In the Volkswagen universe, vans don't get larger than the Crafter and a refreshed model is in development. Caught on camera by our spy photographers for the first time, we're treated to an early preview of the new Crafter but not in the manner you'd expect.
Ordinarily, we catch exterior-only images of new prototypes but this time, attention falls first to the interior. This test mule confirms changes are definitely coming to Volkswagen's large van, as the dash is well concealed with heavy covers. Fortunately, our photographer caught the Crafter at rest and the driver left the all-new digital driver display uncovered. Replacing the current stack of analog dials, the screen sits behind a new steering wheel and next to a larger center display mounted floating style.
Gallery: Volkswagen Crafter Interior And Exterior Spy Photos
The new screens require a significant reworking of the dash. An electronic parking brake is visible to the left of the center screen where a vent once existed, and it appears some rearranging is also taking place in the cluster of knobs and buttons below the screen. However, it appears the Crafter will at least retain its basic layout with the shift stalk still low on the dash. And since we are dealing with a test mule, it's certainly possible things could change before production arrives.
As for the outside, things should definitely change at least a little bit from what we see here. That's because this is basically the current Crafter folks can buy in numerous markets around the world. Depending on your location it might be the VW Grand California or MAN GTE (or forbidden fruit as we call it in North America), but our spy sources believe small changes will come to the front and rear. For now, hiding interior and tech upgrades in a present-day body is a clever disguise. The changes won't be too dramatic though, as a next-generation Crafter could arrive in the next few years, possibly as early as 2026.
That said, it's possible we're looking at a very early next-gen rig right now. The current model went on sale for the 2017 model year, and vans of this nature typically have a longer production run versus more mainstream vehicles. It all depends on the timing – if a next-gen model arrives in 2026 as our sources suggest, there isn't much room to slip a facelift in there. If that debut doesn't happen until later in the decade, seeing a facelifted model debut in 2024 certainly makes sense.