For years, the Volkswagen Crafter lived in the shadows of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. It was well known that the Crafter shared the same platform as the Mercedes van, and so many people opted to buy the latter instead.
That all changed, however, when the deal between the two manufacturers came to an end and Volkswagen spent close to €2 billion designing a new Crafter and building a factory to make it in.
The Crafter is available as a panel van, but there are also single and double-cab chassis platforms available. The van is available in two wheelbases lengths, with three vehicle lengths and three roof heights. There are also three different gross vehicle weights, of 3.0, 3.5 and 5.0 tonnes.
There are plenty of alternatives to the Crafter, too, including the Ford Transit, Peugeot Boxer, Nissan NV400 and Renault Master, but it's still the Sprinter that's its real competitor, because both offer front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. There’s also the choice between a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox in the Crafter. Plus, an electric Volkswagen eCrafter will be launched in 2020.
Buyers can choose from Startline, Trendline or Highline trim levels, as well as adding numerous comfort and safety options to enhance the van.
Power comes from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine with four different power outputs that aren't necessarily available on all models. First up is a 101bhp engine available only on front-wheel drive vans. Next is a 121bhp unit only available on twin-wheel, rear-wheel-drive models. This is followed by a 138bhp engine that you can get on pretty much every version. And the line-up is completed by a twin-turbocharged 174bhp unit that's again available on all model types.
Read on to see how the Volkswagen Crafter compares with its key rivals, and don't forget to visit What Car? New Car Buying for a great deal on your next car.