As the first examples of the new Volkswagen Crafter begin to hit Britain’s roads, one thing is for certain – you won’t miss them.
See one coming towards you and you may be forgiven for thinking that a giant runner bean slicer is about to devour your car.
Get a glimpse of the Crafter in your rear view mirror and you could well mistake it for a 40-tonne truck.
The Crafter has such a commanding presence on the road that it demands – and invariably gets – attention. And it’s no accident either.
The Crafter comes off the same production line as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter but Volkswagen set out to make it look as different as possible from its twin brother.
So while the rear ends are the same, Volkswagen eschewed the Sprinter’s rather stylish and somewhat delicate front end and substituted a huge conk that looks both brash and brutal.
Or in the words of one VW media man: ‘The Crafter looks strong and confident and has a striking and unmistakable look. It is built to work and shows it.’
The Crafter is a replacement for the ageing LT and comes at an exciting time – Volkswagen has just overtaken Citroën to take third place in the UK van sales charts. New director of commercial vehicles Robert Hazelwood is confident that with the Crafter now on sale, that lead over the French rival will be maintained.
The Crafter is available as a panel van and a chassis-cab and comes in gross vehicle weights of 3.0 tonnes, 3.5 tonnes and 5.0 tonnes, with three wheelbases, four load lengths and three roof heights.
Four 2.5-litre five cylinder diesel engines are available with power outputs of 88bhp, 107bhp, 134bhp and 160bhp and torque of 162lb-ft/1,750-2,500rpm, 206lb-ft/2,000rpm, 221lb-ft/2,000rpm and 258lb-ft/2,000rpm.
Load volumes range from 7.5 cubic metres to 17 cubic metres and standard equipment includes ABS brakes, ESP traction control, driver’s airbag, central locking, electric windows and a CD player.
Maintenance costs are reckoned to be 30% lower than for the old LT and insurance groups are lower than for the equivalent Sprinters, thanks to a better alarm.
Prices are maintained or lowered over the LT and range from £15,869 to £28,724, ex-VAT.