I just had to take a few pictures of this perfect line-up when I walked by. From left to right, or from small to big: a Volkswagen Caddy (2010-2015 model), a 2011 Volkswagen Transporter, a 2008 Ford Transit, a 2006 Volkswagen Crafter, and another 2006 Crafter. Their bodyguard is a 2010 Scania R560 Topline 6×2 tractor unit.
The Crafter duo is powered by a 5-cylinder 2.5 liter TDI engine, the other vans are equipped with a smaller 4-cylinder diesel power unit.
From 1996 to 2016 Volkswagen’s largest van model was almost identical to the contemporary Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, although Volkswagen used their own 2.5 liter diesel engines. The model name Crafter was introduced in 2006, prior to that year it was called the LT. Both the LT and the Crafter were also offered as a chassis-cab (that’s a rolling truck chassis with a complete cab).
Near the end of 2016 Volkswagen introduced their new Crafter generation, also offered as MAN TGE. This latest model was developed without cooperation with Mercedes-Benz.
From the biggest to the smallest in the row. The Volkswagen Caddy was, and still is, also offered with a longer wheelbase and as an MPV. Combine the longer wheelbase with the MPV and you get the 7-seater in the middle, a true minivan.
Anyone care for a camper van conversion?
Wait, there’s another Caddy, in the background. Nice rims too! The towering red and yellow Viking is armed with a 560 hp 15.6 liter V8 Fuel of Satan hammer, a similar 6×2 tractor unit can be found here.
As an aside, van sharing among automakers has become common practice. Like the Renault Trafic aka Opel~Vauxhall Vivaro aka Fiat Talento aka Nissan NV300. Or the Fiat Ducato aka Peugeot Boxer aka Citroën Jumper aka Ram ProMaster. Some examples of vans that aren’t shared with others are the Volkswagen Caddy and Transporter, the Ford Transit (all of them), the Mercedes-Benz Vito (Metris) and -since late 2016- the Sprinter.
All in all, I don’t think I ever get a better opportunity to visualize the difference between today’s panel van segments…