VW Crafter 2017 front
Medium wheelbase new Volkswagen Crafter has floorspace for four pallets
Share this article

What is it?

This review is of the VW Crafter Trendline CR35 MWB 2.0 TDI 140PS version of the all-new second-generation VW Crafter, which Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles claim was designed and built following extensive customer research to best fulfil commercial vehicle operators’ needs.

On top of being fit for purpose, the new Crafter offers buyers maximum flexibility and the widest model range in the class. How?  Well, there’s up to three different vehicle lengths available, depending on the model chosen. Panel van versions also come with one of three different roof heights.

Unlike the outgoing Crafter, the new model is available with both front or rear-wheel drive, the choice of manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox, plus 4MOTION four-wheel drive. It has a maximum gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 5.5 tonnes and is available in a wide variety of derivatives.

On top of that come open body variants as single or double cab versions with varying lengths and with or without conversions solutions, including dropsides and tippers (ex-factory).

We’ve got the medium wheelbase high roof model, in £30,080 mid-range Trendline trim to see how it compares to the opposition.

  What’s hot?

  • Power for our Crafter comes from an all-new 2.0-litre TDi diesel engine, which boasts 138bhp and 340Nm of torque, plus 38mpg and 193g/km CO2 emissions figures. Performance is adequate rather than impressive. It is mated with a six-speed manual transmission.
  • The new Crafter in medium wheelbase, high roof version is a very big van, but it’s very easy to drive and not as intimidating as rivals. Let’s start with this Volkswagen’s interior. The driving position is spacious and car-like; the switchgear and steering wheel are borrowed from Volkswagen’s car range and the quality of the plastics rival its cars too. The instruments are also car-like, easy to read and the switchgear is logically-placed.
VW Crafter Trendline CR35 MWB 2.0 TDI 140PS 6-speed FWD manual
Car-like cab
  • The interior of the new Crafter is impressive in itself, as on top of the quality, the design is innovative. There’s an impressive level of stowage, with double-decker door bins, a narrow shelf that runs the length of the dashboard with useful power points and the middle seat can fold over turning into a desk.
  • Standard equipment is impressive with Bluetooth, electrically heated and adjustable wing mirrors, Composition Media Radio with DAB+, a multi-function steering wheel and a Comfort driver’s seat.
  • Hit the road and the Crafter continues to impress, all-round vision is generally good, the steering is light and precise. Also, despite the tall design, the Crafter is a tidy, competent handler with plenty of grip. It rides well too, whether loaded or unloaded.
  •  The new Crafter looks great on the outside too. The neat frontal design almost looks like a scaled-up version of the T6 – which is probably not a coincidence! The large headlights and chrome-trimmed grille give an assertive, high quality look. The upper and lower design lines give the clean flanks definition. The assertive design continues at the back with the prominent central Volkswagen badge and large rear light clusters.
  • Impressive levels of safety are another Crafter highlight; an Automatic Post Collision Braking System, which automatically brakes the van after it has been involved in an accident in order to reduce the risk or severity of a secondary collision, is fitted as standard., along with Cross Wind Assist, which is an extension of the Crafter’s Electronic Stabilisation Programme. It works by helping the driver to stay in lane, by automatically applying the brakes if it detects a strong side wind is pushing it off course. A Driver Alert system, which over 40mph monitors and registers deviation from normal steering patterns and uses visual and acoustic warnings to recommend that the driver takes a break. Other optional safety equipment available includes Adaptive Cruise Control.
  • The maximum load length for this medium body is 3,640mm and all Crafters are 2,040mm wide (2,452mm with the door mirrors). There’s enough floor space for four Euro pallets, plus the rear doors open up to 270 degrees. The side door is equally large and has a 1,311mm opening – in fact the sliding door needs a good slam to get it shut, because it’s so big.
  •  The Crafter isn’t a cheap option at £30,080, or £40,387 with the options on our test van. However, the new Crafter should be cheaper to run with more efficient diesel engines and longer service intervals

Whats not

  • Volkswagen claim to have done exhaustive research when specifying the new Crafter, but why are front and rear parking sensors only fitted to top Highline models?
  • The Crafter is pretty good to drive, but the standard six-speed manual transmission has a clunky change.

The Verdict

 The new Crafter is an impressive new addition to the big van range. It looks sharp on the outside, has a spacious, well-designed and high quality interior, there’s plenty of standard safety kit and despite its size, is very easy to drive.

Our only misgivings with this van are the lack of parking sensors and its considerable price.

 Lowdown on the VW Crafter Trendline CR35 MWB 2.0 TDI 140PS 6-speed FWD manual panel van :

On the road price excluding VAT:£40,387
Load length:3,450mm
Load width (max):2,040mm
Load height:2,590mm
Load capacity:14.4 cubic metres
Towing Capacity braked/unbraked:3,000/750kg
Engine/transmission:2.0 litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel/front-wheel drive 6-speed manual
Economy (claimed combined):31.7mpg
CO2 emissions:250g/km
The lack of parking sensors is a notable omission




  1. The price tag is just simply ridiculous
    It’s a Volkswagen van not a well specced Audi saloon
    I’ll never put that money into a work van

  2. Agreed. However it is really the only van that is on the road that is built by the company you buy it from. Vauxhall use Renault, Merc Sprinters use Renault parts, Citroen and Peugeot are in bed together. Lastly the backbone of Britain Transit I just got shot of after 18 months and 40k. I never had to wash as it spent more time in the garage under warranty than on the road. Everything from hill start brakes staying on to the EGR valve. Along with a few mates with the same problems on the Custom Transit – an Electrician who changed all 8 of his vans to Transporters as it became such a serious problem. Nightmare! So the question is, yes it is expensive but how much down time can a company afford? If all I have to worry about is sticking on some parking sensors I can live with a Crafter. The wheels at least go round unlike the other lot.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here