No fewer than 69 versions of the new Volkswagen Crafter will be available to order by mid-2017.
The all-new model marks a bold change for Volkswagen, as previous versions of the Crafter have simply been Mercedes-Benz Sprinters fitted with VW engines.
Here’s an overview of the choices that will be available once the model roll-out is completed next year:
- 4 base models, 3 lengths, 3 heights
- Front, rear or 4MOTION all-wheel drive
- Manual or automatic gearbox
- Payload of up to 5.5 tonnes (i.e. 7.5 tonne gross weight?)
- Maximum cargo volume of 18.4 cubic metres
- Panel van, single and double cab chassis cab models plus conversion options such as tippers
- The new Crafter will be available ex-factory with additional equipment such as ex factory as a second compressor for refrigeration or fresh produce applications, four variants of a second battery, a second air conditioner and a second heat exchanger for a fuel-operated auxiliary heating system.
Essentially the Crafter offers everything that the Mercedes Sprinter, Iveco Daily and Ford Transit offer — the three other heavy vans in the market from which VW will hope to take market share.
One criticism of past Crafters is that they lacked pulling power when fully loaded, due to using car-derived 2.0 TDI engines. Volkswagen says that the Euro 6 EA 288 Commercial 2.0-litre TDI engine used in the new van is has been developed to meet the needs of commercial use and should offer an improved performance.
Pre-sales of the new Crafter begin in November 2016. UK launch is expected in Spring 2017. The first models to hit the roads seem likely to be front-wheel drive models, which will offer gross weights of 3.0-4.0t and engine power ratings from 102 PS to 177 PS.
From around mid-2017, the powertrains on offer will be supplemented by the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system with a transversely mounted engine and the rear-wheel drive system with a longitudinally mounted engine.