VW’S all-new big van reaches NZ


VOLKSWAGEN’S ALL-NEW, ALL-VW CRAFTER BIG VAN WAS due to en­ter the New Zealand mar­ket af­ter this mag­a­zine had gone to press, and Volkswagen NZ hadn’t re­leased de­tailed spec­i­fi­ca­tion and pric­ing.

Where the old model Crafter shared its chas­sis and most body pan­els with the Mercedes-benz Sprinter, the new VW is a groundup de­sign and is as­sem­bled in a pur­pose-built fac­tory at Wrzes­nia in Poland.

The styling is sleeker – if any van can be called sleek – than the out­go­ing model, and picks up frontal styling cues from other VW cars and vans. It has the now-fa­mil­iar VW “face.”

Volkswagen says the ex­te­rior de­sign is based heav­ily “on the idea that the Trans­porter…is given a big brother.”

Volkswagen NZ had yet to an­nounce ex­act spec­i­fi­ca­tions and body sizes at LCV mag­a­zine’s presstime, but had in­di­cated that the ini­tial range will con­sist of the Crafter Run­ner 30 (Run­ner is VW’S new name for its en­try-level LCV mod­els), the Crafter 35 medi­umwheel­base (MWB), and the long-wheel­base Crafter 35 LWB.

All three mod­els ear­marked for NZ are front-wheel drive with Macpher­son strut front sus­pen­sion and a leaf-sprung solid rear axle. The vans have four-wheel disc brakes and run on 16-inch wheels.

VW says that when it was de­vel­op­ing the new Crafter, it placed great em­pha­sis on han­dling, and steer­ing pre­ci­sion and ac­cu­racy. It says us­ing a strut front end it has achieved “a style of han­dling sim­i­lar to that of the smaller trans­porter.”

All three mod­els are fit­ted with six-speed man­ual gear­boxes, but an eight-speed au­to­matic will be avail­able be­fore the end of the year. Crafters fit­ted with 4MOTION all-wheel drive will also be avail­able later.

The engine is a 2.0-litre in­line four-cylin­der tur­bod­iesel de­vel­op­ing 103kw (the same out­put as the main­stream T6 Trans­porters), and VW Europe quotes peak torque of 300Nm.

Later, a 130kw twin-turbo ver­sion of the 2.0-litre is ex­pected to join the range. No torque has been quoted lo­cally, but the Trans­porter’s twin turbo delivers 400Nm.

The new Crafter has elec­tro-me­chan­i­cal power steer­ing which varies the amount of as­sist ac­cord­ing to ve­hi­cle speed.

The range-open­ing Run­ner has a 969kg pay­load and an 11.3 cu­bic me­tre cargo ca­pac­ity.

It has slid­ing doors on both sides of the cargo area and twin barn-style rear doors, and air-con­di­tion­ing is stan­dard.

Aside from airbags, lap/sash seat­belts, brak­ing aids and the manda­tory elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, the Run­ner has au­to­matic post-col­li­sion brak­ing. It also has a side wind com­pen­sa­tion sys­tem, a re­vers­ing cam­era, and day­time run­ning lights.

The driver gets a multi-ad­justable, er­gonom­i­cally-de­signed Com­fort Seat, and the sound sys­tem has a mo­bile phone in­ter­face, App Con­nect and an eight-inch touch-screen.

Stor­age in­cludes spa­ces for mo­bile phones, pack­age scan­ners, lap­tops, tablets, wa­ter bot­tles and cof­fee mugs.

The Crafter 35 MWB has all of the fea­tures of the Run­ner, but its pay­load rises to 1469kg.

A blindspot mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem and lane keep­ing tech­nol­ogy are added to the safety suite, along with for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing and au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing. It also gets side marker lights along the body­work.

The driver’s seat is up­graded to a Com­fort Seat Plus, and there is a bench seat that can take two pas­sen­gers.

The Crafter LWB has a slightly re­duced pay­load of 1346kg, and has a cargo area vol­ume of 14.4 cu­bic me­tres.

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