What Car? says...
The Volkswagen Crafter large van lived in the shadow of the Mercedes Sprinter for years – they shared the same platform, so many people opted for the premium brand model instead.
The Crafter's fortunes have changed, though. When the deal between the two German manufacturers ended, Volkswagen spent close to €2billion designing an all-new version and building a factory to make it in.
In this review, we'll tell you more about what the VW Crafter is like to live with, including how much space there is in the load bay to how much it will cost to buy and run. We've put it to the test so you can compare it with the alternatives available in the large van category.
There are a few rivals to consider, including the Ford Transit, the Nissan NV400, the Peugeot Boxer and the Renault Master, but the Mercedes Sprinter remains its main competitor.
Once you've decided which one meets your needs, we can help you find the best leasing deals through the free What Car? Leasing section, where you can get a quote for most makes and model of car or van.
The VW Crafter is one of the best large vans on the market, standing out for being quiet and comfortable, having a very well thought out interior that makes everyday jobs easier and for its huge carrying capacity. It’s not perfect though; it is expensive upfront (but holds its value well) and lacks a little sparkle inside compared to some rivals. Read our full four-out-of-five star verdict on the VW Crafter.
Not any more. Previous generations of VW Crafter and Mercedes Sprinter were based on the same platform, and even had the same interiors and were built in the same factory, but now they are individually designed and built. They have different engines and dimensions, and even separate electric versions. Our VW Crafter review and Mercedes Sprinter review reveal the full details.
The VW Crafter is revered by professional converters, partly because of Volkswagen’s links to iconic camper vans, but more so because its dimensions allow for spacious, comfortable conversions. Despite being bigger, the Crafter also has less of a cult following than the VW Transporter, meaning it is relatively (and sometimes actually) cheaper to buy. Read all our campervan news, advice and tests.
Camper vans generally hold their values better than cars, and VWs moreso than many rivals thanks to their reputation for quality and durability. However, some VWs are definitely more desirable than others, and therefore retain more value over time; most notably this applies to the iconic Transporter and especially older, well-looked after classic ‘Kombi’ models. The Crafter’s residual values aren’t as strong as for these models, but still compare well with the market. Read our full round up of VW Crafter running costs.
Overall, the VW Crafter is reliable when compared to its competitors. Watchouts include DPF filter lights, a cambelt change every 80,000 miles or four years, excessive oil consumption and potential turbo problems, usually highlighted by smoke from the exhaust and a whistling noise from the top of the engine when accelerating. For more, read our VW Crafter running cost insights.
The VW e-Crafter is an all-electric version of the popular large van. However, UK customers should be wary because it is a conversion from a left-hand drive model (so the steering wheel is on the wrong side) and the claimed range is barely over 100 miles (and likely less in the real world) meaning it won’t suit some buyers. However, it is an official VW product, and covered by a manufacturer warranty. Read our full VW e-Crafter review.