Volkswagen has unveiled its new Crafter large van at a special event in Offenbach, Germany.

The third-generation Crafter is the first that Volkswagen has built itself – previously the van has effectively been a rebadged version of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, one of its prime rivals.

In total 69 different versions of the Crafter will be available when its goes on sale in November 2016, these based on four base models, three lengths and three heights.

Maximum payload of the new model will be 5.5 metric tonnes, while the cargo volume will stretch to a maximum of 18.4 cubic metres, with a 2196mm loading height.

Combi and panel van variants measure up at 5986mm or 6836mm long and 2355mm and 2590mm high, the panel van also offering versions with 7391mm length and 2798mm height. Platform cab, single and double-cab variants are also in the range.

Volkswagen claims best packaging in the class with a maximum cargo length of 4855mm and a width between wheelarches of 1380mm. The sliding side door offers a 1311mm aperture while the sill height is only 570mm on front-wheel-drive models – transmission options also spread across rear and 4Motion all-wheel-drive.

All the engines are Euro-6 units which Volkswagen says have been specifically developed to suit the Crafter. The four options currently announced are all 2.0-litre TDI diesel units with 102, 140 or 177hp, the latter a bi-turbo. The engine is installed transversely at an eight-degree forwards slope to free up more space for the driver in the cabin.

Volkswagen has made major investment in the new Crafter, even building a new plant in Poland specifically to produce it. According to VW commercial vehicle management the entire concept of the vehicle has been redeveloped from the ground up; “The development of the new Crafter was a unique opportunity to avoid all compromises while drawing upon our decades of experience in the market segment,” says Dr Eckhard Scholz, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

“(It) represents a fusion of product focus and customer focus – in other words, we developed his vehicle from the customer’s perspective,” Scholz adds.

The new Crafter is expected to arrive in the UK in spring 2017. Pricing is yet to be announced.

Andrew Charman
Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Van Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.


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