What is it?

It’s Volkswagen’s largest van on offer, bringing a versatile range of sizes and shapes to choose from but above all else a solid approach to practicality and ease-of-use. 

Volkswagen already has quite the reputation for creating no-nonsense vans with a slightly premium edge and it looks like this latest Crafter could deliver just the same. We’ve been testing one out to see. 

Volkswagen Crafter Panel Van

What’s new?

The Crafter, like so many other vans, is all about being right for the job. It’s why you can get it in both single and double cab layouts while an open-body model is there for drivers who need even more flexibility and allows the Crafter to be converted more easily to suit a variety of jobs. You can get it in large Luton form, too, for those jobs which need even more space.

It’s all backed by the same build quality attitude that you get in Volkswagen’s range of road cars, with solid fit-and-finish helping the Crafter to feel like it’ll easily handle whichever requirement is thrown its way.

What’s under the bonnet?

There’s just one engine available with the Crafter, albeit in different states of tune. It’s a fairly traditional 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel, linked with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox. Entry-level models get 138bhp and this rises to 161bhp in most-powerful versions.

Expect to see around 33mpg in the 138bhp models in medium-wheelbase versions, or ever-so-slightly less in heavier long-wheelbase variants. Pick the most powerful engine on the heavier long-wheelbase model and you’ll see MPG reduce to 30mpg.

Volkswagen Crafter Panel Van

What’s it like to drive?

Volkswagen’s smaller Transporter was always famed for its car-like driving experience and it’s a similar deal in the Crafter. Of course, it’s a very large van so you do need to be wary of its dimensions - particularly in long-wheelbase variants - but with relatively light steering and light controls, it’s not as hard to pilot as you might imagine.

Forward visibility is excellent thanks to slim pillars, but it’s the Crafter’s agility which makes things simple. Parking is another easy aspect. Naturally, you need to take into account the van’s length, but even parallel parking the Crafter isn’t tricky thanks to its on-board sensors, light steering and large mirrors.

How does it look?

Well, it’s a van. But in fairness to Volkswagen, it has given the Crafter some noticeable styling touches such as the slim headlights and the confident front grille which proudly displays the large chrome Volkswagen badge.

There’s some chrome badging at the rear, too, denoting the Crafter name and also the engine. The whole van certainly looks premium enough, but not so over-the-top that you’ll be worried about parking it on a busy site or at the side of the road.

What’s it like inside?

Again, the Crafter has a lot of the features that we’ve come to expect from Volkswagen’s passenger car range but tied together with some slightly more robust materials. There’s a large central touchscreen which is intuitively placed while all of the major controls have a nice chunky feel to them. The gear selector location is well-judged, too, ensuring that you don’t have to reach too far to change gears.

There’s loads of useful storage in the forward part of the cabin, too, with deep door bins providing ample space for bottles or other loose items. We also like the small compartment to the side of the gear stick which is ideal for your smartphone.

Volkswagen Crafter Panel Van

What’s the spec like?

Though it is, primarily, a rough-and-tough van made for all kinds of jobs, the Crafter has plenty of creature comforts to help out. At present, there are two specifications available - Commerce and Commerce Plus - with all versions gaining functions such as cruise control, a 12-volt charging socket up front and connectivity for your smartphone.

Move up to Commerce Plus and you gain an upgraded speaker system, DAB radio, full air conditioning and the aforementioned 6.5-inch central screen. Front and rear parking sensors are also a real help in this specification.


The Crafter is a van that won’t fail you. It’s easy and intuitive to drive, has all of the features that you’d want to make day-to-day life easier and features a cabin with enough storage space to keep all of your key items right on hand.

Its varied list of layouts and bodystyles means that it can always be tailored to the job required, too, ensuring that this is one van which won’t leave you caught out.



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