Volkswagen Crafter review

VW Crafter 35 2.0-litre TDI

Driving the new Crafter van from VW is easy. The systems and engineering built into this bigger van in the VW range make this commercial vehicle almost car-like, except of course the sheer length which is something which you have to get used to.

The cabin is comfortable and has a host of storage bins and features to make the life of the crew as easy as possible which includes as standard electric windows, central locking with wireless remote control and practical and ergonomically designed storage features for a mobile phone, laptop and tablet, folding rule and working gloves.

The seats ate really comfortable, the steering two way adjustable, and the visibility good. The steering wheel and instruments remind one of an earlier generation Golf. There is a rear camera available as an extra.

Acceleration is surprisingly nippy for a big van but the top speed is governed at around 105 km/h. The roofline is quite high so you have to learn to watch the height of where you want to go. The length means you have to plan your parking and bear in mind how you ‘cut’ your corners.

As a panel van and Kombi, the new Crafter is available in various lengths (5986 mm, 6836 mm or, for the panel van, 7391 mm as well) and heights (2355 mm, 2625 mm or, for the panel van, 2637 mm as well).

Customers have a choice between front and rear wheel drive. The Crafter has 103 kW of power. The 4-cylinder 2 litreTDI engine has a torque of 340 Nm and fuel consumption of between 7.3 to 7.6 litres/100km depending on the model according to VW.

Safety features include a side-wind compensation system, Hill Hold Assist and Automatic Post-Collision Braking

System and a steering wheel with height and telescoping adjustment.

Available as an option are a second compressor for refrigeration or fresh produce applications, four variants of a second battery and a second air conditioner.

Costs for the range start with the Crafter 35 (MCV) Panel Van at R509 700.
The long wheel base 50 LWB Panel Van costs R625 800.
The top of the range 50 LWB with overhang Panel Van is R635 800.

The new Crafter comes standard with a 2 year unlimited kilometre Manufacturer Warranty, 5 year or 120 000km Genuine Automotion Service Plan and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. The service interval is 20 000km.

The competition includes Iveco Daily, Mercedes Benz Sprinter, Peugeot Boxer and Fiat Ducato.

VW Crafter

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Datsun GO+ Panel Van review

The new Datsun 1400 bakkie has arrived

I had a little powder blue Nissan 1400 bakkie with a white canopy when I started working. It was a great little vehicle, except on the long road to… anywhere. The cabin was a little small for real travelling comfort, but around town and as a runabout it was without par.

The Datsun 1200 pickup (120Y) was launched in June 1971 at just R1295. There were no options, except colour. The Datsun 1200 pickup model B120 which had 12”wheels became the Datsun 1400 in 1980. It was again updated and facelifted as the Nissan 1400 (B140) in 1982 and was built till November 2007. Over 285 000 were built at Rosslyn near Pretoria over the years and quite a few hundred were exported each year.

In 2007 at the end of its life it cost R74 990 and produced 47kw and 97 Nm to achieve a top speed of 146 km/h.

In October this year Nissan quietly launched the Datsun GO+ Panel Van, the spiritual successor to the 1400 bakkie.

The GO+ is based on a 7 seater multi-purpose vehicle, but is a real little panel van with a proper loadbay. Like the bakkie of old, it carries just over half a ton.

Datsun Go+ van

Datsun Go+ van

The GO+ has a modern 1.1 litre 3-cylinder engine which pushes out 50kW 105 Nm letting you get to 160 km/h eventually, on a longish downhill. Like the original 1400 bakkie it does not have ABS or EBD, which I think is a pity.

If you love dogs this little van is perfect. The two rear windows can open and the back can just be wiped clean. The rear windows all have dark security film.

Like its ancestor, the Go is a simple vehicle and simple to drive. There is nothing fancy, but what it has got works well. The aircon cools the whole van down in no time. The engine is a tad noisy but is very willing in town conditions. The breaks are fine but beware: there is no ABS.

datsun-go-dashThe quality, fit and finish of the interior is somewhat industrial but is acceptable.
It comes with a docking station or unit into which you can plug a GPS, phone or iPod. It has a USB port for charging.
The rear door has a remote lock. The side doors work exactly like the car’s.
I think this little panel van is going to do very well, especially considering the price and low operating costs.

The biggest thing that keeps entrepreneurs awake at night is often cash flow. Making sure that money coming in exceeds money going out is one of the biggest challenges facing any small business. If your business involves carrying goods, chances are that payments, maintenance and running costs come a close second to worries about cash flow.

Des Fenner, General Manager of Datsun South Africa, suggests that taking time to draw up a schedule before paying out hard-earned cash for a delivery vehicle pays major dividends. It’s all about checking what’s available and then listing the pros and cons, he says.

Datsun Go+ Panelvan

Datsun Go+ Panelvan

With this new mini panel van from Datsun easy access to loads is offered through the two rear doors on both sides, and the high opening rear hatch, which will make quick deliveries and pick-ups easy. A solid partition separates the cargo area from the driving compartment. The divider is topped with a sturdy mesh grill, that ensures loads stay where required, and provides the driver with the ability to quickly visually check loads.

The GO+ van has all the creature comforts of the car on which it is based. Electric front windows, air conditioner, neat little trip and consumption indicator, bottle holders and the like are standard but not a radio.

With a total loading capacity of 542 kg and a loading area of 3.4m³ it is ideal for small businesses that need to deliver and/ or collect small to medium sized parcels/ goods. The Datsun GO+ Panel Van has the biggest cargo space and cargo carrying capacity of 542kgs – about 267kgs more than its closest priced competitor, in the upper A-segment/ lower B-segment.

The vehicle’s strongest selling point, however, is the Datsun GO+ Panel Van’s total cost of ownership. At an extremely appealing selling price, the cost per kilometre will surely assist any start-up and business-conscious entrepreneur.

Datsun claims the following consumption figures:
• Cost per kilometre R1.87 prices as of 01/10/2016 FLEETCUBE
• Claim back 14% VAT if a registered business owner
• An economical 1.2 litre petrol engine that delivers 50kW at 5 000 rpm Torque 104 Nm at 4 000 rpm
• Fuel consumption of 5.2 litres per 100km in an urban/country cycle

I got fuel consumption figures of around 6.5 litres / 100km, but bear in mind the car was brand new, so the figure should improve.

datsun-go-van-rear
The selling price is R 149 900 (incl. VAT)
The service plan includes replacement of lock nuts, average labour rate, engine oil and some consumables, with the following options available:
• 3 year/ 90 000km at R14 765 (incl. VAT)
• 5 year/ 90 000km at R15 299 (incl. VAT)
• 7 year/ 120 000km at R20 449 (incl. VAT)
A maintenance plan is also available with the following options:
• 3 year/ 90 000km at R28 904 (incl. VAT)
• 5 year/ 90 000km at R29 979 (incl. VAT)
• 7 year/ 120 000km at R46 033 (incl. VAT)
I recommend taking out the 5 year maintenance plan.
Datsun provides a 3 year/100 000km warranty.
The competition includes Toyota Avanza, Honda Mobilio and Suzuki Ertiga.