Weight or space – where should the priority lie when it comes to large vans like our long-term VW? Steve Banner investigates
Which matters more? A van’s payload capacity or the amount of space it has in its cargo area?
A lot depends on the type of load you are carrying of course, but in most cases it is the space that is available that matters. That is because even quite bulky items weigh comparatively little this days.
Consider how much washing machines, for example, weigh today and how much they weighed 30 years ago and you will understand what I mean.
At 13.6m3 the Crafter has cargo area space in abundance and almost all of it is useable. It has something else that has mattered to me recently though, and that is internal height. We’re talking 1,861mm – a touch over 6ft in other words – which meant that it was easily able to accommodate an assortment of tall, potted, ornamental shrubs and trees I was recently called on to shift. Not the easiest of things to load, but the heavy pots held them in place and I didn’t have to try to lash them down in some way.
That would have been a struggle, but at least the Crafter’s 12 floor-mounted load tie-down points would have given me something to secure them to – although how exactly I would have secured them and with what, I have no idea.
Easing them aboard was made less challenging by the height of the doors, which are not far short of the height of the cargo bay itself, and by their width. So there were no snapped-off branches. However, the weight of those pots made me wish our Crafter was front-wheel drive, with a lower cargo bed.
Transport items like that and you are bound to end up with bits of compost, soil, and gravel scattered across the load floor.
Happily, our demonstrator’s floor is protected by a fitted ply cover, so it is easy to sweep out; just as well given that it is now home to a mouldering fence panel earmarked for disposal. You can live with a van for several weeks without being aware of some of the useful features it offers.
At 35mpg diesel consumption remains steady, and does not seem to vary no matter whether the weather is warm and dry with barely a breath of wind, or cold and wet and blowing a gale. Our VW has encountered all of these conditions, and has coped admirably.
Report Card: Fuel economy = 4/5
Consumption remains consistent whatever the conditions or load.
VW Crafter CR35 LWB Trendline 2.0 TDI 140hp 6-spd manual RWD
Official combined consumption 36.2mpg
Our average consumption 35.0mpg
Price (ex VAT) £33,280
Price range (ex VAT) £23,920-£33,655
Warranty 3yrs/unlimited mileage
Service intervals 2yrs/30,000mls
Load length 4,300mm
Load width (min/max) 1,380/1,832mm
Load bay height 1,861mm
Gross payload 1,267kg
Load volume 13.6m3
Engine size/power 1,968cc/140hp
Gearbox 6-spd manual
Business Pack £1,265
Click below to see previous report