The Volkswagen brand carries immense weight in South Africa, talk to anyone about the Caravelle, especially the T2 and T3, and they will immediately share fond memories, ranging from road trips through our beautiful country to reliability within the taxi industry to its use as a family car. The sense of what is good for business is good for family has been a cornerstone of the success of the Caravelle. The Crafter is perfectly positioned to build on this brand heritage as a people mover in the taxi industry by offering a vehicle that is safe, comfortable to travel in and cost effective to operate.
Now in its fourth generation, the Crafter ends the trend of joint ventures and is 100% a Volkswagen product with a design language that is familiar from other T-series models within the Volkswagen family like the Transporter, ensuring a modern, fresh-looking face and best in class aerodynamics.
All Volkswagen Crafter models are imported into South Africa as panel vans that were designed from the ground up to be a blank canvas for operators to create a vehicle that exactly matches their specific needs.
Volkswagen Commercial vehicles works closely with approximately 10 local approved conversion partners to deliver a number of build possibilities that cater for the needs of their various customers.
Importing these models as panel vans that are ready to be converted by approved body builders offers a significant cost advantage compared to importing a fully converted mini bus or ambulance for example.
The Crafter is available in a 3.5-ton GVM version and a 5.0-ton GVM version; there is a choice between two wheelbases, 3640mm or 4 490mm, 3 body lengths and three different roof configurations. So no matter the kind of business or how tough the job, the Crafter offers the perfect solution to meet its transport requirements.
The Crafter 35 can be built into any number of bespoke designs including a 16-seater minibus, a luxury bus, ambulance, mortuary van or patient transport vehicle.
The Crafter 50 is perfect for conversions into vehicles like a luxury bus, mobile clinics, dual stretcher ambulances with extra seating, 19-seater busses, mobile offices or patient transport. The Crafter 50 extra long wheelbase lends itself to being converted into a 23-seater midibus, patient transport bus, dual compartment mobile clinic or dual-station mobile office.
The myriad of bespoke options have made the Crafter extremely popular with government who is by far South Africa’s biggest Crafter customer having ordered more than 300 ambulances, patient transporters, mobile clinics and mobile offices in 2019.
Panel vans such as the Crafter offer improved safety features compared to box body vans based on bakkies, which is why they have become the first choice for many Government departments.
Built in safety features include side-wind compensation, Hill Hold Assist, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System and a steering wheel with height and telescoping adjustment, along with front, side and head airbags for the driver and front passenger. Optional LED headlights and cornering lights ensure a clear view of the road ahead at night.
The Crafter provides various well-thought-out preparations for superstructure manufacturers including options such as a second battery and a second air conditioner.
The optimal package dimensions of the Crafter enable maximum utility. For example, the new Crafter cleverly combines extensive cargo capacity with minimal external dimensions.
The chassis features a comfortable MacPherson strut front suspension and five different variants of a rigid rear axle and parabolic springs to ensure that the Crafter remains comfortable and safe to drive even when it is loaded to capacity.
The electro-mechanical steering, which is a first in this segment, ensures excellent handling, optimised manoeuvrability and safe driving properties in all load states.
The ergonomics of the driver’s workplace have been optimised with standard features including electric windows, central locking with remote control and practical storage features for a mobile phone, laptop and tablet.
A 2.0-litre TDI engine provides 103kW and 340Nm and offers an exemplary fuel consumption figure of between 7.3 to 7.6 litres/100km depending on the model.
The Crafter also scores points with its robustness and low maintenance and repair costs, all of which have a positive effect on the total cost of ownership over the vehicle life cycle.
With full maintenance plans of up to 400 000kms on offer and an extensive Volkswagen dealer network owners and drivers can rest assured that downtime is kept to a minimum.
The Volkswagen Commercial team is working on ensuring that the Crafter range becomes as synonymous with South African culture and people moving ability as the much loved Cara-Cara.
The Crafter is currently available in 4×2 configuration, with LCV and MCV derivatives offered with either a standard roof or a high roof. A 4×4 (4MOTION) manual and front-wheel drive automatic model will bolster the range before the end of the year. These derivatives allow access to rural areas where roads are not in a good condition or sometimes non-existent, as well as a reduction in driving style wear and tear respectively.
In Summary, the Crafter features a chassis that has been re-developed from the ground up with electro-mechanical steering, engines that are reliable, more fuel-efficient and optimised for both long trips and urban traffic, well thought-out solutions for loading, practical preparations for superstructure manufacturers, an ergonomic driver’s workplace and an exceptional number of driver assistance systems.