With over 354,000 units from the current generation sold by the end of last year, the Volkswagen Crafter has become one of the most popular products in its segment. Whether it serves as a trusty panel van, versatile dropside, sturdy chassis, luxurious Grand California camper van, or a platform for second-stage manufacturers, the model has proved its mettle. Even though it is not sold in the United States, we thought it was important enough to talk about its mid-cycle refresh, released by the brand’s commercial vehicle division.
If you’ve ever seen a Crafter, you can easily tell there are basically no changes on the outside. As seen in spy photos from September this year, the big improvements are inside the cabin where the Crafter receives a completely new infotainment system with either a 10.3- or 12.9-inch screen on the dashboard. If the graphics look familiar to you, that’s because the system is based on the latest modular infotainment matrix (MIB) as seen in the ID. Buzz long wheelbase.
The digitalization continues with a new digital instrument cluster, which is now standard equipment. The driver can choose from various views, and the display offers a range of menus and information displays, from navigation and phone controls to media libraries. This can all be managed through the new multifunction steering wheel.
Another huge change comes in the form of a new electric parking brake, which replaces the traditional handbrake of the pre-facelift model. The gear lever is now located on the steering wheel column just like on the ID. Buzz, saveing additional space in the center console. Vehicles equipped with a manual transmission retain the older layout, though. A USB-C charging port in the upper windscreen trim is another addition, allowing the use of custom devices without obstructing the driver’s field of vision.
The Crafter continues to offer a multitude of body types, from panel vans to dropsides, chassis, box bodies, and tippers, catering to a wide range of customer needs. The lineup includes front-wheel, rear-wheel, and all-wheel drive options, paired with manual and automatic transmissions. Power comes from four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engines delivering 140 horsepower, 163 hp, and 177 hp.
Volkswagen will begin accepting orders for the new Crafter in April next year for the European markets. In the next months, markets such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and South America will follow.