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Van of the Year 2021: Best Large Van
The VW Crafter cost hundreds of millions to develop and put into production, and as a result reset the standards for functionality, comfort and capability...
WINNER: Best Large Van
Priced from £26,305 MPG 32.5-39.2mpg CO2 emissions 189-228g/km Load space 9.3-18.4m3 Payload 1187-1317kg Power 100-175bhp Torque 221-302lb ft
When Volkswagen set about building the Crafter by itself, it decided to do it properly: it built a new factory, developed new engines and created an all-new design for its large van, all at the cost of billions of pounds of investment.
As you’ll have gathered from our judges’ decision to name it our Best Large Van overall, we believe that this was money very well spent. Not only is the Crafter the best large van on the market, but it is also one of the best vans of all sizes. It’s as functional as a Swiss army knife, as comfortable as a pair of your favourite slippers and as intelligent as a Mensa member.
As with rivals such as the Ford Transit and Mercedes Sprinter, there are thousands of permutations available. A wealth of wheelbases, bundles of bodies and loads of lengths… the Crafter does as well as its rivals in these areas but also has more economical engines, loads of safety technology and the best seating and driving position in the sector. It is also the best to drive, its clever electromechanical steering system having transformed the Crafter from a capable large van to an agile and impressive one.
Downsides? The interior is a little drab, perhaps, but that’s a Volkswagen trait rather than a criticism, because it tends to lean towards making functional and practical vehicles rather than flamboyant ones. Likewise, you can get bigger and longer vans, often with more standard kit, but for most people most of the time, the Crafter’s package is just too compelling.
The Sprinter may be the most well-known large van and the Transit a better seller, but both have been left wanting by the overall package put together by Volkswagen.
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