Is the Eurovan worth it?
November 13, 2005 5:55 PM   Subscribe

We are a family of five, two babies and a kid, looking for an alternative to our Volvo wagon which is on its last legs. We like Eurovans. Can anyone give advice or opinions of them? We've heard that the ones pre 1996 are a big problem. Are they worth the money? Alternatively, we we would consider the much cheaper and older Vanagon. Any words of wisdom out there?
posted by gina to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
We have a vanagon and love it, but unless you have both time and money to spend on it, probably best get something else (I don't know about Eurovans)

Vanagons are slow-ish and need tlc to be reliable. If you get one, aim for an '86 or later. Ours is '81 and is aircooled; after '84 watercooled engines were used, and after '86 most of the glitches had been worked out. Email me for more info if you decide to go for a vanagon g
posted by anadem at 6:58 PM on November 13, 2005

You might consider the Dodge Sprinter instead. It's a re-badged Mercedes originally designed for the European market. The Sprinter has a 5-cylinder diesel engine and gets 25 mpg. It strikes me as being in the spirit of the VWs but nicer.
posted by richg at 7:41 PM on November 13, 2005

The Sprinter is nice, but much more van-like than the VW, particularly the new (2003->) one. The good diesel engine does give the sprinter enough power to move around. The pre-1996 eurovans do indeed have a reputation for rust problems. My recommendation would have to be another Volvo wagon which would be safer, more comfortable and better to drive.
posted by lazy-ville at 8:39 PM on November 13, 2005

oh man.... im not sure if its big enough but a friend of mine just picked up an used honda element.

what a great ride.
posted by specialk420 at 9:01 PM on November 13, 2005

I like the Element, but it has rear bucket seats, so it only seats 4.

How about the Mazda 5? It's a new model, so I doubt you can get one used, but they're cheap for a new car. Smaller than a minivan, bigger then a regular wagon, seats up to six. The Jetta wagon is nice, but expensive for a wagon.
posted by GuyZero at 6:31 AM on November 14, 2005

My wife and I bought a used EV-MV (the base model, EuroVan Mini-Van, I guess) almost 2 years ago and have been pretty happy with it. We don't have any kids, so our usage has been more in the road-trip/car-camping vein. As such, I wish we would have gotten a Weekender or Camper model, but they were much more expensive (we paid under $15k with 45k miles... the other models were consistently over $20k). We added front seat captain's chair attachments and a couple of 12v appliances and have quite a nice road-trip machine.

We've put nearly 50k miles on it without any mechanical problems. However, repairs and maintenance can be quite expensive. We replaced brake pads all the way around and it cost a bundle (around $1000, iirc). The 6-cylinder VR6 is quite peppy (one of the zippier cars I've owned), but it's not that great at the gas pump, averaging just under 20 mpg.

We've owned older VW buses in the past and, while I love them, they are a tinkerers machine requiring constant love and attention. The EV just runs and runs.

You'll find that the EV has more than enough room for 3 car-seats, although the 2 rear-facing seats make the main cabin area somewhat cramped. For our purposes, we've kept them stored in the basement most of the time. The rear seat lays down into a flat bed, which makes staying the night in the car very comfortable.

Overall, the EuroVan has treated us well and is a very nice automobile. I think we'll be trading her in for something a little smaller and more fuel-efficent, though, since our driving habits have shifted a bit towards the commuter/city driving side of things. I do see a new VW Bus in our future, though, once they're released (2007?). I think a EuroVan would well suit a family of five. Good luck and let me know if you have any more specific questions (email in profile).
posted by maniactown at 6:44 AM on November 14, 2005

NO NO NO! Volkswagens have really awful quality. I have a Jetta (has 4 windows) and have, for example, replaced SEVEN window lifters (@$240+ EACH). That's only one example. I used to be a big VW fan, until I owned one.
posted by lrivers at 2:10 PM on November 14, 2005

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