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All-new 2017 VW Crafter revealed in full

  • Brand new user-friendly design, built with customer input
  • Three body lengths, three roof heights, up to six Euro pallets
  • 15% more mpg, all the latest safety tech, on sale spring 2017

Written by CJ Hubbard Published: 9 September 2016 Updated: 20 January 2017

UPDATE 1: We have now driven the 2017 VW Crafter – click here to read our full review

UPDATE 2: UK pricing for the 2017 VW Crafter has been announced – some details below, or click here for the full story

Volkswagen has unveiled its new Crafter large van in September 2016 at a dramatic world premier event in a 100-year-old steel works in Frankfurt, Germany – and on first impressions, to our eyes it certainly seems to be well-worth the fuss. It does not go on sale in the UK until May 2017.

This is an all-new VW Crafter, built in-house by Volkswagen in a brand new factory in Poland (rather than by Mercedes-Benz in the same factory as the Sprinter). It features equally new 2.0-litre TDI turbodiesel engines that promise 15 percent better fuel economy than rival large vans like the Ford Transit and Vauxhall Movano, it comes in three body lengths and three roof heights, and is available with a large amount of safety equipment, including no fewer than 15 driver assistance systems.

2016 VW Crafter World Premier

Six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic gearboxes are offered, and you can have your new Crafter with front-wheel drive, 4Motion four-wheel drive or, from the middle of 2017, rear-wheel drive, depending on your requirements.

New Crafter can swallow more Euro pallets than any other van in its class, and has a number of first-in-class features as well – including a shock-cushioning driver’s seat, electro-mechanical power steering, all-round side protection system and modular power take-off for the engine providing up to 250 amps or 2 x 180 amps.

2016 VW Crafter World Premier

It’s been designed from the ground up with actual customers involved right from the beginning of the development process, in an effort to make it as functional and real-world user-friendly as possible.

Keep reading to find out more…

2017 VW Crafter dimensions, cargo loadspace

The new Crafter van comes in two wheelbase lengths, three body lengths and three roof heights. So far we only have exact data for the front-wheel drive versions, and VW is keeping some info such as payload ratings back for the time being, either to reveal at the 2016 IAA van show later in September, or the first driving opportunity in late November.

Click here to read all about the 2016 IAA Commercial Vehicle Show

The shorter wheelbase is 3,640mm and only available in the shortest body length, which is 5,986mm – so still nearly 6m long – with a maximum loading length of 3,450mm. Two roof height options are offered on this model, 2,355mm and 2,590mm, with a cargo capacity of 9.9 cubic metres and 11.3 cubic metres, respectively.

The longer wheelbase is 4,490mm, and available in 6,836mm (medium)  and 7,391mm (long) body lengths – giving you a maximum loading length of 4,300mm and 4,855mm. Roof height for these model is 2,590mm or 2,798mm; the medium van will therefore accomodate 14.4 or 16.1 cubic metres, the long van 16.4 or 18.4 cubic metres.

2016 VW Crafter World Premier

All versions of the Crafter are 2,040mm wide (2,425mm with the door mirrors), with a maximum loading width of 1,830mm and 1,380mm between the wheelarches. Maximum cargo height is 1,726mm, 1,961mm, 2,189mm or 2,196mm. A new rear axle design puts the rear floor of front-wheel drive versions 100mm closer to the ground.

The Crafter’s side door has a 1,311mm opening and 570mm sill height. The rear doors open up to 270 degrees (depending on spec).

As well as six basic variants of panel van, the new Crafter is available as a multi-seater Kombi and as “open” chassis cab versions; Volkswagen will be offering factory conversions for chassis cabs, including pickups and tippers.

How many Euro pallets can you fit in the new Crafter then?

The new Crafter eats Euro pallets like cakes. Even the smallest variant has enough floor space for four, and if you go for the high-roof version of this model you’ll cram in up to six standard roller containers.

The biggest Crafter will take six Euro pallets or nine roller containers.

New 2.0-litre TDI engine for lower running costs

Powering the 2016 Crafter is an all-new 2.0-litre TDI turbodiesel (codenamed EA288Nutz, apparently), which complies with the latest Euro 6 emissions regulations. It’s available in three power outputs at launch (official torque figures are yet to be announced but it will have “up to 400Nm”):

  • 102hp single-turbo
  • 140hp single-turbo
  • 177hp twin-turbo

When the rear-wheel drive Crafter joins the range in 2017 this will be offered with an additional engine:

  • 122hp single-turbo

Towing capacity for the rear-wheel drive model will be up to 3.5 tonnes, and the maximum gross weight of the heaviest versions 5.5 tonnes; the minimum is 3.5 tonnes. Every engine is attached to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with an eight-speed automatic optional right across range.

The new engine uses Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) to reduce its emissions, so you’ll need to top up an AdBlue tank every few thousand miles, but with stop-start fitted as standard it’s also said to be 15 percent more efficient on average than the previous Crafter, which Volkswagen reckons makes it 15 percent more economical than its current large van rivals, too. VW is yet to put an exact figure on the Crafter’s mpg, however.

Helping it out in this respect, the Crafter’s new exterior design has best-in-class aerodynamics, so should slice through the air with the least possible resistance. If only it could do the same with rush-hour traffic.

The engine has been designed for commerical use in both short- and long-distance driving, and VW promises it will be robust with low maintenance and repair costs, helping to keep down the Crafter’s total cost of ownership (TCO).

User-friendly features inside and out

VW has made a big fuss about how it’s designed the 2016 Crafter with input from customers right from the very beginning, holding 63 focus groups and across five markets – including the UK.

This has resulted in a number of innovations. For example, Volkswagen reckons the process of opening and closing the door is now faster by three seconds; doesn’t sound like much but if you do that 200 times a day (like a parcel courier), it’ll save you 10 minutes – which adds up to 36 hours per working year.

Yes, it seems VW has gone down to that level of detail.

Then there’s the cab, which includes a vast number of storage compartments, designed to contain everything VW believes its customers are carrying around every day. This includes a 13-litre glovebox big enough for an A4 ringbinder, double-decker door bins and a “metre shelf” on the dashboard – placed in such a way that it’s easily accessed from outside the vehicle this is, as you might guess, just over one metre long.

Unsurprisingly there’s now extra integration for smartphone and tablets, including built-in USB ports to charge them in addition to numerous 12v sockets and even a 230v power outlet built into the driver’s seat.

Speaking of seating, seven configurations are available, including the optional new ergoActive driver’s seat with its shock-absorbing suspension design, a first in this class. This posterior pamperer also has an electric massaging function and four-way lumbar support.

Other details include having the gearlever mounted high up and close to the steering wheel in an angled pod that still leaves reasonable legroom for middle-seat passengers. There are various touchscreen infotainment options, with features including sat-nav and online services.

Safety equipment and driver assistance

One of the key areas of improvement for the all-new VW Crafter is safety, with a number of new “active” systems that are only made possible by the introduction of electro-mechanical power steering.

2016 VW Crafter

This replaces the traditional hydraulic power steering assistance of the previous model, and gives the Crafter the means to make automatic adjustments to the steering angle as a means of increasing safety. It’s the first time electro-mechanical power-steering has ever been offered in the large van class.

These are the new active safety systems in question:

  • Lane Assist – automatically corrects the steering if you seem to be wandering out of your lane
  • Side wind compensation – automatically applies tiny steering corrections to counteract cross winds, which can be particularly problematic for large, high-sided vans; it’s fitted as standard here
  • Park Assist – automatically parks the van in both length-ways and parallel spaces without the driver having to touch the steering wheel
  • Trailer Assist – helps you manage driving with a trailer, especially when reversing
  • Driver Alert – monitors the driver for signs of tiredness (mostly through the steering wheel movement) and displays a warning if it thinks you need to take a break

Other active safety systems on the new Crafter include:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control – automatically maintains a safe distance to the vehicle in front, more details in the Parkers’ glossary here
  • Front Assist with City Emergency Braking – spots danger ahead and even applies the brakes if you aren’t reacting in time (only up to 18mph, though)
  • Post-collision braking – should you have a crash, this locks the brakes to stop the vehicle from moving further after the initial impact, with the aim of preventing further damage
  • ESP trailer stabilisation – uses the Crafter’s electronic stability control system to counteract trailer movements that can lead to accidents

In addition to all this, the new Crafter also comes with a number of “passive” safety technologies, including six airbags and a several electronic warning systems. Particularly useful are the reversing camera and the Rear Traffic Alert, which monitors for vehicles behind you when you’re reversing. Meanwhile Side Assist monitors blindspots.

Finally, the new “sensor-controlled side protection” system uses 16 ultrasonic sensors to monitor the Crafter’s entire exterior at low speeds, with the aim of helping you manage the vehicle’s length in tight city centre environments in a way that’s similar to conventional parking sensors.

VW Crafter pricing and on-sale info

Volkswagen released pricing info for the new VW Crafter in January 2017; read the full story by clicking here.

There are three trim levels: Startline, Trendline and Highline, and the entry-level price is £23,920 – exceedingly similar to the outgoing model, despite the additional equipment.

It is available to order now, with first deliveris expected in May 2017, after the new Crafter has made its UK debut at the CV Show in April.

Read the full review of the 2017 VW Crafter on Parkers Vans

VW announces UK pricing for 2017 Crafter

Click here to find used VW Crafters via the Parkers for sale section