Volkswagen Crafter to rival Ford's Transit range

George Barrow
August 5, 2016

The Volkswagen Crafter will be a direct rival to the Ford Transit’s range when it is launched next year, after the German manufacturer revealed the specification for its new in-house-built van.

Front- and rear-wheel-drive versions will now be available as well as Volkswagen 4Motion all-wheel-drive variants. 

Launched with three vehicle lengths and three heights, with single- and double-chassis cabs, there will also be bodied dropside and tipper models direct from the factory. There will also be Luton and caged tipper vehicles through the newly introduced Converter Recognition programme. 

Power will come from a 2-litre TDI engine that has been developed specifically for the Crafter with power ratings of 101hp, 121hp, 138hp from a single turbocharged unit, and 175hp from a bi-turbo engine. Manual transmissions will be standard, but an 8-speed torque converter automatic gearbox will also be added to the range. 

The new model has been developed with the help of a number of large fleets, including TNT, the RAC and National Grid, with specific attention paid to the courier and logistics sectors, servicing and mobile workshop fleets and leasing companies. Equipment levels in the Crafter will be decided nearer to launch on a local market basis, but new technology will include blindspot detection, sidewind assist, sign assist, post-collision braking and emergency calling. There will also be the option of adaptive cruise control, LED headlights with cornering and automatic main beam functions, and a Rear Traffic Alert system to reduce the chance of an accident while reversing.


Volkswagen said the introduction of a front-wheel-drive (FWD) Crafter van, something not previously available on outgoing Mercedes-Benz-built Crafters, will allow them to approach new customers and improve on the model’s current 7.4% market share. FWD models will occupy a 3-tonne to 4-tonne GVW range, while rear-wheel-drive (RWD) vans will start at 3.5-tonne GVW and reach up to 5.5-tonnes. Towing capacity has increased by 500kg to 3.5 tonnes.


Orders for the FWD vans will start in November this year, with deliveries expected during Q1 2017. Additional models will then be added to the range throughout 2017 with the RWD and automatic versions available by the end of the year.

About the Author


George Barrow

George Barrow has been writing about nearly anything with wheels for the past 15 years, starting off his career in the car industry and ending up in commercial vehicles via a brief detour to cover technology, science and start-ups. Often found behind the wheel of a new product, his real interest lies in the business side of the automotive industry. George is the UK jury member of the International Van of the Year and International Pick-Up Award.

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