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Road Test: Volkswagen Crafter

Rear-wheel drive vans complete the diesel Crafter line-up, says Dan Gilkes.

  • ROAD_Crafter_VFW_Jan19
    Volkswagen Crafter
  • ROAD_Crafter_int_VFW_Jan19
    Volkswagen Crafter

SECTOR Large van   POWER 122-177bhp   CO2 192-237g/km   PRICE £25,010-£40,940

Volkswagen’s Crafter van has a model for every sector of the market. That means rear-wheel drive as before, but also front- and all-wheel drive vans and chassis cabs. All three come with six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions.

Front-drive arrived first in the UK, along with 4Motion. Rear-drive Crafters, with a choice of single or twin rear wheels, have come later.

The 122bhp engine is only available with twin rear wheels on the heavier CR50 model, the 140bhp gets single rear-wheels on CR30 and CR35 vans, while the range-topping 177bhp engine is the only one that can be ordered with the optional eight-speed automatic transmission.

There are two rear-drive wheelbases, though the longer chassis is available with a choice of two body lengths. The shorter vans can be had with a low or a high roof, while the longer models get the high roof as standard, or an optional super high roof. Rear-drive load volumes range from 9.9m3 through to 16.1m3, with this long wheelbase, high roof delivering 14.4m3.

There are two trim levels, Startline and Trendline, but buyers can add a Business Pack to the Trendline van, including an alarm, Climatic air conditioning, overhead storage, parking sensors front and rear, The pack costs £1,518, a saving of more than £1,345 over the individual options.

In normal road driving you’d be hard-pressed to tell which wheels are doing the work. You will notice the RWD axle when loading though, as the floor sits 100mm higher in a rear-drive van. The RWD is also around 100kg heavier, cutting into the payload and will consume slightly more fuel and produce a little more CO2 than its FWD counterpart. If you need the benefits of a driven rear axle though, these are unlikely to be insurmountable problems.

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Written by Dan Gilkes

Dan has been a commercial vehicle and construction equipment journalist for almost 30 years. An automotive engineer and former fleet manager, he has driven almost every van, pickup and truck that has been launched in Europe over that time. As editor of VFW, his aim is to keep readers up to date with the latest developments in the light commercial world.

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