KEA Crafter

By: Steve Vermeulen

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Up till now, if you wanted to own a KEA camper, you had to choose from one of the many ex-rental options. Not anymore. Here is the brand’s first model specific to the private buyer.

KEA Crafter
KEA Crafter
  • Car-like handling
  • Upgraded specification gives premium feel
  • Good amount of space for a compact model
  • Impressive price to specification ratio
  • Good fuel economy

KEA is positioned better than most to tap into the emerging "weekend warrior" market with its first model to focus specifically on the private market, the KEA Crafter.

The interior

The more upmarket spec shares a lot with its rental counterparts: the same Scandinavian-style veneer cabinetry, brushed aluminium interior accents and the rear-bed layout – a refreshing confidence in the design and build quality that has been engineered for durability and convenience for thousands of rental customers annually.

But the Crafter is not a current base vehicle used in the company’s rental fleet. The modernistic face and Germanic build quality, along with the slick semi-automatic transmission, are distinguishing factors you don’t mind paying for. There is also a more upmarket roof trimming, and the rental grade pull curtains are replaced with retractable blinds and insect screens.

With the Crafter’s generous 1780mm internal width, 1940mm internal height and KEA’s space optimising design, the layout doesn’t feel cramped and two people can manoeuvre around fairly freely. During day its configuration means there’s plenty of room to lie down across the L-shaped rear seat and an additional single seat on the opposing side of the removable table. Night mode provides a king-size bed, and the interior is warmed with a gas central heating system. It’s all finished in attractive cloth upholstery and accented with a slate grey bench top, but there’s plenty of scope for a unique specification, says KEA’s sales manager, Steve Lane.

"This is an area we’re really excited about; obviously that degree of personalisation isn’t a possibility for the rental fleet, but with our new facilities will come new opportunities for our customers to offer input on the style and function of the product."

The camper will incorporate new LED lighting technology, a higher specification of surround sound audio, and a 15-inch television/DVD. All run from a dedicated house battery with solar panel and dual 12-volt/240-volt smart charge system.

Shared with KEA’s rental units is the functional bathroom cubicle, housing the Thetford loo, shower and hand basin. Again, it’s surprisingly spacious.

The Crafter is fitted with a class-leading 1300mm sliding door aperture, so there’s a cool indoor/outdoor feel and plenty of light. The pressurised hot water capacity is 14 litres with both fresh and waste tanks holding 100 litres a piece; adequate for a two berther, and it keeps the weight down.

The drive impression

The Volkswagen performs well on the road, with car-like handling.

There’s a forgivable amount of diesel knock at idle, but once the rpm lifts the 2.5-litre engine smoothes out and provides a solid surge of torque. The six-speed electronically controlled manual gearbox – "Shiftmatic" – assists the engine in its duties by keeping the torque band ever present; it also returns better fuel economy than what’s available with a conventional auto. And the average fuel consumption is around the 10.0 litres per 100km.

This KEA Crafter is equipped with an awesome Fiamma bike rack as standard, that still enables you to easily access the under floor stowage area via the barn-style rear doors, and a Fiamma awning.

Read in-depth RV reviews in the latest issue of Motorhomes, Caravans & Destinations magazine, on sale now.

See KEA vehicles for sale.


Price $119,000
Base vehicle 2010 Volkswagen Crafter 35 MWB 100
Engine 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Power 100kW @ 3500 rpm
Torque 300Nm @ 2000 rpm
Transmission Six-speed automated manual
Power supply 240-volt / 12-volt smart charger. Dedicated house battery and solar.
Fridge/Freezer 90-litre
Cooker Two-burner gas hob
Heating Gas central heating
Toilet Thetford cassette
Fresh water 100-litre
Waste water 100-litre


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