Debuting at the ongoing 2017 Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) is the Volkswagen Crafter van. She’s huge for a so-called van, coming in the form of Europe’s ubiquitous do-all white-vans. But this commercial vehicle is meant for tailoring into an utterly private conveyance, her hugeness leveraged into mobile real estate that Volkswagen Philippines is willing to decorate and landscape to your particular specs.
Remember the old VW Kombi from the 1970’s and 80’s? At some point offered as a minibus it quickly became a people box on wheels, fitted out as anything and everything you could live with to bring around your kinder and kit for all sorts of adventure. On some mods the roof even accordions up so you could almost stand upright in Kombis turned into cozy campers. It started the trend that had folks modifying big Detroit-made vans into rolling man caves, complete with crushed felt trim and other funky accoutrements.
But all of these, from the bantam-sized Kombi to the wide-bodied American makes, were all snug—the accommodations fit just for the hip, them Age of Aquarius roamers, and for single, unencumbered hot-rodders. The Crafter breaks that mold, leastwise enlarges it, raising the roof, literally, over a body that’s half again as big. Under the hood on the semi-forward one-box form is a powertrain that would get a 10-4 nod from any squinty trucker, with the modern safety and driving assist features that a soccer Mom would take for granted on anything sport-utility.
The Crafter on display at MIAS is a sold unit, with bespoke appointments specified by its owner in waiting. As described in Volkswagen’s literature: “The accessorized Crafter L on display is installed with 6 high-back Captain Seats, a 32” Samsung TV, touch-screen multimedia radio with navigation, window framing with van blinds, accent LED lights, and side step board.”
But, think about it, she’s done up as an unobtrusive transport, really. From living room or office desk, you step into the Crafter and pick up where you left off. Some time later you alight at a new place to get done what needs doing. It’s like you moved from one room to another, and then another … subtle luxury that comes at a base price of P4.0M, signing bonus for a limo-grade driver, not included.