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New Volkswagen Crafter quietly lobs in Runner form

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

Volkswagen launches two-tier Crafter Runner line-up from $48,490 BOCs

Volkswagen logo23 Jan 2018

VOLKSWAGEN Group Australia (VGA) quietly introduced the second-generation Crafter Runner line-up this week with the Polish-built heavy-commercial van priced from $48,490 before on-road costs.

Speaking to GoAuto, VGA communications general manager Paul Pottinger explained that the two Runner variants were rolled out ahead of the wider Crafter range that will feature about 30 derivatives and officially launch the new model.

While initially pencilled in for an April 30 on-sale date, the rest of the Crafter line-up is likely to arrive behind schedule around mid-year, according to Mr Pottinger.

''It looks like it is going to be later. We had it down for April, but we're going to now see what is happening with production. I would almost say it is certainly going to be later than that,'' he said.

The three-seat Crafter Runner is available in medium- ($48,490) or long-wheelbase ($51,990) guise, measuring 3640mm and 4490mm respectively between the front and rear axles, while Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) is 3550 kilograms and braked towing capacity is 2500kg.

Motivation comes from a 2.0-litre EA288 turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine dubbed TDI340 that develops 103kW of power at 3500rpm and 340Nm of torque at 2000rpm.

Less potent 75kW/300Nm and 90kW/300Nm tunes of this powertrain will be offered in other Crafter variants, while another version with a second turbocharger boosts outputs to 130kW/410Nm.

The Runner exclusively sends drive to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. However, alternative Crafter derivatives will also be available with rear- or all-wheel drive and an eight-speed torque-convertor automatic transmission.

Standard Runner equipment includes 16-inch steel wheels wrapped in 205/75 tyres, a full-size spare steel wheel, halogen headlights, daytime running lights, rear foglights and ventilated disc brakes.

Inside, climate control, a tilt- and reach-adjustable steering column, an 8.0-inch Composition Media touchscreen infotainment system, digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, voice control, a four-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary connectivity, power lumbar support for the driver seat, and front power windows feature.

Safety and driver-assist technologies extend to six airbags, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, park assist, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, driver attention detection, driver fatigue warning, hill-start assist, a manual speed limiter, and cruise control.

The only solid paint colour on offer, dubbed Candy White, is complemented by a non-existent options list.

The previous-generation Crafter was a rebadged Mercedes-Benz Sprinter that was built by Daimler AG and had a different nose, but Volkswagen elected to use its own ground-up design for the new model.

Crafter sales stumbled last year, with 468 examples sold to the end of the 12-month period, representing a 13.5 per cent decrease over the 541 registrations made during 2016.

The Volkswagen ranked sixth among similar models in the 2017 heavy-commercial vehicle segment, trailing the Sprinter (2903), Renault Master (1636), Iveco Daily (1207), Fiat Ducato (1163) and Ford Transit Heavy (875).

2018 Volkswagen Crafter Runner pricing*
TDI340 35 MWB$48,490
TDI340 35 LWB $51,990
*Excludes on-road costs

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