Our Crafter was not short on performance.
Even with the equivalent of more than half its maximum permitted payload onboard it accelerated through the gears as if it was empty and maintained the maximum-permitted speed on the M5 and M6 motorways without breaking sweat.
A smooth, slick, gear change helped us make progress quickly, and VW’s latest offering handled well, zipping through our favourite twisty section of the A40 without showing the least inclination to break away.
The steering tightens up nicely at speed.
In-cab noise levels were well under control, aside from an intermittent rattle from the passenger door – most unusual in a Volkswagen – and the good level of manoeuvrability should help if you happen to be making deliveries in city centres.
VW might wish to take another look at the way the Crafter’s suspension is set up, however, and see if the ride can be made more compliant.
As things stand – and bearing in mind the shortcomings of British road surfaces – it is a touch too firm for our taste.
The Crafter also seemed a mite thirsty, but with 1,268 miles recorded it had not covered much ground and it was being driven quite hard on occasions.
We were averaging around 33mpg to 34mpg – below the 38.2mpg official combined fuel economy figure.
One cause for concern was the AEB’s sensitivity: it alerted the driver to an emergency twice, but on both occasions it was triggered by a car passing Crafter on the motorway. However, AEB systems on other vehicles have triggered similar false alarms.
The Crafter is protected by a three-year/100,000-mile warranty with roadside assistance for the duration.
A three-year paintwork warranty is provided too, plus a 12-year anti-perforation corrosion warranty.
Service intervals are set at two years/30,000 miles and the new Volkswagen Crafter was being marketed with two complimentary services at the time of writing.
Deep side rubbing strips should provide plenty of protection from minor bumps and scrapes.
Volkswagen Crafter Trendline CR35 MWB 2.0 TDI 140hp FWD
|Price (ex VAT)||£29,200|
|Price range (ex VAT)||£23,920-£33,655*|
|Load width (min/max)||1,380/1,832mm|
|Load bay height||1,961mm|
|Rear door aperture||1,840x1,552mm|
|Side door aperture||1,822x1,311mm|
|Gross vehicle weight||3,500kg|
|Braked trailer towing weight||3,000kg|
|Cost per mile||55.3p**|
|Torque||340Nm @ 1,600-2,250rpm|
|Fuel economy||38.2mpg (combined)|
|Fuel tank||75 litres|
|Price as tested||£31,615|
*models launched to date
** Over 4 years/20,000 miles p.a.
Added Extras In-cab overhead storage compartment with reading light (£1,774), Climatic air-conditioning (£1,375), Discover Media Navigation system (£700), Front fog lights with
cornering function (£210)
It is hard for rival manufacturers to combat an icon, which is what the Transit still is so far as UK customers are concerned. And its status is justified: for your money you get responsive engines, a crisp gear change, a well-designed cab, and healthy residual values when disposal time rolls round.
Order your groceries online and the odds are that they’ll turn up in a Sprinter. That’s because fleets know that the Mercedes is one of the few vans that can stand up to the battering home-delivery work dishes out without falling apart. Safety standards are exemplary and the engines are top-notch.
While the Movano remains deep in the Transit’s always-looming shadow it is worth a second look. Decent engines plus plenty of payload capacity and cargo space depending on the version you pick are among its advantages. It shares the same basic design as Renault’s Master and Nissan’s NV400.