The Crafter freezer van is the Volkswagen brand’s attempt to step out of the shadow of the Mercedes Sprinter freezer van, which it has managed spectacularly. It is an excellent fit for most refrigerated van businesses.
Volkswagen Crafter engines are designed to complement the van’s large payload. 2.0 TDI commercial diesel engines provide power outputs of 100hp, 120hp, 138hp and 174hp. The two larger engines come in rear-wheel drive and four motion all-wheel drive variants, while front-wheel drive is standard for all vans. Engines are compliant with Euro 6 regulations, with a stop-stop system fitted on all models, improving the van’s fuel economy. All vans are equipped with six-speed manual gear boxes, with an optional eight-speed torque converter auto gearbox for the 138hp and 174hp engines (if you’re willing to pay more).
The Crafter provides a variety of silhouettes to choose from, as well as three lengths and three heights. The Medium wheelbase has the shortest length at 3,640mm and a vehicle length of 5,986mm. The long wheelbase offers a length of 4,490mm with a vehicle length of 6,836mm, while the long plus wheelbase shares the same length as the long wheelbase, but with a vehicle length of 7,391mm, including the overhang.
The normal roof Crafter has a vehicle height of 2,355mm, with 2,590mm for the high roof and 2,798mm for the super high roof. The width of the van is 1,832mm on all models, with a full-height steel bulkhead separating the cab from the load area.
The loading volume for the Volkswagen Crafter ranges from a minimum of 9.9 cubic metres on the medium wheelbase to 18.4 cubic metres on the long plus wheelbase, making it one of the largest of its class. The load compartment can reach up to 2,196mm in height, with a 100mm lower load sill available for the front wheel drive. The gross weight ranges from 3 to 4 tonnes on the front wheel drive, 3.5 to 5.5 tonnes for the rear wheel drive, and up to 4 tonnes for the all-wheel drive. The rear doors can open up to a wide 270°, which is handy for the easy loading of larger frozen cargo.
It can be particularly difficult to suffer an accident in a fully kitted Volkswagen Crafter. This is due to a host of safety and driver assistance features that can be installed to prevent such incidents. Standard safety features on the Crafter include ABS, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, ESP stability control and side wind assist. There are also four airbags located around the cabin. Optional features include Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, Front Assist emergency braking, parking assist, Rear Traffic Alert and side protection sensors. Many of the driver assist features are part of the Crafter’s newly developed electromechanical steering system, which makes driving a more enjoyable experience. However, drivers who are new to the Crafter may take some time to get used to a few of the driver assist features.
Engine noise on the Crafter is fairly low, while the van handles well on the road, regardless of any weight in the load compartment.
The Cabin area contains a comfortable ergonomic driver’s seat and two passenger seats, with the middle one doubling as fold-down desk. A touchscreen infotainment system contains the minor controls, alongside a 12-volt power supply and USB port. Storage spaces are plentiful, comprising a large glove box and overhead shelves. If your frozen cargo requires a larger escort, opt for the Double Cab, which can seat up to four people on the back bench.
A remote central locking system is standard on all Crafter vans. The cab can be locked whilst the load area is kept open. The load area itself can be locked from the dashboard.
The Volkswagen Crafter has won a number of awards, which is no surprise at all. With its three-year-unlimited mileage warranty, this is one of the best van options for transporting your frozen products.