VOLK­SWA­GEN’S NEW-GEN­ER­A­TION, ALL-VW CRAFTER BIG van has gone on sale in New Zealand in a seven vari­ant range.

The new Crafter re­places a model that shared its chas­sis and most body pan­els with Mercedes-benz’s Sprinter and was built in the same fac­tory.

VW has de­signed the new model from the ground up and is build­ing it in a pur­pose-built plant at Wrzes­nia in Poland.

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

The frontal styling is sleeker than the old model’s and has the wide grille de­sign that char­ac­terises the Volk­swa­gen fam­ily “face.”

Ini­tially, the new model is of­fered with front-wheel drive across the range, though the line-up will also in­clude 4MOTION four­wheel drive vari­ants avail­able with a choice of six-speed man­ual or eight-speed au­to­matic gear­boxes.

The first Crafters sold here will have the man­ual gear­box, with the auto due to ar­rive later in the year.

All Crafters use a trans­versely-mounted 2.3-litre four-cylin­der tur­bod­iesel mo­tor which is avail­able in two states of tune.

Four mod­els have the ver­sion tuned to de­liver 103kw of max­i­mum power at 3500rpm and 340Nm of peak torque be­tween 1500 and 2250rpm.

The other mo­tor, found in three mod­els, is more pow­er­ful and de­vel­ops 130kw at 3600rpm and 410Nm be­tween 1500 and 2000rpm.

The less pow­er­ful ver­sion meets Euro 5 emis­sions reg­u­la­tions, and the 130kw unit com­plies with Euro 6.

Volk­swa­gen New Zealand has yet to quote fuel econ­omy fig­ures for the new Crafter.

All Crafters have Macpher­son strut front sus­pen­sion and a leaf­sprung solid rear axle, are fit­ted with four-wheel disc brakes and run on 16-inch wheels as stan­dard. Seven­teen-inch al­loy wheels are avail­able for $2800.

The Crafter’s power steer­ing is electro-me­chan­i­cally-as­sisted, with the amount of as­sist vary­ing ac­cord­ing to ve­hi­cle speed. Turn­ing cir­cles vary from 13.2 me­tres on the medium wheel­base to 16.2 me­tres on the long-wheel­base.

The Crafter range starts with the Runner 30 – Runner is VW’S new name for its en­try-level vans – which rides on the 3640mm medium wheel­base.

It’s avail­able in stan­dard and high roof ver­sions, and the for­mer’s cargo area has a 10.7 cu­bic me­tre ca­pac­ity – around the same as the Toy­ota Hi­ace ZX’S – and can carry a 969kg pay­load. The high roof can carry 11.3 cu­bic me­tres of cargo.

The load space is 3450mm long and 1385mm wide, and the van’s over­all length is 5986mm, its width is 2427mm in­clud­ing mir­rors, and it’s 2355mm high. The gross ve­hi­cle mass (GVM) is 3000kg.

There are slid­ing doors on both sides of the cargo area and the rear doors have win­dows and are dual barn-style units.

All Crafter mod­els have a stan­dard par­ti­tion with fixed win­dow be­tween the load com­part­ment and the cabin, and medium-height card­board lin­ing pan­els in the load­space.

Ra­dio re­mote con­trol cen­tral door-lock­ing is stan­dard across the range, as are an ad­justable steer­ing col­umn, semi-au­to­matic air­con­di­tion­ing, and cruise-con­trol with speed-lim­iter.

The other six mod­els in the range are called Crafter 35 and four come in medium- and long-wheel­base (4490mm) ver­sions; the other two have ex­tra-long body­work and are avail­able in 103kw and 130kw ver­sions.

The LWB ver­sions have a 6836mm over­all length and the other two mod­els are 7391mm long.

High-roofed Crafters are 2590mm high, and he long body vans stand 2798mm tall.

The Crafter 35 MWB has a 1469kg pay­load and the LWB can carry 1346kg. All Crafter mod­els are rated to tow a 3000kg

braked trailer.

Safety equip­ment in­cludes driver and front pas­sen­ger airbags (the pas­sen­ger’s can be switched off), and lap/ sash seat­belts. Side and cur­tain airbags for the driver and pas­sen­ger are an $1800 op­tion.

A for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing sys­tem with au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing is a $450 op­tion on the Runner but is stan­dard on other Crafters.

A lane change warn­ing sys­tem with blind spot mon­i­tor, front and rear park dis­tance con­trol with ac­tive side pro­tec­tion,, rear traf­fic alert, and fold­ing side mir­rors costs an ex­tra $2700 on the Runner but is stan­dard on other mod­els.

Side wind com­pen­sa­tion, a use­ful fea­ture on a van, and au­ton­o­mous post-col­li­sion brak­ing are stan­dard on all Crafter mod­els. Hill start-as­sist is stan­dard across the range as is a rev­ers­ing cam­era.

There are four-wheel disc brakes with an ABS sys­tem, elec­tronic brae dis­tri­bu­tion and brake as­sist.

Halo­gen head­lights are stan­dard across the range, and LED units are avail­able for an ex­tra $2000.

The multi-func­tion in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem has an eight-inch touch-screen, and has a mo­bile phone in­ter­face and App Con­nect. The sound sys­tem has four speak­ers and two woofers.

Prices start at $59,990 for the Runner 30 man­ual (the only gear­box avail­able in the en­try-level model) and peak at $76,190 for the ex­tra-long Crafter 35 man­ual with the 130kw en­gine. Au­to­matic ver­sions will be around $4000 dearer.

Crafters come with a three-year/250,000km me­chan­i­cal war­ranty, and oil service in­ter­vals are two years and up to 50,000km.

• Pho­to­graphs ac­com­pa­ny­ing this story are of­fi­cial VW images of a Euro­pean mar­ket van.

Fac­ing page: New Crafter has sleeker frontal styling than old model, and in­cludes VW fam­ily grille treat­ment. Above: NZ mar­ket Crafters have win­dows in rear doors rather than the pan­els on this Euro­pean model. Right top: New Crafter comes in three...

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