Call Us Now On 01942 825 857

Volkswagen Crafter Panel Van Review

Buy a Volkswagen Crafter With Westwood

Volkswagen Crafter Review

The new Volkswagen Crafter will go on sale from April 2017, and come from VW’s new manufacturer plant in Wrzesnia, Poland. Commercial Fleet have tested the brand new VW Crafter which has been completely revamped.

The Crafter had been built by Mercedes Benz at their Dusseldorf factory in Germany, however this was a reciprocal of the Sprinter van, with a different engine and front end. The arrangement with Mercedes has been discontinued and the new VW Crafter will maintain VW heritage.

The new Crafter is similar to the VW Transporter in looks, and is a smart move for VW as the Transporter is globally recognised as being one of the best vans on the market.

For Volkswagen, the Crafter has always fell behind in comparison to the Sprinter van, although the Caddy and the Transporter do relatively well.


VW is currently second in their market position, just behind Ford, and after a new Crafter revamp VW believes it can seriously challenge the dominator in the market. Commercial Fleet managed to test drive the new Crafter in Almeria, Spain.

So, what has the Crafter done differently? Well, there will be a large diversity of formats from the van, with many new technological aspects added which have advanced rapidly over 3-5 years

The full range, when available, will boast panel vans, single and double cabs, dropsides and tippers – gross vehicle weights will range from 3.5 tonnes to 5.5 tonnes. There will be options of three lengths and three roof heights, drivetrains will be front wheel drive, rear wheel drive and 4motion.

Lets take a look under the bonnet…

The engine is an augmented version of VW’s current EU6 2.0 litre turbo-diesel powerplant which will supply on average a 15% better fuel economy that the current EU 6 version. Three power grades will be available with 102ps, 140ps and a bi turbo 177ps. All of these versions are mated to 6 speed gear boxes and feature stop/start as standard specification.

The engine has been slightly tilted at an angle of 8% allowing slightly more room for those in the cab.

What about safety?

ESP and ABS are now mandatory, but VW will be adding lane assist, park assist which will park the vehicle automatically, trailer assist to aid those when reversing a trailer, adaptive cruise control which applies the brakes automatically if a shunt is imminent, light assist, side wind assist and auto post collision braking. They will all have four airbags fitted.

The steering system has been redesigned and is now the best in its class with an electro-mechanical set-up. VW boasts that this is the safest, easiest and most comfortable vehicle in its class to drive.

The Crafter also claims better fuel economy with a class leading drag co-efficiency factor or 0.33Cd, which adds to better fuel economy with the new Crafter.

Meanwhile the steering system has been redesigned and is now best in class with a electro-mechanical set-up which, Volkswagen claims, makes it the safest, easiest and most comfortable vehicle in its class to drive.

The Crafter also claims a class-leading drag co-efficiency factor of 0.33Cd, another reason for the better fuel economy.

VW are are also planning an eCrafter which will be tested further with certain European outlets this year. The batteries for this are under the floor so this will not be affecting the load volume and the eCrafter will have a gross vehicular weight of 4.4 tonnes. In any case, VW bosses have explained there are no current plans for a right hand drive version.

The first front wheel drive versions will arrive in the UK in April, followed by a rear wheel drive towards the end of 2017. Chassis cab versions will arrive too at the end of 2017, followed by passenger and minibuses in 2018.

Staff have already met with major fleet buyers and dealers to discuss which equipment should be standard and which could be added to the options list. Our brief is to make sure that we offer the best number of flexible options for fleet buyers and for them the most important thing was for us to offer a base vehicle, at the lowest possible cost, so they could tailor the vans to mee their exact specifications – Kelly Brown, Volkswagen Crafter Product Manager


Side wind assist and post collision assist will be standard as they will come ready-fitted from the factory but most of the other hi-tech safety systems are likely to be extras.

With VW now making the Crafter themselves, Brown has pointed out the benefits of this by explaining, “We now have the flexibility to cover just about all fleet options whereas before we relied on our partner, who may not have been able to provide some of the more unusual requests. Now we have our own factory, we can now offer things we couldn’t provide before.”

The front-wheel drive models are expected to account for 70% of sales.

Although production of the old Crafter was stopped at the end of the year, Brown is confident that it will not produce a sales gap between this and the new vehicle, despite the fact that fleets wont get their first deliveries until April. “The run-out has been planned with great care so there is no gap. I am confident there won’t be a dip in sales.”


The new Crafter has been given a front face lift keeping with the ‘family face’ which means that all three vans, the Caddy, Crafter and Transporter all look much more similar than previously.

The test drive

The doors feel heavy and well made, shutting with a satisfying and upmarket thunk. The seats are similar to those in the Transporter models, firm and figure hugging and offering great support for longer journeys.

The cab has a large overhead storage space, coffee cup holders on top of the dash and both USB and 12 volt socket take offs which mean SAT NAVS and other devices can be plugged in without having loose wires.

A disappointment was the style of the dashboard, which is a case of function over form. However, all knobs and switches are easy to reach.

The first van was the 95ps version with a medium wheel base. It didn’t appear underpowered apart from the odd steep incline on one Andalusian mountain – this is ideal for round town work and medium journeys.

Second up was the 140ps version still with the medium wheelbase format. The power was strong right up to motorway speeds.

The only version that is likely to need the top bi-turbo 177ps version at 5.5 tonnes and with heavy loads being transported over long distances. The 3.5 tonne van resulted in a sporty performance, even on steep incline hills.


Our minor gripes apart, the Crafter is every bit the quality van to take on the host of superb rivals it faces, such as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Ford Transit. We’ll be watching the sales charts with interest in the coming months. – Commercial Fleet 

If you’re interested in buying a VW Crafter, call us today!

Back To News

Our Partners

Blackhorse Finance
United Rental System
AA Warranty
Flex It 28
Offical Supplier and Official Sponsor of Wigan Athletic

What's Going On at Westwood


Needed a hire van for the day, told them what i wanted and they sorted me out. Friendly, helpful staff and everything was simple. Will be definitely using them again in the near future. 10/10

Jaime Griffiths

From start to finish Chris green made the purchase very easy would recommend this place to anyone cheers Chris

Jimmy Mc

Thank you to Westwood Motor Group who generously provided a van to Blessings in DisguiseInDisguise, while we picked up the Donations. Comfortable van reliable company.

Blessings in Disguise

Picked my new van up today, I’d just like to thank Chris Green for his help with everything. Excellent service as always.

Michael Barron

Thanks to westwood motor group for sorting out a car for my daughter’s prom, it really made her day and her friends. Great car and even greater price. Thanks again

Si Whittaker

Brilliant friendly service, very prompt and efficient. The van was superb and Westwood were cheaper than Enterprise.
Highly recommended *****

Peter A

I have been using Westwood Vehicle Solutions for about 4 year and found their customer service outstanding, all the vehicle are modern and usually to a high spec, over the last 3 months I have been using them on a weekly basis and have phone last minute and they have still manage too get a van for me!
They are the best in they area, and always have some great offers on.
Would I recommend them?  Absolutely

Gary L

Brilliant service, very helpful and friendly.

Lorna Cairns

I hired a car with Westwood. Staff are very helpful. Cheap and good service. Recommend them in the future.

Shaun Weston


I would just like to pass on my sincere thanks to everyone at Westwood for the fantastic service I’ve received today. I’ve been a customer for over 10 years, purchasing various vans along the way.
Today, I received my new car on a fantastic scheme they run. Steph and Laura have been brilliant, keeping me informed of everything along the way and Chris (the boss) continues to offer a fantastic service!!
I hire all my vans through Westwood as and when I require them and I wouldn’t go anywhere else!!
If you want to feel special and feel like a customer, not a number, let the people of Westwood take care of you!!
Many thanks for a wonderful experience!!!
Lee Dalgleish
Lee Dalgleish



Used Vans Wigan

Looking for used vans in Wigan? Your next used van is available now for Westwood Motor Group (Westwood Vans Wigan) number One for used vans Wigan. We sell used Mercedes vans, used Vauxhall vans, used Renault vans and used Ford vans. At Westwood Vans Wigan you will find vans to suit all your requirements...

Vans For Sale Wigan

Used Vans are available for sale now from Westwood Vans Wigan, the first choice for anyone looking for vans for sale in Wigan. You’ll find great deals on used Transit vans, used Caddy or Sprinter Vans, used Vivaro vans, or used Trafic and Master vans for sale in Wigan, so make Westwood Wigan Vans your first choice.

Second Hans Vans For Sale

Westwood Vans is a used van dealer in Wigan which offers the ultimate in choice of second hand vans for sale in Wigan. With a huge variety of over 100 used vans to choose from Westwood Motor Group (Westwood Vans Wigan) is the number one name locally for second hand vans for sale in Wigan.

Van Contract Hire and Business Leasing In Wigan

Westwood Vans specialise in van contract hire and leasing in Wigan. You can choose from a wide range of premier brand vans available on business finance (contract hire or business lease). We can supply any make or model including Ford, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Vauxhall vans as well as finance new or used vans for sale in Wigan.

Van Rental and Car Hire In Wigan

In addition to Van Sales, Westwood specialise in Van Rental and Car Hire in Wigan. Westwood is known locally as the name to trust for the bset deal on van rental and car hire in Wigan. Westwood Motor Group are renowned amongst local business and private customers as the first choice vehicle rental and hire specialists because of the high levels of customer service, attractive rental rates offered to customers and choice of vans and cars available for rental in Wigan.

If you need to know more about Westwood Vans Wigan or to contact us please click or call 01942 825 857 for more details.

Read More/ Less