1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Reviews

1987 Volkswagen Vanagon - Westfalia Camper 2.1L from North America

Model year1987
Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership2007
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 2.1L Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired300000 miles
Previous carFord Escort

Summary:

Best vehicle I've ever owned

Faults:

You can kill these by neglect. If you maintain them, they drive roughly forever.

You have to replace the hoses & belts every few years.

Engines are "water-boxers" - basically an air-cooled engine retrofitted & wrapped in a metal jacket of coolant. You must keep the coolant & oil levels good or you will wreck the engine.

Even if you baby the engine, it will need rebuilding every 80k to 100k miles.

Find a mechanic who specializes in VWs.

General Comments:

Mine is a Westy camper. It has a seat / bed, closet with shelves, pop-top, swiveling captain's seats, table, etc. Used to have a sink / stove / fridge unit. I put a storage area there instead. Auto, AC. Two batteries & inverter.

Very comfortable for camping. Lotsa storage space. Makes a good office space. The windows have such a dark tint that you have complete privacy inside.

Long vehicle = 21 ft. You have to take corners wide. It is a BUS, not a VAN. You sit ahead of the front wheels. Good visibility.

Just plain well designed. 300k miles so far and easily many more to go.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th July, 2007

1987 Volkswagen Vanagon DL 1.8 from North America

Model year1987
Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership1986
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 1.8 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance206187 miles
Previous carHyundai Excel

Summary:

Too bad they don't still make 'em

Faults:

Other than the dashboard water temperature LED flashing for no discernible reason, absolutely nothing in 206187 miles!

General Comments:

I only wish my present "significant other" was as reliable and dependable as my Vanagon. Of course, I probably take better care of my veedub than her.

Proper heat range plugs, phosphate-free coolant, correct lubricants, regular service etc. And strictly adhering to the manufacturer's specs is critical to the longevity of these phenomenal original SUVs. Deviate from them and... badabing!

I would definitely sell this vehicle to my best friend with no guilt... but I won't. It takes me where I want to go, when I want to go every time, albeit slowly. A Porsche it ain't. But, what the hey, at 62 years old I'm not so fast either.

Old hippies never die, they just get another VW bus!

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

Review Date: 3rd August, 2006

31st Mar 2007, 16:44

SUV? Please don't call a VW van a suv, it says van right in the title and I'm sure the people who created the bus's would frown upon it being deemed a suv.

26th Dec 2011, 02:28

It is a "sport utility vehicle" in nearly every aspect.

1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Westphalia from North America

Model year1987
Year of manufacture1987
Engine and transmission Don't Know
Performance marks 0 / 10
Reliability marks 0 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
0.0 / 10

Summary:

Terrible - absolutely the worst vehicle ever!!!

Faults:

This was by far the worst vehicle I have ever owned.

Electronics failed, engine blew, head warped, linkage for transmission was flaky, ignition system was pathetic, touching the wire harness under the dash would kill the engine and would not start. There were numerous electrical fires, The battery is under the seat. What a POS.

General Comments:

Though the space is well set up inside the car. This is by far the worst vehicle I have ever owned. None of the drive-train or electrical / mechanical systems were reliable. This was a very badly engineered vehicle.

Don't touch it with a 10 foot pole!

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

Review Date: 5th June, 2006

6th Jun 2006, 14:27

You should go buy yourself a Sienna Van and quit ragging on Volkswagen.

They were actually well engineered for their time.

What's the big deal of the battery being under the seat?

It was in the 20 million plus Beetles too.

I think that if you actually liked the vehicle you wouldn't have written a review. It seems that you like to complain & use crude language along the way.

Try a positive approach!

1987 Volkswagen Vanagon AWD from North America

Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership1987
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission Manual
Performance marks 0 / 10
Reliability marks 1 / 10
Comfort marks 1 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
1.3 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance86000 miles
Previous carVolkswagen Vanagon

Summary:

Worst vehicle I ever owned. If you value your life, don't buy one

Faults:

Blown heads 3 times. EXPENSIVE to fix.

Cooling system problems.

You have to literally burp the cooling system if you open it up; requires positioning vehicle at very steep angle.

General Comments:

This is AWD water cooled model.

This thing is DANGEROUS.

Lousy brakes.

Totally inadequate power.

Wind sensitive; SCARY in crosswind.

Unreliable.

Wouldn't shift easily until warmed up.

Wouldn't idle properly.

Parts hard to get, always expensive.

Accelerator and trans shifter mushy.

Heater and defroster inadequate.

Harsh ride.

AWD makes scary grinding noises in tight turn.

I HATED this thing and was glad to finally get rid of it.

Hard to work on, especially cooling system.

Ignition system vulnerable to rain.

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

Review Date: 13th March, 2006

13th Mar 2006, 12:15

It's funny to read your review because there was a guy in San Francisco who owned a EuroVan (the replacement for the Vanagon).

Anyway, he hated his vehicle so much he put signs all over it saying how much he hated it, it was his worst mistake, etc. and left it parked at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge in a tourist area for everyone to see. It was there for years, even though he had to pay for parking every time.

Then there was a court case in which a judge ruled a Corrado owner could get damages from VW for psychological damage as his car was so unreliable.

Sounds like virtually ever VW, regardless of type, is a crapshoot.

Average review marks: 4.9 / 10, based on 7 reviews