Then there’s the van itself. It may be a bit grey round the whiskers in some departments, but that doesn’t mean to say it isn’t still a worthy fleet contender.
The model on test here – the LT35 medium wheelbase high roof freezer van – is a fine example of the amazing variety of options available from Volkswagen and should continue to give good service for a number of years alongside its newer brother.
It weighs in at £21,439 ex-VAT but that doesn’t include the cost of the gubbins at the back end that will keep a cargo fresh until it arrives at its destination. The Somers unit includes a superfreeze side door with seals, superfreeze door mouldings and seals for the existing rear doors and an overnight standby facility, in addition to a pallet protection kit and non-slip floor. It costs £5,720 ex-VAT.
Testing this vehicle proved somewhat of a problem as I don’t make a habit of transporting frozen goods from A to B. But I certainly had no problem with driving impressions.
The LT proves a chunky, macho performer with bags of grunt and an awesome reputation for rock solid reliability. Our test model didn’t have remote plip locking, which can be a pain in the posterior. And climbing aboard, the dash looked decidedly dated, especially as I had just been to Germany to drive the LT’s replacement a few days earlier. But it’s not all bad news. The LT features a good quality Blaupunkt CD player and ABS brakes are standard. Paid-for goodies included a driver and passenger airbag at £670, electric heated mirrors at £140 and electric windows at £200 (all prices ex-VAT).
The driver’s seat feels like a slab of concrete when you first sit on it but it proves surprisingly supportive over long distances. Firing up the 2.5-litre 109bhp powerplant in the morning results in a mighty roar which eventually settles down into a muted rumble.
Acceleration is rather on the torpid side, but with 280lb-ft of torque on offer, there’s no lack of pulling power even on steep slopes. The floor-mounted gearstick, however, proves a tad notchy – the Crafter has a much slicker dash-mounted shift. The clutch is a heavy affair which gives the van a hefty truck-like feel.
Official fuel consumption is rated at 36.2mpg but in real-life terms a figure in the high 20s is more likely.
HEAVY vans nowadays are tending to have a more car-like feel to them, which I think is a shame. I enjoy the sheer macho grunt of vehicles like the LT. They won’t be around much longer, so get in quick.
Model tested: Volkswagen LT mwb high-roof fridge van
Gross vehicle weight (kg): 3,500
Max power (bhp): 109/3,500
Max torque (lb ft): 280/400-2,400
Price (£ ex-VAT incl fridge unit): 27,159