1982 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia 2.0L gasoline from North America


The Vanagon Westfalia, if not for its weak engine and gas guzzling, is the best van ever made.


My interior dashboard lights failed due to electrical problems other than the bulbs.

My clutch cable broke only 17000 miles later.

Fuel line leaked underneath the van which had to be replaced.

Seats have started to wear.

General Comments:

This is the most versatile machine on four wheels ever made- period. The most fun vehicle I have ever owned, and only wish that Volkswagen would not have discontinued the Vanagon after 1991, but rather improved on its engine performance and fuel economy.

Great steering radius and visibility, and unparalleled in ergonomics/space, road trip and camping comfort. Room for as many friends as you want, and no other van, truck, or luxury SUV ever made can come close to matching the amenities and uses that the 1980-1991 Vanagon Westfalias offer.

However, it is woefully underpowered- Going up any hill becomes a stressful experience. I would not want to risk going up the "Grapevine" (Interstate 5 in between Bakersfield to L.A.) or to Las Vegas (Interstate 15) from L.A. in this van.

The fuel economy is totally horrendous (91 octane only, averages approximately 9 miles per gallon city/11 miles per gallon highway best case scenario). I've met several other Westfalia owners and they have reported similar results. However, one diesel engine Westfalia owner reported averaging close to 25 miles per gallon. This makes me want to swap engines...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 20th July, 2003

5th Nov 2003, 21:47

I totally agree, the Westfalia camper truly is a swiss army knife on wheels and I love it. But think again about the "woefully underpowered" bit before you consider the standard 48-hp diesel engine! On some hills on I-80 in California when loaded with gear I've had to downshift my '82 diesel Westy into SECOND to make it all the way up, and I'm down to 30mph when I hit the top, with trucks going 75mph roaring up behind me. Very stressful!!! That's the trade-off; mine gets around 27mpg empty, or 22mpg loaded with all my stuff. But the diesel engine is stressed beyond its ability during normal highway driving, which in my case means I need a new engine at 104k. I absolutely love everything else about the camper though, so I plan to cough up the dough to install a newer VW turbodiesel or TDI engine.