The 2019 Volkswagen Crafter bears the slogan “more than a white box.” While it is more than just a so-called white box, the fact is that our vehicle was blue like many others that Volkswagen is manufacturing. When we first saw the Crafter 2019, it wasn’t hard to see how it was a worthy contender in the now growing and diverse large van segment. The Crafter competes against titans like the Renault Master, Ford Transit and Mercedes Sprinter. Like the rivals, it is a van based on a single cabin chassis and also available with a dual cabin chassis. Some of these come with a long wheelbase like our test model, while other cheaper models are a mid-wheelbase or MWB as they are called. These MWBs are meant for city driving but might not be able to haul as much as its larger sibling.
What’s Interesting with the Design?
Our Ocean Blue crafter was huge, and the first thing that came to mind was that it could easily serve as a billboard. Its boxy design may appear dated to some people, but Volkswagen has taken steps to make it a bit sexier beyond just a box. Its subtle use of chrome across the grille helps to add that touch of sexiness we mentioned earlier. Buyers also have the option to get the Trendline Styling Package which has more chrome on the inside and the outside, larger halogen headlights, and large 16-inch steel wheels.
We were pretty impressed with the cabin of the 2019 Crafter. The steering wheel is small as you’d expect but its just the right size, and comfortable when it comes to maneuvering the vehicle through tight corners. It is a lot like the one that comes with the base model Golf, minus the premium leather wrapping. The wheel is adjustable so you can position it precisely the way you think it is comfortable.
If you own any of the latest Volkswagen vehicles, then the Crafter will feel all too familiar. We mean that as a compliment as this is a big work vehicle, however, the company has been able to pull off what we amount to a design miracle with the materials and design of the interior.
Our only problem with the interior is the plastics which have a dash harder wearing compared to the Passat or the Golf. Other than that, the controls and overall layout are stylish and smart.
The touchscreen is an 8.0-inch unit with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which can sync directly to your phone and mirror it. Plus, there is audio streaming, MP3 support, CD and radio. Also on board is sat nav as an option if you want it.
As far as storage goes, there are large pockets which can hold pretty much everything from cups to tissue boxes and bags. There are also some very good overhead storage pockets just so that if you run out of ones on the bottom. Oh, and speaking of the bottom, you’ll find storage under the seats.
There is a double bench over on the passenger side of the vehicle along with an armrest for both people who may be seated. The driver’s seat is styled to mimic a captain’s chair. Also, available are two outlets to keep everything charged along with sun visors.
The Volkswagen Crafter 2019, comes with a 75-liter fuel tank. In this segment, manufacturers don’t have to claim a fuel figure or prove it for that matter. However, during our testing, we drove 600km both with and without loads in all types of traffic and registered 10.9 liters.
In our opinion, the 75 liters does fall short and you’ll require refueling before you know it and yet the company does not offer an extended tank option. Though there is nothing stopping buyers from adding an aftermarket fuel tank.
Performance on the Road
The Volkswagen Crafter 2019 is a pretty big vehicle, and so we didn’t expect it to be nimble and zippy. However, the Crafter 2019 does a pretty good job. It handles like a smaller car and is amazingly simple to drive. The only thing newbie drivers need to be aware of is that this is a much longer car, but because it turns so quickly, and accurately it is easy to forget it is a large vehicle. The large 16.2-meter turning circle does take some getting used to, so is urban driving and reversing it into a tight parking spot will take some practice.
The suspension does an outstanding job of keeping the vehicle’s center of balance and smoothing out the ride. The large wheelbase helps keep the whole body easily under control which is why the car feels a lot lighter than it should. The anti-roll bars installed in the rear and front of the vehicle reduces twist.
We did notice a bit of thumping through busy and often rough patches of city streets; we assume it is coming from the rear suspension. Upon closer inspection, it is the leaf spring axle, and according to the company, it is normal for the first few hundred kilometers.
The eight-speed auto transmission pairs perfectly with what many may assume to be an underpowered engine. In practice, the engine is plenty powerful to handle all types of terrain and even pull away with considerable torque. We never felt that there wasn’t enough torque being produced.
If you are looking for a large van, honestly, you’d be hard pressed to find a better option than the 2019 Volkswagen Crafter. The newer model offers many significant improvements over the older one, and you have multiple options in terms of features. Plus, we are told that you can also choose between AWD and RWD models later in 2019. All of which makes it worthy of our recommendation.
Additional DetailsCar Make: Volkswagen
Car Make: Crafter
Make Year: 2019