The new Crafter features a chassis that has been redeveloped from the ground up with electromechanical steering, engines that are reliable, more fuel-efficient and optimised for both long trips and urban traffic, well thought-out solutions for loading, practical preparations for superstructure manufacturers, an ergonomic driver's workplace and an exceptional number of driver assistance systems.
The special aspects here: the entire vehicle concept was redeveloped from the ground up – based on specific customer wishes, as Dr Eckhard Scholz, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, explained at the event in Offenbach: “The development of thenew Crafterwas a unique opportunity to avoid all compromises while drawing upon ourdecadesof experience in the market segment. The new Crafter represents afusion of product focus andcustomer focus. In other words, we developedhis vehicle from the customer’s perspective.”
This is easy to see, even at first glance: The Crafter makes good use of the design structure and exemplary quality of its “smaller sibling”, the sixth generation transporter: dynamic, contemporary and agile on the outside, at the same time it offers robust inner values such as the greatest possible payload, an ideal cargo volume of up to 18.4 m3 and a maximum cargo space height of 2,196 mm.
An extremely wide range of derivatives is offered for the new Crafter, including high tonnage versions. As a panel van and Kombi, the new Crafter is available in various lengths (5986 mm, 6836 mm or, for the panel van, 7391 mm as well) and heights (2355 mm, 2590 mm or, for the panel van, 2798 mm as well). On top of that come open variants as single or double cab versions with varying lengths and with or without superstructure solutions, e.g. as a pick-up, with a van body or a tip-up mechanism.
Especially from a practical perspective, the new Crafter impresses with excellent functionality, refined prep for different uses and optimised dimensions: in the front-wheel drive version, it offers a maximum cargo capacity of 18.4 m3 with a permissible gross weight of 3.0 – 4.0 t. The cargo width between wheel arches of 1,380 mm and a maximum cargo compartment length of 4,855 mm give it the best package dimensions of its vehicle class. Loading the new Crafter is easy thanks to the 1,311 mm opening of the sliding door, a minimal sill height of 570 mm on the front-wheel drive versions and optional 270° opening of the rear doors. The new Crafter offers an ingenious solution for securing loads: the cargo can be secured “from all sides” in the most literal meaning of the words. Anchor tracks in the form of patented airline profiles are integrated on the sidewalls, the partition wall, in the roof and in the floor.
The chassis, which has been redeveloped from the ground up and tuned in detail, has a comfortable McPherson front suspension and five different variants of a rigid rear axle, and parabolic springs that are progressive springs in some derivatives. The electromechanical steering that is being introduced for the first time in this segment provides for excellent handling, optimised manoeuvrability and safe driving properties in all load states. This improved steering precision and fine response also leads to a significant reduction in CO2 emissions due to adaptive energy consumption.
Moreover, the ergonomics of the driver’s workplace have been optimised. It is possible to order three different variants of an optional ergonomic suspension seat with an AGR (“Campaign for Healthy Backs”) seal with adjustable lumbar supports and massage function. The new Crafter’s standard features include electric windows, central locking with wireless remote control and practical and ergonomically designed storage features for a mobile phone, laptop and tablet, folding rule, working gloves and much more.
The driver assistance systems available for the new Crafter offer additional convenience and associated gains in safety. Thanks to the electromechanical steering, being used for the first time in its class, the new Crafter provides an outstandingly wide array of active driver assistance systems, such as an active lane-keeping system (Lane Assist), a parking assistant (Park Assist) and an assistant for manoeuvring a trailer (Trailer Assist). Other assistance systems, some of which are optional, include the “ACC Follow to Stop” adaptive cruise control system, the Front Assist emergency braking system, the standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, the side wind assistant that is also standard, driver alert system, automatic main beam dipping control by Light Assist and much more.
Available passive safety systems include – along with front, side and head airbags for the driver and front passenger – a reversing camera, Rear Traffic Alert, and sensor-based side protection that was specially developed for the new Crafter.
The new Crafter provides various well thought-out preparations for superstructure manufacturers: an optional universal cargo floor is equipped with shelving mounts, so that existing shelving systems from lease vehicles or previous models can be installed for all common suppliers of customisation solutions. Moreover, the new Crafter will be the first vehicle in its class to offer optional modular add-on equipment. Available ex factory as an option are a second compressor for refrigeration or fresh produce applications, four variants of a second battery, a second air conditioner and a second heat exchanger for a fuel-operated auxiliary heating system.
In addition, the new Crafter is offering the integrated FMS Fleet Management Interface as a prepared telematic functional interface, which may be combined with any of the telematic solutions generally available in the market. This makes it easy to integrate the new Crafter into existing fleets.
The further developed EU6 engines based on the Modular Diesel Platform (“MDB”) were specially configured for the new Crafter with respect to the “tough” requirements of a commercial vehicle. They are very reliable engines and are designed for both short-distance and long-distance transportation. The 2.0l TDI engine, the “EA 288 Commercial”, which was further developed for the Crafter, is available with front-wheel drive at three different power output levels for EU6 markets: 75 kW (102 PS), 103 kW (140 PS) or as a BiTurbo TDI with 130 kW (177 PS). The 1,968 cc TDI engine is installed transversely, and it is inclined eight degrees towards the front, which results in shorter equipment length and thereby provides more space for the driver and payload. All engines fulfil the EU6 emissions standard, and they have a stop-start system as standard. Overall, they are 15% per cent more fuel-efficient on average. The new Crafter also scores with its ruggedness and low wear, maintenance and repair costs, all of which have a positive effect on total cost of ownership (TCO) over the vehicle’s life cycle.
Pre-sales of the new Crafter begin in November 2016. UK launch is expected in Spring 2017.
From around mid-2017, the powertrains on offer will be supplemented by the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system with a transversely mounted engine and the rear-wheel drive system with a longitudinally mounted engine.