VOLKSWAGEN CRAFTER (EURO 4) – THE SUMMARY
The Volkswagen replaced the outgoing LT series of vans in 2006 with the Volkswagen Crafter. The biggest van in the Volkswagen Commercials range of vans, the Volkswagen Crafter shares much of its make-up with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter – they are assembled in the same factory. From launch, the Volkswagen Crafter came with a choice of four power outputs from their five-pot engines - 88, 109, 136 or 163 PS driving a 6-speed manual gearbox. Later on, an automatic version will be introduced.
Volkswagen has put everything they have learnt from their successful Volkswagen Transporter range of vans into the new Volkswagen Crafter. Driver comforts and vehicle driveability are excellent and modern touches, such as the gearstick on the dashboard makes driving safer, quieter and more comfortable. The Volkswagen Crafter range goes beyond the traditional 3.5 tonnes GVW and extends to 5,000kg GVW.
In addition to the panel van variants, Volkswagen commercial vehicles are concentrating on making the range as broad as possible – with combi versions, chassis cab and double chassis cab. With three different wheelbases, giving four different lengths of load area, (a longer overhang gives the fourth length) and three different roof heights, the Volkswagen Crafter gives van users the ability to tailor the precise van for their needs
VOLKSWAGEN CRAFTER, (EURO 5) UPDATE MAY 2009
Volkswagen commercial vehicles have made changes to the engines and gearboxes of their Volkswagen Crafter range to make it smoother to drive and greener for the environment, exceeding the Euro V emissions standards.
The Volkswagen Crafter Euro V BlueTDI range comes as an EEV (Enhanced Environmentally friendly) vehicle - essentially Euro 5 plus one.
The improvements are thanks to new gearboxes, changes to the particulate filter, improvements to the common rail TDI and technical advances made in VW’s passenger cars.
Longer ratios in the top two gears and an easier gearchange mechanism makes the manual gearboxes more efficient overall. And the VW BlueTDI engines generate more torqueand use less fuel – MPG figures improving by over 7% for the 3.5tonne CR35 Volkswagen Crafter.
The van is fitted with SCR to reduce NOx levels (Selective Catalytic Reduction). This uses AdBlue, seen in many Euro 4 trucks. It is a urea-based solution that helps to clean up the exhaust. The AdBlue tank needs to be refilled – although VW pays for this for the first three years.
THE VOLKSWAGEN CRAFTER (EURO 4) RANGE
The Volkswagen Crafter comes in a huge range of shapes and sizes – there are panel vans, window vans, chassis cabs and even doublecab chassis cabs. Consider the weight ranges as well – they stretch from as low as 2800kg gvw right up to 5000kg gvw – there are three main weights – the CR30 at 3tonnes, the CR35 at 3.5tonnes and the CR50 at 5 tonnes, but these can be uprated or downrated to a further seven gross vehicle weights.
The new 5000kg gvw Crafter means that it can carry a payload of 2,670kg, making it an eco-friendly option, as it can do the work of two normal panel vans. Euro pallets can easily slid into the side loading door and two can be stored next
to each other across the van floor.
The three roof heights give a loading height of 1.65 m for the standard roof, increasing to 1.94 m for the high roof, and a basketball player-sized 2.14 m for the super-high roof.
As with many vans of this size, there are a number of locking and unlocking options – this means that you can keep the cab locked whilst unlocking the rear and vice versa – keep the goods locked away while getting into the cab.
Amazingly nearly half of the sales of the previous model, the Volkswagen LT, were converted in some way – usually from chassis cabs. Hoping to maximise sales in this segment, Volkswagen have been careful to design additional features into the Volkswagen Crafter. You can buy just the chassis and cowl for a camper conversion or as a chassis cab for a dropside conversion or as a chassis cab without a back wall.
THE OUTSIDE OF THE VOLKSWAGEN CRAFTER
The Volkswagen Crafter is a much larger vehicle than the outgoing LT series – the range stretches from just 7m3 to a massive 17m3 – as big as any other in the industry.
The Volkswagen Crafter is certainly a bold design statement for VW, whose vans are usually understated. The headlights and grille combination give the Volkswagen Crafter an aggressive stance. The design is practical with footsteps on the front bumper to help reach up to the top of the windscreen. Crafter buyers can also order the optional foglights that go under the bumper. The side of the vehicle is protected with a strip which prevents damage to the main panels in the event of a scrape.
Masters of the production line, Volkswagen have made sure that all the panels fit extremely well – resulting in a more refined drive and durability. To protect the Volkswagen Crafter against attack by the dreaded rust, all parts of the bodywork have been zinc-coated once or twice in some places. VW can therefore give a 12 year warranty against rust.
The back of the van is just 670mm high – makes it easier to load heavier items not too far off the ground. The doors are symmetrical unlike other, smaller vans. A nice design feature is the VW log appearing in a cutout between the two doors. The model variants are shown on the rear – the names represent the gross vehicle weight of the vans – CR30 for the three tonner, CR 35 for the most popular 3.5 tonner and CR50 for the five tonne GVW version.
INSIDE THE VOLKSWAGEN CRAFTER (EURO 4)
The Volkswagen Crafter has a low step for entry to the van and the wide doors make it easy to get in and out. Small touches like not opening the door as wide makes it easier for the driver to reach for the door when it is open and he is seated. The cab is wide enough for three people to sit side by side. There is plenty of adjustment on the driver’s seat, whilst buyers can also specify adjustment on the passenger side too. For buyers wanting the ultimate in comfort there are deluxe seats, seats with two armrests, and even heated seats.
VW have raided their passenger car parts bin for the quality materials and trim that go into making the Crafter cabs, whilst features that are usually optional extras are included as standard in the Crafter – remote central locking, electric windows and tinted glass for example.
To keep warm in winter and cool in summer, the Crafter’s heaters have been improved. A lovely little feature are the extra vents that direct warm air towards wipers when they are in the park position to defrost them when it is freezing.
If you opt for the optional aircon then the system takes heat from the engine when it is switched off and pumps it through the Crafter to keep the occupants warm for about half an hour without keeping the engine running. Aircon options include split sector cooling for front and rear or a separate heating system for the rear.
There’s plenty of storage inside the Volkswagen Crafter’s cab – especially for paperwork, lunch and drinksholders galore plus place for maps and tools. In the driver’s door buckets alone can carry your 1.5litre drinks bottle and a full monty road atlas. The standard bench seat lifts up to revel acres of storage space.
VOLKSWAGEN CRAFTER (EURO 4) ENGINES
The Volkswagen Crafter at launch was fitted with a common rail 2500cc Tdi engine rated at four different power outputs – 88,109, 136 and 163PS. The engine uses EGR and a particulate filter as standard at all power outputs to clean up emissions – enabling the Crafter to meet Euro 4 standards. Usually a feature of the top power engines, all the power outputs are generated using VTG (variable turbine geometry) turbochargers.
Replacing cambelts at 60,000 miles is a thing of the past, as the Volkswagen Crafter has a new toothed belt which only needs to be maintained every 120,000 miles.
VOLKSWAGEN CRAFTER (EURO 4) GEARBOXES
The Volkswagen Crafter is fitted with a 6-speed gearbox as standard – opt for the higher power outputs of 109 and 136 PS and you can upgrade to an auto gearbox
The 6-speed ShiftMatic is cheaper than a conventional automatic and improves fuel consumption and reduces wear. It weighs less than a normal auto box and is available with a hill holding function. The ShiftMatic can be driven in fully automatic mode, or it can be overridden by the driver by selecting manual mode.
The Volkswagen Crafter uses longlife oil, so can therefore extend the service intervals – the van looks after its own servicing – it monitors oil quality and other parameters and tells the driver when a service is needed.
The Volkswagen Crafter is available in rear wheel drive only – but buyers can choose the gearbox and axle rations to suit their application. The front suspension is independent, whilst the rear has a live axle.
The Volkswagen Crafter can be specified with a tyre pressure check device, which gives the driver a dashboard warning if tyre pressures fall below a certain threshold. There is no spare tyre, giving the driver a can of tyre sealant saving weight (25kg) and space. There is no vehicle jack, but there is a compressor to pump up the tyres.
The Volkswagen Crafter’s brakes mean that the van can stop in distances simlar to passenger cars. Ventilated discs at the front with standard discs at the rear. EBD and brake assist comes as standard across the Volkswagen Crafter range. The brake assist knows when the driver stamps on the brake pedal and increases the pressure applied to the brakes to help slow down in an emergency. Volkswagen have also added ESP as standard. This system monitors the van to see if it likely to slide – if it thinks a slide will take place it not only brakes on any of the wheels, it also changes the power applied at the wheels.
To keep the Michael Schumachers at bay the buyers of the Volkswagen Crafter can opt for a speed limiter, which will keep the driver and his surroundings safer and also help the fuel economy and environment.
Passive safety systems are good on the Volkswagen Crafter, headrests, driver airbags, rigid rollover shell using high-strength steel. The pedals disappear in the event of a head-on crash and there is a safety steering column. Full crumple zones are designed into the Volkswagen Crafter and the drivetrain takes the shock of a significant impact.
Stopping the load from moving is important, all Volkswagen Crafter come equipped with fold-down load lashing eyes in the floor.
The Volkswagen Crafters are fitted with electronic immobiliser and remote central locking as standard additionally, Volkswagen Crafter doors lock automatically once the vehicle reaches a speed of around 10mph.
Volkswagen Crafters sold through official channels come with a three-year warranty. The first 2 years are unlimited mileage warranties operated by the manufacturer, whilst the dealer looks after year three up to 100,000 miles. There is also a three year breakdown recovery deal included.
THE VOLKSWAGEN CRAFTER (EURO 4) OPTIONAL EXTRAS
The Volkswagen Crafter is fitted with plenty of kit as standard, but, as you would expect, there are plenty of options to personalise and improve the van, either through factory fit options or those fitted by the supplying franchised VW dealer.
The Volkswagen Crafter buyer can choose an extra side loading door and floor coverings and linings for the van walls are available. Additional safety features, such as passenger and side airbags are available, as is a heated front windscreen and light sensor/rain sensors, reversing sensors and stacking CD player.