/ Are VW Campers worth the money?

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bobbyf on 08 Feb 2013
This has probably come up before. I've been looking at Campervans for a while and have noticed the difference in price between a VW Camper and an equivilent camper from a different manufacturer. I know the quality of conversions can make a difference but am finding it hard to see why i need to spend 1000's more on an older, higher mileage VW. So, can anyone tell me why they are worth the extra cash? Or not??
Rob Kennard - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf: I think youve answered your own question - they dont depreciate as much as other vehicles. Not so good if you want a cheap camper and going to run it into the ground, but if you want to upgrade at a later date you've more chance recouping your money
Rob
Cuthbert on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf:

No. If you want to be down with the other people with the same van then yes and if you are buying it to then sell it later then yes.

But I bought my campervan to be a campervan and it's way better than any T5 or T4 in that you can stand up, it cost less and simply put, it's better.

It's a 2008 Renault Trafic High roof LWB.
bobbyf on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:That's useful to know actually- I've narrowed my search down to a Renault Trafic and a T5.
Cuthbert on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf:

It depends what you want it for. Standing up is one of the coolest things in my life. Being cramped and unable to stand up is not cool.

I have experience with a SWB Vivaro, low roof, (same as trafic) and I wouldn't get one myself unless I wanted a day van.

I am writing this from my campervan right now as I am doing a ski course at Aonach Mr. Being cramped in an expensive van which you can't stand up in would really make the week harder. Being able to stand up in a vehicle the same length and similar fuel consumption etc is vastly preferable.

If you were living in a T5 to go surfing in Cornwall and spent time outside a lot then it would be fine. If you live in the Scottish Highlands and want to use it to go climbing and walking and skiing then it would be a poor choice.

I think the T5 is probably a more refined drive but you really pay for that.

Mine is 34k on the clock, cost me 8800 and I spent 2000 on the conversion.
Jim Lancs - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to Saor Alba: <<I think the T5 is probably a more refined drive but you really pay for that. >>

No way - I have a new-ish T5 at work and a 8 year old Vivaro at home which is by far and away the better and more refined drive.
Tom V - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:

pop top?
El-Mariachi on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf:

The reason they are expensive here in the UK is due to a unique vehicle fetching loads of money. There are not that many in the UK.

My friends father goes to India, where there are millions of the things, bulk buys them (5-10)for around 300 max, then pays the frieght over 3000 back to the UK, carries out the conversions then boom, hes happy!

my advice, book yourself a holiday soon
altirando - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf: Look at a Romahome.
Cuthbert on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to Tom V:

Looks to be the worst of both worlds to me. Very cold in the winter and it's still cramped if you do put it up.

You don't see many popups in the Coire na Ciste caprpark in a high wind.

As it happens, there is actually a T5 with a popup parked close to me right now. They have kids and an awning and I can see the dad crouching down to get inside every 10 seconds or so.
sihills - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to Saor Alba: you do realise that you can get hightop t5's that you can stand up in?? just like most other vans!

Having lived in a lwb t4 for a fair amount of time (not a high top one) I dont think this standing up is quite as important as some people make out!

The best of both worlds in my opinion is a pop top, allowing you to get into most carparks with barriers and still being able to stand up once inside! The drawbacks of not being able to get into lots of carparks has always been huge to me with regards to having a high top.

Back to the original poster, vw's hold there value, a scene tax almost, they are also by far and away the "coolest" vans you can drive.

Ive owned a swb vw t4, a lwb vw t4, a lwb vw t5 and ive now gone much much smaller and now have a converted vw caddy. in the end in comes down to budget and what you prefer, I have friends who have vivaras, traffics etc etc and everyone seems to love the van they have, all personal preference!
joan cooper - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf: we bought a 1990 G reg toyota hiace(raisable roof)deisel auto, from Welllhouse Leisure Nr huddersfield about 8 years ago an import from Japan for 6500 and sold it a few weeks ago for 500 apart from a bit of rust at the back and 1 or 2 bruises here and there it still went like a bomb I would recommend them for endurance and solidity. Check the Wellhouse Leisure web site.
little andy - on 09 Feb 2013
Check out Mazda Bongo's, I bought one 3 years ago & have toured France on a few occasions (5 weeks in Cham in Winter) & Italy as far as Rome, as well as heading off around the UK. It's the best investment I've bough vehicle wise. I had it converted to LPG as running costs are not cheap beforehand. There as a few sites out there with people who specialise in them, have a look on bongofury.com
woolsack - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to El-Mariachi:
> (In reply to bobbyf)
>
> The reason they are expensive here in the UK is due to a unique vehicle fetching loads of money. There are not that many in the UK.
>
> My friends father goes to India, where there are millions of the things, bulk buys them (5-10)for around 300 max, then pays the frieght over 3000 back to the UK, carries out the conversions then boom, hes happy!
>
> my advice, book yourself a holiday soon

That sounds like a good adventure bringing one back overland :)
suilven - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf:

IMHO VWs are not worth the money - you can buy and convert many other vans much more cheaply.

I bought a Transit Messing / Welfare unit with lights, electrics, toilet, sinks etc fitted. All I did was cut a door in the rear bulkhead for a door, added some carpet and fitted a gas stove and a caravan seat/bed.

It was an 07 plate with 39k on the clock and cost me 10k - another couple of hundred to convert. Try getting a VW that age with 139k on the clock for that price ;-)

Pics here

http://www.flickr.com/photos/87597444@N04/sets/72157632723731581/
Cuthbert on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to sihills:

Yes I do. They cost a lot more than other high tops and have less space due to the shape.

The standing up thing becomes important once you compare the two.

They are actually very uncool as paying for less is not cool in any way. But the cool factor has a lot of people taken in.

You are right, personal preference. I prefer to pay less and have more.
Tony Simpson - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf:
I replied to a similar topic a little while ago.

The main reason I bought a T5 with a poptop and a thermal protective wrap to keep it warm when it was up, was how much the camper would depriciate in a small amount of time but also over a ten year period. I was going to have a van worth 26k when fully done and in the first couple of years loose a max of 4k compared to 10k of other makes. Then after 10 years still have something worth around 10-12 rather than 3-4. So this in my mind was a no brainer.

The other reason I did was that you can find more readily converters and bits and pieces for VW's.

With regards what other people say about height, as I said I have a poptop. Iam 6 foot and do not have any problems with standing up in the right area, cooking and washing up is not an issue and this also converts into a bed or storage area when needed. Don't think with a hiroof you can do that (I may be wrong)

The only down side to a poptop over a high roof is that you could not put a shower in(although I know one company in Birmingham that is fitting a shower in the tailgate(job done) ) due to height. But you do get a vehicle that goes in a car height on ferries etc and under most car park height barriers.

The VW scene is something I have come into after buying the van and through work, and I have to say it is brilliant and have met some fantastic folks. The festivals are also great, something I am unaware of with any other brand (again may be wrong)

I think mechanical wise most vehicles have there problems and is also how you look after them as well, but with the VW scene being what it is you can always find advice and folks who will help. I know one chap who was having a problem while driving home, put his wife on the net and got instant advice from pro mechanics over a forum right there and then, could you do that with a Renault? I don't know.
sihills - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to Saor Alba: and i could argue that although I have paid more for my vans than say a comparitive, vauxhall, renault, ford etc, and maybe I didnt get as much for my money, I will definately get a lot more back at the end that I ever will with one of the other makes! for example, I bought a vw t4 for 3000 10 years old 100,000 miles, I converted it myself put another 60,000 miles on it and sold it for 5,000. Cant imagine that would have happened with a renault, vauxhall or a ford!
Jus - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf:

VW Transporters are a way of life, simples.
Tony Simpson - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to Jus:

Great reapply Justin. I like it:)

I should learn to be a bit more succinct.
jon on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf:

If you take your vehicle to France you'll pay more on the autoroutes if it's more than 2m high, so a pop top seems a good idea.
woolsack - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to bobbyf)
>
> If you take your vehicle to France you'll pay more on the autoroutes if it's more than 2m high, so a pop top seems a good idea.

Mine is too slow to get any benefit from the Autoroute, I like the D1075
bobbyf on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to Tony Simpson: I suppose there's no right or wrong answers. The re sale value does appeal to me, but so does value for money! Some interesting and helpful points raised though.
colina - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf:
> This has probably come up before. I've been looking at Campervans for a while and have noticed the difference in price between a VW Camper and an equivilent camper from a different manufacturer. I know the quality of conversions can make a difference but am finding it hard to see why i need to spend 1000's more on an older, higher mileage VW. So, can anyone tell me why they are worth the extra cash?


Now come on ted.,
.the reason why you HAVE to have a vw van and NOTHING else even comes close is simple ..
Its the street cred..wot can POSSIBLY look cooler than a fluorescent orange split screen vw dub with the compulsory surf board on top.
That's your answer dude.end of debate.
Cuthbert on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to sihills:

I dont get this "money back" argument. I didn't buy a camper as an investment. I bought it to be a campervan and I think my Renault Trafic is superior in many ways to a T5, pop up, hi roof or otherwise. It's also cheaper for a lower mileage.

If investment is your goal then campervans must be one of the worst, VW or otherwise. They are holes to pour money into.

Each to their own though. I am watching the family tonight in their T5, pop up and awning and I bet they paid 10k more than me for fashion.
sihills - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:
> (In reply to sihills)
>
They are holes to pour money into.
>


Never had to fork out for any expensive repairs on any of the vw vans ive owned, so harldy "holes to pour money into"
May I ask if there are holes to pour money into, what this money you have poured into yours has gone on?

and I dont think you quite understand, or your just a lot more flush with cash than me, but I dont see them as an investment, but id prefer for my van to keep its value for aslong as possible and to be able to get as much of my money back as possible when it comes to selling it, but each to there own again.

you seem very anti vw? are you jealous your not in the nice t5 with the pop top?? ;)

dek - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to sihills:
I had a T3 2.1 Auto, high top. It was a gas guzzling, expensive pig of a thing! Every repair seemed to be around 400 quid! A pop top would have been better to drive in high side winds, with better Mpg.
Having had a chance to drive a Vivaro, and transits, I'd say Vivaro for the car like drive, the Transit turbo, for sheer grunt, and economy.
Cuthbert on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to sihills:

I mean they cost a lot to buy! You'd pay 10,000 more for a VW with the spec of mine or get one with 100,000 more miles on it. In anyone's equation that isn't worth it.

The last thing I am jealous of is a T5 pop up. Try parking one up in a windy spot in the Highlands you will know what I mean. A pop up, in any vehicle, is a poor choice if the weather is going to be rough.

I amn't anti VW, I just think they are over priced, over rated and the laymans choice ;-)
woolsack - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:
> (In reply to sihills)
>
> I amn't anti VW, I just think they are over priced, over rated and the laymans choice ;-)

a sort of iphone?
patsaunders - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf: high top vs pop top depends on if you are using the van as just a camper or an every day van as well. High tops don't fit in a lot of car parks, cost more to take on ferries, toll roads etc. I have a normal T5 swb that i use daily and as a camper, works well for us.
ads.ukclimbing.com
bobbyf on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to patsaunders: I'll be using it everyday so was looking at a pop top or normal roof. Am i right in thinking the SWB T4 or T5 have smaller 'footprints' than Trafics, Vivaro's etc?
Andy DB - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf: Another advantage that is worth considering of the "VW scene" is that my insurance was considerably cheaper that for another brand of van.
patsaunders - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf: they are the more or less the same footprint but the T5 has smaller internal volume than the Trafic
Caralynh - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to patsaunders:

3 yrs ago I bought a fully converted, pop top Vivaro. 57 plate. 13k. For the same spec T4 or T5 I'd have boon looking at at least twice that. Plus it's larger inside than a VW. No brained really, just means I'm not part of the cool set!
Tony Simpson - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:

To come back to a point you make of parking it in the highlands with gusting winds.

Well I took mine for a 5 week trip up the west coast in aug/sept 11 when we had the tail end of the tropical storms. The roof had to be up every night as I have a wife in a wheelchair, a dog and at the time a 2 year old who was sleeping up there.

If you think about how you position the van and how you can get shelter then with a good quality roof you should not have any problems. I have not ..

There are a lot of different roofs out there and I can only speak about the Reimo brand.

From experience I don't think your argument stands up, sorry.
woolsack - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to Tony Simpson: How much heat do you have to throw at your van to stay warm with a pop roof up in winter?
Tom V - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to Caralynh:

People don't just buy German and Czech cars over French/Vauxhalls to be "cool". Same might apply to campers.

Got to say , though, because of its "eyebrow" the Vivaro/ Trafic really suits a pop top.
Tony Simpson - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to woolsack:
I have a wrap that fits all around the canvas part of the top, that is made from fabrics that are used in the mountaineering industry (so not bubble wrap). This has a large insulation layer in and dual reflective silver coating.

So in answer to you question not as much as one would think. I used it a couple of weekends back and I don't have a night heater. The heat from cooking and brewing up kept us going until bed time and then its into the winter bedding and sleeping bags.

If you are interested you can search for IgTherm campervan wraps, there on eBay.
Tony Simpson - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf:

When talking of price.

Below is a link to a self built camper from nissan

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=538047

Regarding price only you would be lucky to find an E reg t4 for this money let alone a 2000+ model.

Tony Simpson - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf:
I'm not saying there is anything wrong with other vehicles or this one I was just using to make my point on resale value.
Cuthbert on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to Tony Simpson:


Sorry but I dont think you have experience bad weather if you have got away with dealing with it by van position. I saw the roof ripped off a Bongo when I was fine in my van. Steel is stronger than fabric.

Try your pop up in a CairnGorm storm and then report back. I base this on experience and I've seen the difference.
Cuthbert on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to Andy DB:

Is it really? What do you pay? I pay 220 fully comp, business commute and 10,000 miles a year. Can you really get *signicantly" cheaper insurance than this?

The cool argument (that people buy VWs cos they think they are cooler) *does* stand up to scrutiny. If not why are so many bedecked with expensive alloy wheels and low profile wheels? It's certainly not cheaper or practical.
deepsoup - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf:
> Am i right in thinking the SWB T4 or T5 have smaller 'footprints' than Trafics, Vivaro's etc?

Lengths vary slightly, but they're all within a few inches of each other. I guess you're mainly thinking of width though? T5 and Vivaro/Trafic are exactly the same width (1904mm excluding mirrors, according to professor google), T4 vans are about 60mm narrower.
Tony Simpson - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:
Sometimes it does not matter what you say or the experiences you have had there will always be someone how has seen it been there its not right.

No matter what anyone says positively about a VW you will always have something counter intuitive to come back with.
jon on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to Tony Simpson:
> (In reply to Saor Alba)
> Sometimes it does not matter what you say or the experiences you have had there will always be someone how has seen it been there its not right.

I'm sure if you think back you'll remember that the roof was torn off and is now somewhere in Denmark... no? Your memory must have just failed to record that minor point.
Tony Simpson - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:

Insurance wise mine was cheaper than the merc vito I looked at but cant say anything other than that. Insurance is calculated on many things not just miles and usage, such as value, where you live, age, condition, extras or mods etc. can you tell us what your van has?

My insurance is 320 inc full EU breakdown recover. This is based on a 26k camper with std alloy wheels and the only mod to the outside of the van is side steps so my wife can get in easier as she is in a wheelchair due to MS. The van is an 08 2.5 tdi. Based north notts rural location

With regards cool. There maybe are some folks who think they are cool but you have that with what ever vehicle you buy, vito, tranny all have folk how bling them up put big alloy wheels on, that is there choice.

I did not buy my VW T5 for that reason, in fact it is one of the most understated campers I am aware of ( I visit many shows and forum meets now through the work I have got into).

Why don't you just try going to a VW festival in your van and see how welcome you are made to feel and how helpful folks can be, you don't have to own a VW to be part of the "club, scene or what ever you want to call it"

I feel I must reiterate the main reason I bought my van was residual resale value. This may not be top of your list but it was very much mine. What would have happened if I'd spent 26 k on a vito had it for say 6 years then some kind HGV shunted me, writing it off. Well considering how quickly they depriciate I would not get anywhere near what I paid for it and thus would probably not be able replace it like for like.

Now you can say but the money you saved in not buying a VW, but I would not have saved a penny I would have got a van of similar age but lower mileage.

So it does not matter if you think a high top, poptop, or a bigger van cheaper would have helped I still think buying into the VW is more logical and less expensive than other vans.
As I said in one of my earlier posts in 10-15 years time my van will still be worth 12-16k which can not be said for a similar brand. So if you sell at the same age and the other van type only fetchs say 6k at the best I have saved 6k at worst may even be 10 or more.

How is this not logical :) ;)
Tony Simpson - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to Tony Simpson)
> [...]
>
> I'm sure if you think back you'll remember that the roof was torn off and is now somewhere in Denmark... no? Your memory must have just failed to record that minor point.

I'm sorry Jon, if this was the case and it made news then it did in deed pass me by ( pardon the pun)

The point I was trying to make was that unless you have really freak conditions then these roofs can with a little thought stand upto more than some people think.

jon on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to Tony Simpson:

Yes I know and I was agreeing with you!
Tony Simpson - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to jon:

Ok sorry I thought you might have been serious and I had indeed missed something.

Sometimes it's hard to judge on the forums. :)

Sorry
Ron Walker - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf:

As with most camper vans and especially VW they are definitely not worth the money for what you get.
Having said that they do keep their resale value better than most and that includes high mileage knackered rusty rubbish!
Cuthbert on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to Tony Simpson:

I think you have hit the nail on the head. You paid 26k and I paid 10k and fundamentally I dont think you have 16k more in value.

So you may have 12k in 10 years time and I have 16k now. It's win-win!
richparry - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf:

I had a VW T4 which I converted myself and it was ace. Nice to drive, comfy on long journeys, 38mpg and practical to use everyday. It wasn't a conventional camper conversion. I didn't see the point in fitting it out like every other VW with the kitchen down the drivers side and a narrow bed, so designed and built a full width rock n roll bed with a cooker box/unit behind the front seats. This made the best use of space for me, with plenty of room for climbing/camping gear to be stored out of the way. It also kept the weight nice and low, making it more stable to drive.

When it was destroyed in an accident the insurance paid what I paid for it over 3 years ago. I'm sure this wouldn't have happened with a transit.

I think if you want a proper camper van, the VW's are a bit small, even with a pop top or high top. There's just not much space inside and really if you need to live in the van, especially in winter or bad weather, it's a bit of a squeeze, especially for two. You might be better off looking at something else.
If you get a chance, sit in the back of a converted VW and then imagine if you could live in it. Think about where all your gear, food, water, climbing stuff is going to go and then ask yourself if you could live in it. The vans look quite spacious until you throw all your gear in. We never really had any problems and spent a lot of time in the van, but you have to be very organised in small space.

But, as others have said, they are good as a daily driver and very practical for getting into parking spaces. If you are looking for a van that can carry all your gear and sleep in they're great. Then again, so are Transits and every other similarly sized van.

I never got into the VW scene as it just didn't interest me, but I'm looking for another van right now and am looking at T5's. I wouldn't buy a camper or a van that had been converted as I'd rather do it myself how I want it.
Are they worth the money? You tell me. Buy one and see how you get on. You can always sell it if it doesn't suit you. I didn't really lose any money on mine.
quirky - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf: Owned a variety of VWs including a split screen. All have cost a fair bit to keep running (when they do go wrong they are expensive) and with the exception of the splitty i have lost money when selling. I got bored of VWs and bought a Toyota hiace import straight out of the crate from Japan. It was certainly more thirsty than the vws but super reliable. never missed a beat or cost me a penny in repairs. Used it for 3 years and sold it for more than i paid for it!! VWs are cool but sometimes when you see some of the "hipsters " comfy camping in them.....do i really want to pay a premium to be "that" cool???
bobbyf on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to richparry: cheers guys, some helpful stuff here. I've got to admit it's hard not to get carried away by spending a fortune on an elaborate conversion. I'm not sure I actually need a full hob/grill/oven combo- its very unlikely that I'll be doing a Sunday roast in a layby!
woolsack - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf:
> I'm not sure I actually need a full hob/grill/oven combo- its very unlikely that I'll be doing a Sunday roast in a layby!

Roadkill not good enough for you? :)
Andy DB - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Saor Alba: OK so I'm young and business insurance on a van I was getting quotes for well over 1000. My VW t4 insured on a specialist camper policy was 400. With this sort of price difference the slight extra purchase expense seemed worth wile. This probably won't always be the case and will look at the options when I think of up grading.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf: "its very unlikely that I'll be doing a Sunday roast in a layby"

Well, not that type of "roast" anyway ;-)
Tony Simpson - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:

The conversion I had done was more than you spent on your camper so you can not compare. It does not matter what van I bought the conversion price would have been the same if not slightly higher (as the bits to go are not as common). So no it's not win win you just bought something in your budget....
woolsack - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to Tony Simpson:
> (In reply to Saor Alba)
>
> The conversion I had done was more than you spent on your camper so you can not compare. It does not matter what van I bought the conversion price would have been the same if not slightly higher (as the bits to go are not as common). So no it's not win win you just bought something in your budget....

Assuming you both get reasonable functionality from your vans, maybe the question should be phrased, is it worth spending 15 grand more to have a VW badge?
richparry - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to bobbyf:
> ( I've got to admit it's hard not to get carried away by spending a fortune on an elaborate conversion. I'm not sure I actually need a full hob/grill/oven combo


A converted VW will cost you a lot of money and might not be very practical for you. A lot of converted vans I looked at hadn't been constructed to my liking. There's lots of shoddy campers around which are advertised as quality workmanship. Why not buy a van, insulate it and then try it out with your camping gear. That way you can decide what works for you before you spend loads on a conversion.

VW's are more expensive than other vans, just as Audi's cost more than Skodas. If you like Vw's you'll have to pay more. Only you can decide if the extra cost can be justified. Take one for a spin and see if you like it.
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Cuthbert on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Tony Simpson:

I did my own conversion and I reckon it would have cost 10k+ if I had paid a company to do it. 2k was the cost of materials and equipment.

I'm sorry but it is win win, you paid 26k and I paid 10k and fundamentally you dont have anything I dont. (Note I understand that your wheelchair requirements may require specialist conversion.)

The point I am making is that a VW van will cost a lot more than a non-VW and I don't think it's worth it.

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