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.