New Volkswagen Crafter: first details of updated Ford Transit rival revealed

The updated version of Volkswagen’s largest van will arrive next year, featuring cues from the all-electric ID. Buzz

The Volkswagen Crafter is getting updated in 2024, with the firm’s answer to the Ford Transit and Fiat Ducato – not to mention the base for the Volkswagen Grand California campervan – set to receive a raft of tech upgrades.

The new version of Volkswagen’s large panel van will feature a new free-standing 10.3-inch central screen that can be upgraded to a 12.9-inch item as an option. This will run the latest version of the brand’s infotainment software that we first saw inside the long-wheelbase ID. Buzz unveiled earlier this year. 

Below the touchscreen are the same touch-sensitive sliding controls for the cabin temperature and audio volume, but these will be illuminated unlike in earlier VW’s with this setup. The new Crafter will also be equipped with Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit instrument display, with the driver able to choose from several views and layouts using the multifunction steering wheel – another addition for 2024. 

Volkswagen has freed up some space in automatic models by swapping the traditional handbrake for an electrically operated one, and fitted a new gear selector mounted on the steering column – again, like the one in the all-electric ID. Buzz. As a result, Crafters equipped with the automatic gearbox get compartments for drinks in the centre console.

Safety is getting a sizable boost across the range. Autonomous emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition and a speed limit monitor are all included. Models with a gross vehicle weight of more than 3.5 tonnes will also now come as standard with blind-spot detection to alert the driver of pedestrians, cyclists or scooters when driving in city traffic, as well as ‘moving-off information’ in case there’s anyone in front of the van when you try and pull away. Volkswagen’s semi-autonomous Travel Assist will be available on the Crafter for the first time next year too, combining adaptive cruise control and lane assist into one system to help make longer journeys less stressful. 

The Volkswagen Crafter will continue to be offered in a variety of body styles and sizes, ranging from closed panel vans to single and double-cab chassis models ready for bespoke conversations. There will again be different weight classes (up to 5,500kg gross vehicle weight), various roof heights and wheelbases, overall lengths will stretch up to 7.4 metres. 

The new Crafter will be available in either front-, rear- or all-wheel drive configurations, all powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that will produce either 138bhp, 161bhp or 174bhp. Gearbox options include a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic.  

Volkswagen has said pre-orders for the new Volkswagen Crafter will open in April 2024, but has yet to announce UK pricing or when we might see the first examples arrive here.  We expect the added kit will cause a slight increase in the current Crafter panel van’s starting price of £43,575 (including VAT and OTR).

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