines, the VW does not even make up for the other compromise,s in term of payload, here. The 2.0TDi 4 cylinder diesel unit is admittedly frugal with a power range of between 109hp, admittedly up on the entry level Sprinter, and only 163hp, which whilst entirely capable is a little lacking if under heavy load.
Looks wise, as with any van, its as aerodynamic as a brick and only a little more aesthetically pleasing. The front end does look a little clumsy, even agricultural, but in reality to most this is irrelevant.
On the inside, the Crafter inevitably looks almost identical to the Sprinter. Here too, the seats are firm and you can be sure they will stay just as firm in years to come, but they are not that comfortable.
Spec wise, the VW Crafter is pretty average with Bluetooth Hands Free, Radio/SD (but no DAB), and Cruise Control.
Compared to the other vans in the market, like the cheap and cheerful Relay/Boxer/Ducato trio or even mid-range Master/Movano the VW Crafter does not make too much sense, when its Sprinter counterpart is only a little more expensive but also slightly better on payload.
From a financing perspective, things do change in favour of the Crafter with stronger discounts being available paired with good residual value. A typical 3+35/10,000 miles per annum contract hire on a MWB van would cost between £300 to £350+VAT per month, which is a significant improvement on the Sprinter! From an outright HP perspective things may be a little less attractive, but residuals are strong.
Payload: 874kg to 1346kg (up to 3500kg GVW)
Load Volume: 7.5cu.m to 17 cu.m
Load Length (at mid height): 2.6m to 4.7m
Load Height (through rear doors): 1.65m to 1.94m
Load Width (between wheel arches): 1.35m
Vehicle Length: 5.24 to 7.34m