It might seem strange in a market where the VW camper van holds such cachet that the Transporter’s larger sibling, the Crafter, is largely under the radar.

Might the latest-generation model change that?

The all-new Volkswagen Crafter (also badged MAN TGE) made its UK debut at the recent Commercial Vehicle Show (CV Show) at the NEC Birmingham.

And it represents a significant change for the model, replacing the VW LT body and platform that the previous-generation van shared with its rival, the similarly sized Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

True to its badge

Now a totally Volkswagen product, there is more than a hint of Transporter styling in the latest Crafter, which is built in a new production plant in Września, Poland.

It features the very latest in active safety, driver aids and infotainment technology, as well as the usual refinement you’d expect from VW. Indeed, we’d not be surprised if several converters are attracted to this base vehicle, even if they’re non-VW specialists!

Front-wheel drive VW Crafters become available this month, with rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive versions with automatic transmissions following later this year, along with chassis cabs and e-Crafters.

Three roof lines and lengths are going to be available, from 5.9m to 7.39m, paired with Euro 6-compliant engines offering between 101 and 138bhp, plus the top-of-the-range twin-turbo variant.

Converting on the Crafter

And word is that Knaus could be the first volume motorhome producer building and selling a VW Crafter-based conversion.

The ‘Saint and Sinner’ ’van will be in a similar vein to its Fiat Ducato-based conversion bearing the same name – and the same, two-tone red-and-white paintwork.

It will be powered by the 138bhp unit, with eye-catching red-and-black upholstery, a side kitchen with red cabinets opposite a washroom, with a rear bedroom.

Also at the CV Show…

There was more news from VW as, at the other end of its commercial vehicle range at a mere 3.6m, was the first appearance of the e-load UP! Urban delivery, powered by a 60Kw (82hp) motor. It was on show to gauge response.

Renault had its largest CV Show stand to date showcasing the Master 4×4, as well as the much-revised Kangoo Van Z.E. and new Master Z.E. both having an increased usage range to 124 miles per charge.

The star of the Peugeot stand was the launch of the new Expert LWB, boasting a 350mm longer load floor which no doubt will be of interest to converters, along with the new Expert Compact, meaning there are now three wheelbase variants.

Finally, Peugeot’s PSA stablemate Citroën was celebrating the anniversary of the Type H van launch at the Paris Motor Show 70 years ago. This shared stand-space with the new Dispatch.