VW Crafter 35 LWB test Review: Mark Bursa
Volkswagen Crafter 35 LWB high-roof 2.0TDI 136PS
What is it?
FACELIFTED and revised version of Volkswagen’s biggest van, complete with new VW family grille. The basic design is shared with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter but the powertrains are not shared, and now the Volkswagen Crafter has been fitted with smaller, cleaner 2.0-litre turbodiesels. Test van is a Crafter 35 (single rear wheel) with 136PS turbodiesel engine, long wheelbase and high roof.
- New engines are the same as those used in VW Amarok and Transporter – and the Passat car
- They’re smaller, so they’re up to 33% more fuel-efficient than the old 2.5-litre VW Crafter units.
- That also means lower emissions, and although you lose some top-end power…
- …peak torque is delivered at lower engine speeds, which makes this an excellent drive around town
- The new engines no longer need AdBlue
- VW Crafter feels very well screwed together and has very few squeaks and rattles, even on bumpy roads
- New dashboard has clearer, white dials…
- … as well as plenty of storage bins, cup holders and trays
- Handling is exceptional for such a big van, with precise, quick steering
- Speed limiter and cruise control is Mercedes-designed…
- …and so is the sat-nav, which is no bad thing as that works a treat
- There’s a longer overhang version and a super-high roof if you need more volume…
- …plus there are twin-wheel versions for greater payload. The range is very extensive
- It’s a little sluggish off the blocks – you’ll not win the traffic light grand prix in this van
- Six-speed box is a bit notchy and requires a long reach to hit first…
- …though it’s pretty slick once you get used to it
- Restyled front is less dramatic than on the Transporter, but it still looks better – less ‘snouty’ than before
- The loadspace is a little narrow compared to some rivals, so check your typical loads
- The more powerful 163PS BiTurbo model offers marginally better fuel economy and lower CO2 – so it might be worth the higher list price for better driveability
What you need to Know
|Monthly Rental: *||£n/a|
|What will it be worth: **||£|
|Loadspace Volume:||14cu m|
|Basic Loadspace Dimensions:||4,300mm long x 1,780mm wide x 1,940mm high|
|Engine:||2.0-litre common rail turbodiesel four-cylinder|
|Power/torque:||136PS/340Nm @ 1,575-2,250rpm|
|Economy:||32.8mpg combined; 28.0mpg urban|
Business Van Manager Road Test Rating
The Volkswagen Crafter is a very well-engineered van, and the combination of a Mercedes design and the latest Volkswagen turbodiesels is a winner.
OK, they feel slightly less sprightly in pure acceleration terms, but that’s more than outweighed by the improved fuel economy and low-end torque. Add in excellent cab comfort and driveability and it’s easy to see why this van has such appeal for long-haul operators. This engine spec is the second-lowest in terms of power. It might be worth waiting for the slightly more powerful 143PS version, or even opt for the pricier 163PS BiTurbo.