VW Crafter: Crafted for businessFriday, November 13, 2020
Commercial buyers are captive to a different set of rules when it comes to their vehicle purchase concerns. Emotions are put aside for hard, cold numbers related to costs. Terms like return on investment and words such as downtime, efficiency, productivity are all banded about when it comes to a final decision for the check to be issued. Having won two awards in the inaugural 2021 What Car? Van Awards, including Best Overall Van, the 2020 VW Crafter Van puts forward a great case to be a positive addition to any fleet.
Form follows function as the Crafter is a large aerodynamic box to handle cargo, and maximise fuel efficiency for low running costs. For those requiring more space there is a long-wheelbase version available, not that 18.4m3 of load space is anything to sneeze at. Things are kept simple all around the outside of the van. No crazy styling gimmicks, just a small front fascia that links itself to the Volkswagen brand.
The no-nonsense, all-business theme continues on the interior. Drivers are able to easily access the spacious cabin filled with the practical touches that make delivery work easy. Seats are soft and comfortable for any journey length, helped by armrests to reduce fatigue. Controls are large, clear, and simple to understand and operate, plus are within reach, like the door sill-mounted power window switches. There are a multitude of deep storage areas to accommodate items of various sizes and keep them close at hand. The usual array of socket types is around to power work devices on the go. Plenty of glass aids visibility from the driver's seat. At night, standard interior LED lighting brightens things up.
Driving in a large space can lead to unwanted resonance. That doesn't happen in the Crafter. Its operation is very car-like with a very low amount of noise intrusion from the motor among the other unwanted elements. Turn up the stereo and work in a low-stress environment. Low stress also applies to the driving dynamics of the VW Crafter. A 2-litre turbo-diesel motor sends power to the front wheels via a slick six-speed manual transmission. It's strong, willing and smooth, endowing the VW with a payload capacity of 1,478kg and the ability to tow up to three tonnes. These reasons are why the vehicle took its other 2021 What Car? Van Award, that for Best to Drive in the Large Van category.
In the back, there are three access points to the cargo area, either of the two roof-height hinged rear doors that have a 100mm lower loading edge. Each door opens to 180 degrees. The third is the sliding door with an opening width of 1,311mm. The floor of the cargo bay is of a universal design, enabling it to be customised to the task at hand. Even better, the chassis has been reinforced to handle the extra weight of potential shelving solutions.
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