Living with a... Volkswagen Crafter – 1st Report

Date: Monday, September 04, 2017   |   Author: Tony Rock

What Van? was lucky enough to have an extended test drive with Volkswagen’s Crafter. In the first part of our two-part long-term test, we discover it can be tricky taking home a medium-wheelbase large van after a day’s work.

Taking a MWB Volkswagen Crafter home for the weekend? Well, one consideration is taking into account where you’re going to park it, a question that may apply to any large van.

Our model measures 5,986mm in length. That’s versus a comparable Mercedes-Benz Sprinter that can come in at 5,926mm.

Fortunately for me, it fitted on the widest section of the parking area outside our house, but didn’t quite fit on the narrower section, as when I park there I often leave the rear passenger-side wheel on the public path.

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The problem of parking became apparent recently I when drove home to find a guest had taken my space.

We do have a garage at the back of the garden, but I didn’t dare reverse onto its driveway because I suspected the Crafter was not only too long, but also too wide (it’s 2,427mm across, including the side mirrors), meaning I’d have been trapped inside as I’d have been unable to open the doors, due to the presence of a fence on one side and a wall on the other.

So, as it was after 5.30pm, I went for the nearest available single line, but when I got out I realised that the rear of the van was partly blocking my next-door neighbour’s driveway! It wasn’t a problem moving the Crafter to another space outside somebody else’s house (but not blocking their drive), but it made me think about what sort of problems other drivers have, particularly those living in cities where the only spaces available are on the cramped, overcrowded streets.

But finding a suitable spot at home to leave the VW overnight was a cakewalk compared with the difficulties I had when I took my daughter to an athletics event in Surrey.

Arriving there late in the afternoon for her only event of the day, I was forced to try the overspill parking facility on the grass, only to display my LCV driving inexperience and get into a pickle attempting to drive forward into a space.

Three failed tries later, a saint appeared in my side mirror, and told me that another vehicle had just vacated the car park somewhere behind me, leaving a double-width space that I could try if I was happy to reverse back into it – which after the tangle I’d got myself into, I was only too happy to do.

As I edged back, I did wish that as well as the reversing sensors, which came as standard on our Highline-specced model, the vehicle had also come equipped with not only the optional reversing camera (£210) but also VW’s optional Park Assist function, which is included as part of a wider driver assistance pack that costs £1,215 for the Highline van.



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