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Van of the Year 2021: Large Van - Best to Drive
The VW Crafter is all the proof you should need to understand that clever technical and ergonomic solutions can mean large vans don't have to be intimidating to drive...
WINNER: Large Van - Best to Drive
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
Few technical developments will ever have had as much impact in the large van segment as Volkswagen’s introduction of a new steering system for the Crafter. Having split from its partnership with Mercedes, Volkswagen went solo and created a near-perfect example of how a large van should drive.
So much so that from behind the wheel, the Crafter feels like half its size and weight, with the steering making the van easy to place on the road and giving you the confidence to always know what’s coming next. Its controlled ride only improves as you add weight in the back, too, giving it a stability that inspires further confidence.
What’s more, all this is bolstered by a great seating position that allows you to get comfortable and have a great view of the road both forwards and backwards – again, crucial factors in making the driver feel at ease. Driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance make it an effortless van to drive on a long journey, too.
It’s worth noting that the MAN TGE is closely related to the Crafter, but in our judges’ opinion it doesn’t possess the same appeal as the Crafter, with entry-level vans downgraded to more utilitarian specifications that downgrade the overall driving experience.
In contrast, the Crafter is the complete van: big enough to move almost anything while also feeling sharp and special.
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