Van of the Year 2017: Volkswagen Crafter
The Volkswagen Crafter is the 2017 Auto Express Van of the Year, with the Ford Transit and Peugeot Expert commended
New large vans aren’t launched very often, so when a fresh model does arrive it will almost certainly cause some upset. With the latest Volkswagen Crafter, the category has a new leader. As with the newly introduced VW Transporter that won last year’s Best Van award, the Crafter delivers the kind of kit that always makes VW’s products so appealing.
Autonomous braking and Bluetooth are standard, while lane keeping, park assist and trailer assist are all available to make driving this full-size van as easy as possible. VW has also paid special attention to cabin and seat comfort, to ensure that if you’re behind the wheel all day you won’t be enduring a back-breaking slog. What’s more, there’s plenty of space for you and your passengers, as well as a great view out so you can position this full-size van accurately on the road.
The Crafter is a pleasant place in which to spend time, but it’s a workhorse first and foremost, and it has all the storage solutions you could possibly need. There’s a big glovebox, a massive storage area under the passenger seats, spacious overhead bins and deep door pockets. And then, of course, there’s the load volume in the back.
At the moment you can choose from two wheelbase options, and all versions come with a high roof, while the load area is ready to be kitted out with the gear required to do business. Lashing eyes and universal-fit shelving mounts make life easier, plus VW will offer a range of modular installations to help businesses make the most of the Crafter’s carrying ability.
This versatility is combined with a range of 2.0 TDI diesels. These deliver great pulling power, which can cope with a gross train weight (the loaded van plus trailer) of up to six tonnes, as well as return the kind of fuel efficiency that’s on par with vans from a smaller class. It’s clear VW has hit the bull’s eye with the Crafter.
Volkswagen Crafter 2.0 TDI 140 CR35 Trendline MWB (£36,073 incl. VAT)
This mid-spec diesel in medium-wheelbase, high-roof form has more than enough pulling power, along with a potential 38mpg depending on how close you get to the 3.5-tonne GVW. Trendline comes with gear to help you forget you’re in a van, too, with cruise control and an eight-inch infotainment system.
The Transit is still one of the best vans on offer, and a range of late-2016 updates has helped it remain on the podium. New, more efficient 2.0 TDCi diesels have boosted running costs without compromising pulling power, while a new six-speed auto and four-wheel drive have also added to its appeal.
Along with the Citroen Dispatch and Toyota Proace, the latest Expert uses the same platform as Peugeot’s 308 hatch. This makes it one of the most car-like vans to drive. Add in super-efficient engines, two wheelbases, three body lengths and panel, crew or platform-cab configurations, and there’s an Expert to suit most jobs.
Auto Express New Car Awards 2017
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- 1IntroductionWhat are the best new cars to buy in the UK right now? The 2017 Auto Express New Car Awards reveal all...
- 2Car of the Year 2017The Auto Express Car of the Year for 2017 is the Land Rover Discovery
- 3City Car of the Year 2017The Volkswagen up! is the 2017 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo commended
- 4Supermini of the Year 2017The SEAT Ibiza is the 2017 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the Citroen C3 and Skoda Fabia commended
- 5Compact Family Car of the Year 2017The Volkswagen Golf is the 2017 Auto Express Compact Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Octavia and Vauxhall Astra commended
- 6Family Car of the Year 2017The Skoda Superb is the 2017 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Toyota Prius and Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport commended
- 7Estate Car of the Year 2017The Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2017 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series Touring and Skoda Superb Estate commended
- 8MPV of the Year 2017The Citroen Grand Grand C4 Picasso is the 2017 Auto Express MPV of the Year, with the Renault Grand Scenic and SEAT Alhambra commended
- 9Small SUV of the Year 2017The Citroen C4 Cactus is the 2017 Auto Express Small SUV of the Year, with the Dacia Duster and Peugeot 2008 commended
- 10Mid-size SUV of the Year 2017The Peugeot 3008 is the 2017 Auto Express Mid-size SUV of the Year, with the Mazda CX-5 and SEAT Ateca commended