SEVEN MODELS IN NEW VOLKSWAGEN BIG VAN RANGE
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
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 roof heights – standard, high, and extra high which adds to the pricetag. Steel wheels are standard,
Right: As well as twin rear barn-type doors, Crafters have sliders on each side.