Volkswagen’s Crafter panel van first update since 2007 includes a sharper design and new turbodiesel engines to allow it to put its bigger payload to better use. Apart from changes to its exterior, the Crafter’s interior has been given a touch up too, although the biggest news is the adoption new four-cylinder common-rail turbodiesel engines to the range. These new 2.0-litre TDI engines with common-rail direct injection are said to have resulted in significant fuel savings and reduction is CO2 emissions, while longer service intervals (to 20 000km) should be useful to busy business owners. BI-TURBO POWERThe 2.0-litre units – with outputs of 80kW and 120kW – replace the previous 2.5-litre TDI and both are mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The 120kW BiTDI, familiar to Amarok and T5 owners, has 400Nm on tap from 1800rpm and consumes 8.9 litres/100km – a fuel saving, VWSA says, of up to 1.5 litres/100km. This engine emits 235g/km of CO2. The 80kW 2.0-litre TDI, compared with the 2.5-litre it replaces, has its maximum torque (300Nm) available over a broader rev range from 1500 to 2250rpm. It is claimed this engine consumes 9.6 litres/100km and discharges 253g/km of CO2. For more efficient driving, both 80- and 120-kW versions have a gear shift indicator to assist drivers in choosing the best gear for the road conditions. Another new “feature” that may be useful is the increased maximum payload - up 3% or 44kg on certain derivatives. Overall, the panel van’s model line-up comprises two weight classes (3.5 and 5.0 tonnes ) and two wheelbases (medium and long). The Crafter is available with three different roof heights and a longer rear overhang. PLENTY OF SPACE: The latest Crafter, depending on the model, has a payload larger by up to 44kg. GADGETS, TOO Visually, the Crafter adopts Volkswagen’s current face along with new chrome badging, while the interior is updated with new materials and a redesigned dashboard with what is said to be a more user-friendly layout. The vehicle electronics can be programmed by the user to customise certain electronic functions. Power steering, electric windows, remote central locking, height-adjustable headrests and a driver partition are standard items.Optional features include dual sliding doors, air conditioning, cruise control, towbar preparation and an MP3-compatible audio system. As for its safety credentials, the Crafter comes standard with ABS, ESP with brake assist, ASR, EDS and automatic activation of the hazard lights under emergency braking. A driver airbag is standard although a passenger ‘bag can be requested. The panel van rides on an independent front suspension and leaf springs at the rear while, depending on the weight class or body style, an anti-roll bar could be added to the front axle. As before, the towing capacity for a braked trailer is up to two ton.PRICES: Crafter 352.0 TDI 80kW Medium Wheelbase - R331 0002.0 BiTDI 120kW Medium Wheelbase - R357 000 Crafter 502.0 TDI 80kW Long Wheelbase - R393 7002.0 TDI 80kW Extra Long Wheelbase - R403 7002.0 BiTDI120kW Long Wheelbase - R423 0002.0 BiTDI 120kW Extra Long Wheelbase - R433 000 The new Crafter comes standard with a two-year warranty while service and maintenance plans are optional on all models.