That appears to be a van.
are right. It’s a VW Crafter, and it’s rather big. In fact, since we’re not
counting subsidiaries such as MAN and Scania, it’s actually the biggest vehicle
to wear a VW badge. Get it in its biggest guise, with the longest wheelbase and
you have a vehicle the best part of a metre longer than a Phantom Extended
Wheelbase with the ability to cart 15,000 litres of stock. If you could fill it
with water you could call it a swimming pool.
So what’s it like to
a bit wobbly. All that open space, sheltered by a slender metal lattice does
tend to creak and heave around a bit. And the rear springs bounce up and down
and hop about a little unnervingly, until you put a load in it, at which point
it settles down and gets on with the job in hand. But what you chiefly notice
and what dominates your impression of life in this van is the view ahead. It’s
like sitting with your nose on an IMAX screen. The Crafter, more than any other
van I’ve driven, has a windscreen of such towering height that your peripheral
vision is almost always engaged. This makes your eyes want to flit about the
place in the way same way they do when trying to track a fly.
Was there a fly in there?
might have been. The Crafter’s cabin has a lot of altitude so there could have
been one in the upper layers of the stratosphere. Or hidden in one of the cubby
holes. There are more of those than there are copies printed of the Sun each
day. Come to think if it, you might well get a tabloid’s entire daily print run
in the load bay, too. Plus one copy jammed into the base of the windscreen,
Any toys to play with?
no, not really. I expect you can tick a few boxes, but this one didn’t give the
impression of anything other than being a swathe of grey, moulded plastic that
stretched across the dash as endlessly as a desert, punctuated occasionally by
small oases of interest such as the heating and stereo controls, and the cuts
and indentations for can/tabloid/Yorkie storage. Tough mouldings, obviously,
this being a VW.
Anything else you want to
get off your chest?
yes, the chief reason for telling you about the Crafter in the first place.
Telling you about all VW vans, really. Here’s a fascinating fact: VW sells more
vans than the entire production runs of SEAT and Porsche combined.
Quite a feat.
it? 550,370 easily outstrips Porsche (151,999) and SEAT (321,000) put together
and explain why every other vehicle on the motorway early in the mornings seems
to be a white van of some description. One more nice stat: between all the vans
– Caddy Maxi, Caravelle, Crafter – and including everything from tippers to
minibuses, there are 957 varieties of VW van. Something there for everyone, surely.
My pick would be the
California camper van.
quite. I have a theory on the California (picture
number 7, above). And this is not that it’s too expensive for what it is
(£44,615) and can only seat four people. No, I have something else I wish to
share with you. Take a moment and think about what you’d put in your dream
I’m going to agonise for
hours on that one. What’s your point?
what’s the first car you put in? The banker, right? The one car that will do it
all, leaving the other four slots free for you to be as hedonistic as you like.
Using this philosophy, the first car on my fantasy list was always the Land
Rover Discovery. It would take care of the family/towing/off-road/seven-seat/life
duties, leaving me to open the selfishness taps. But then I thought about it
again and now I think a California would be the first car into my dream garage.
I think I’d trade the Disco’s off-road and MPV abilities for the California’s
overnighting potential. That’s all.
You’ve just opened a can
right, and now I’m going to open it to the floor. What would be the first car
you’d put in your five car garage? I know, weird place to end, having started
by talking about vans, but one that’s more likely to engage those who have
bothered reading this far…