Digital gauge pack, large tablet touchscreen, electronic parking brake and steering column gear selector help modernize VW’s big panel van
November 3, 2023 at 13:05
Hardworking vans like VW’s Crafter lead a tough life and need to be able to withstand all kinds of abuse inside and out. They also need to be built down to a price that makes them attractive to fleet buyers who don’t really care about in-cab luxuries because they’ll never spend any time behind the wheel.
But a new update to the Crafter that borrows from VW’s latest EVs, including the ID. Buzz minivan, adds some welcome luxury, while also potentially making the jumbo van more useful to the driver. And a happy driver probably makes a more productive driver, meaning even the penny pinching fleet manager ought to be happy.
The big changes focus on the interior, which previously looked very functional and slightly dated. So far we’ve only got renderings to go on, but they suggest the cabin looks far more modern thanks to a new digital instrument pack and large freestanding tablet touchscreen. A 10.3-inch screen is standard, but that can be upgraded to 12.9 inches, both featuring the new style of graphical interface launched with the long-wheelbase ID. Buzz.
advertisement scroll to continue
Related: VW Denies Rumor That ID. Buzz Camper Van Too Heavy For Standard Driving License
The traditional floor-mounted handbrake has been replaced by a switch on the dashboard next to the infotainment system, a move that makes it easier for the driver’s seat to be spun through 180 degrees on camper van conversions. And though manual transmission vans will still get a shifter on the console, autos adopt a steering column gear selector, as on the new Passat, freeing up room for a drinks bottle holder on the console.
Other changes include a switch to USB-C charge ports and the inclusion of a port in the upper windscreen trim so that electronic devices can be mounted without cables dangling down in the driver’s field of view. And Travel Assist, VW’s suit of safety gizmos that includes adaptive cruise control and lane assist is also available on Crafter for the first time, while the heaviest versions come standard with blind-spot detection to help them identify hidden pedestrians, cyclists or scooter riders.
As before, the Crafter can be configured with various different bodies and in multiple sizes. Buyers ordering from next April when sales start get the choice of front-, rear- or all-wheel drive and manual or automatic transmissions, including a new eight-speed auto for RWD models. Engine choices come down to power outputs, but not fuel type. The ID influence doesn’t extend to the engine bay so they’re all still 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesels with outputs range from 138 hp (140 PS) to 175 hp (177 PS).