The What Van? Road Test: Volkswagen Crafter

Date: Thursday, June 10, 2021

Rear 3:4


The Crafter is covered by a three-year/100,000-mile warranty, with roadside assistance included for the duration. A three-year paintwork warranty is provided too, along with a 12-year anti-perforation corrosion warranty.

Service intervals are set at two years/30,000 miles and should really be supplemented by interim safety checks.

Deep side rubbing strips should provide plenty of protection from minor bumps and scrapes, and can only be applauded given the price of the optional metallic paint finish. 

Volkswagen Crafter CR35 Trendline MWB 2.0 TDI 177hp FWD 8spd auto

Price (ex VAT) £36,680

Price range (ex VAT) £27,220-£44,145

Gross payload 1,191kg

Load length 3,450m

Load width (min/max) 1,380mm/1,832mm

Load bay height 1,961mm

Load volume 10.7m3

Loading height 670mm

Rear door aperture 1,552mm x 1,840mm

Side door aperture 1,311mm x 1,822mm

Gross vehicle weight 3,500kg

Braked trailer towing weight 3,000kg

Residual value TBA

Cost per mile TBA

Engine size/power 1,968cc, 177hp @ 3,600rpm

Torque 410Nm @ 1,500-2,000rpm

Gearbox 8sp auto

Fuel economy 28.2 mpg (WLTP combined)

Fuel tank 75 litres

CO2 203g/km

Warranty 3yrs/100,000 miles

Service intervals 2yrs/30,000 miles

Insurance group 42A

Price as tested £40,935


Business Pack £1,320

Body-coloured bumpers £60

Discover Media Navigation system £750

Heated and leather-trimmed steering wheel £285

Lights and Vision pack A £230

Rear bumper step £215

Rear view camera £235

Metallic paint £1,160


Ford Transit

Price (ex VAT) £27,550-£44,045

Load volume 9.5-15.1m3

Gross payload 895-2,209kg

Engines 105hp, 130hp, 170hp, 185hp 2.0 diesel

Verdict: Despite pressure from Mercedes-Benz’s Sprinter, the Transit remains an established British icon although the van is no longer built here but in Ford’s plant in Turkey. For your money you get a well-designed cab, impressive engine, slick manual box and automatic boxes – a 10-speed on rear-wheel drive models – that are well worth investigating. It’s just a shame that the electric version is taking such a long time to arrive.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Price (ex VAT) £27,345-£57,965

Load volume 7.8-17m3

Gross payload 731-2,529kg

Engines 150hp, 170hp 2.0 diesel, 143hp, 163hp 2.1 diesel, 190hp 3.0 diesel, 85kW electric

Verdict: Rock-solid build quality and the availability of automatic transmissions are among the key reasons why the Sprinter is so popular with home delivery fleets. What’s more, the emphasis on on-board safety helps businesses discharge their duty of care to employees. The electric Sprinter is starting to get itself noticed and marketplace trends should prompt sales to rise steadily.

Renault Master

Price (ex VAT) £28,400-£61,800

Load volume 8.0-17.0m3

Gross payload 848-1,990kg

Engines 135hp, 150hp, 180hp 2.3 diesel, 57kW electric

Verdict: While decent engines and plenty of payload capacity and cargo space are among the Master’s advantages, one of its biggest plus-points is the availability of an electric model. Renault is also working on equipping it with a fuel cell that will act as a range extender. Remember that Nissan’s NV400 and Vauxhall’s Movano share the same basic design and that the Master is marketed through Renault Trucks as well as Renault car and van dealerships.

The Final Verdict

Design 8/10 – No style icon, but a well-built, practical vehicle with a heavy accent on safety 

Cabin 8/10 – Roomy and comfortable with plenty of storage space

Ride 7/10 – Acceptable but not outstanding, uneven surfaces are a challenge when unladen

Refinement 7/10 – Noise levels well under control aside from the odd growl from the engine 

Load area 8/10 – Big rear door aperture and no shortage of load tie-down points

Handling/performance 8/10 – Well up to standard aside from some hesitancy when you pull away from rest

Engine/transmission 8/10 – Well matched, with smooth acceleration up through the gears

Standard equipment 7/10 – Reversing sensors are not fitted as standard, despite the stress on safety

Operating costs 7/10 – Comprehensive warranty package is welcome and reasonable fuel economy 

What Van? subjective rating 8/10 – Without a doubt a convincing rival to Mercedes-Benz’s all-conquering Sprinter.

Overall Rating = 76/100






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