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Volkswagen reveals new Crafter van

Do a Runner: The Runner has hit local Volkswagen showrooms ahead of the broader Crafter range that is now expected to arrive mid-year.

Ageing Volkswagen Crafter commercial van to be replaced from second half 2017


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29 Jul 2016

VOLKSWAGEN has detailed its new Polish-built Crafter heavy commercial van, with a focus on consumer choice thanks to its extensive line-up of powertrains and body styles.

Arriving in Australian showrooms in intervals from the second half of 2017, buyers will be able to choose from an extensive range of configurations that includes four engine outputs, three vehicle lengths, three roof heights, a manual or automatic transmission, and front, rear or all-wheel drive.

While the full local line-up is yet to be confirmed, Volkswagen Australia general manager corporate communications Paul Pottinger said that the company has not ruled out making all variants available in Australia.

“We don’t know the final plans yet, but the whole range is being considered,” he said.

This time around the Crafter is a new-from-the-ground-up design and will not be based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter like the previous model was.

The Crafter will use a redesigned version of Volkswagen’s EA288 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine made specifically for the new van, which is Euro 6-compliant and has what Volkswagen claims to be the lowest consumption and emissions figures in its class.

The engine will be offered with power outputs of 75kW, 90kW, and 103kW, while tacking on a second turbocharger boosts power to 130kW. Torque figures have not yet been specified.

Volkswagen has included a substantial amount of safety tech for a commercial van, with safety features including front, side and head airbags, ESP with trailer stabilisation, adaptive cruise control, post-collision braking system, trailer manoeuvring assistant system, reversing camera, parking assistance monitor and LED and cornering headlights.

VW has only said that it will be offered with three body and roof styles, but has not specified what they are, however going by the current model the three different lengths are likely to be medium wheelbase, long wheelbase and long wheelbase with overhang, while roof styles are likely to be normal, high and super high.

The front fascia has been redesigned with a cleaner, more streamlined look that makes it more readily identifiable as a Volkswagen, while the interior has also received small tweaks.

The current Crafter launched in van and cab-chassis body styles in March 2007.

While Volkswagen global has made no mention of the new Crafter being made in cab-chassis form, Mr Pottinger said that it was a “definite” to come to Australia.

The choice of the 4Motion four-wheel-drive system as a drivetrain option could point to the possibility of an offroad-oriented version of the Crafter.

The hardcore Crafter 4Motion was released in 2013 boasting increased ground clearance and real off-road ability, however it never made it to Australian shores.

Volkswagen will be hoping that the new model will give the Crafter’s sales numbers a boost when it arrives, as the ageing current model has been languishing behind key rivals in terms of sales figures.

The Crafter has found 284 homes to the end of June 2016, well behind rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (1259), Renault Master (818) and Fiat Ducato (535).

The new model will be built in a new factory in Wrzesnia, Poland, that Volkswagen has built especially for production of the Crafter.

It is the second Volkswagen factory in Poland, the other being in Poznan-Antoninek, which has been churning out models for 20 years.

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