Volkswagen Crafter Luton 163 LWB
NEED load space? Want a vehicle that looks as though it would plough through a house without being damaged?
In that case let us introduce the Volkswagen Crafter Luton which not only swallows a massive 17 cubic metres of cargo but feels as though it could do battle with a Sherman tank!
The Crafter and its ilk come courtesy of the European Whole Vehicle Type Approval regulations that came into force a couple of years back, aimed at ridding the industry of the cowboy bodybuilders who plague us all with shoddy goods.
Basically, if you make any changes to a vehicle now, apart from a few odd items such as van racking, you have to get said vehicle type approved all over again, which can take weeks of wrangling, not to mention the handing over to the Vehicle Certification Agency of a few thousand smackeroos.
As the shoddy bodies disappeared, the various van manufacturers have filled the vacuum with a whole load of new models – and Volkswagen is no exception, launching its ‘Engineered To Go’ range of vehicles like the Volkswagen Crafter Luton on review here.
Weighing in at a basic £34,625, the Volkswagen Crafter Luton features a long wheelbase chassis and a body by Ingimex which is over four metres in length and two metres in width and height. Our review model also had an electronic tail-lift at an extra £2,045.
Under the bonnet goes VW’s 2.0-litre powerplant with 163bhp on offer and a mighty 400Nm of torque.
Without further ado let’s look at the good and the bad. There are, luckily, no ugly bits to mention!
- Boy is this one stonking vehicle! We are mightily impressed with every bit of the build quality, whether it’s a VW bit or an Ingimex built bit.
- The Crafter, in case you didn’t know, comes off the same production line as the revered Mercedes-Benz Sprinter but has its own set of engines. Therefore build quality of the chassis-cab itself is absolutely top notch, with a big roomy cab, ultra-supportive seats and enough safety systems as standard to avoid any but the most unavoidable accidents.
- Underneath the body is a huge chassis which you don’t get in the panel van versions. We can quite imagine that when the world finally ends, aliens will one day in the future still find bits of Crafter chassis littered across the planet and wonder at their strength…
- Turning to the body itself, all the joins are hidden away for a nice smooth finish and the rear shutter rolls up and down quietly and without hitches. There are plenty of lashing rails up and down the sides, plus a non-slip floor so that loose cargo won’t whizz about all over the place.
- There are some nice little touches in the cargo area such a bright lamp on a stand which swivels round the illuminate the back for night-time loading and unloading. Lack of lighting in vans has long been one of our bones of contention so with this vehicle you get plenty included in the basic price.