Picture a campervan in your head and it’s likely you’ll be imagining a VW Transporter.
They’re the most popular campervan on the market, so there’s a good reason you see so many of them on the road.
Once you’ve decided a VW is your van of choice, there are a few more things you need to consider before purchasing.
There are a huge number of variants to decide on, so here we’ll break down the different specs and sizes to help you choose your VW campervan conversion.
Why are VW campervans so great?
Good question, and one we’re pleased to answer!
First up, they’re a great mid-sized van to get away in for a short trip and mean you won’t be lugging around a small house on wheels.
The short-wheel base vans are the best option if you want a camper which still feels like an everyday vehicle.
VW Transporters also hold their price exceptionally well, so don’t be afraid of paying a little more - look at it as an investment, especially if you are having it converted.
There’s another reason why you see so many VWs on the road - they’re incredibly reliable and regularly feature in the top 10 most reliable vans in the FN50 reliability survey.
Choosing the spec for your VW campervan conversion
Whether you’re buying your Transporter brand new or secondhand, it’s worth considering the spec of the van.
Since 2013 Volkswagen has offered four levels of spec: Startline, Highline, Trendline and Sportline.
However, bear in mind that with the new T6.1 the Trendline and Sportline have been discontinued.
Startline: this is the entry-level spec and comes with all the standard items you’d expect, such as central locking, electric front windows, heated door mirrors, power steering and a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen entertainment system.
Trendline: includes everything above plus two 12V sockets, rear parking sensors, cargo area side lining, driver’s armrest and cruise control and more.
Highline: all the above plus adaptive speed limiter cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, heated windscreen, parking sensors on both the front and back, plus much more.
Sportline: this model is only available with the 204hp BiTDI engine with DSG (automatic) transmission. It includes the Discovery Media sat-nav entertainment system, lowered suspension, a reversion camera, high gloss roof and door mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels, Sportline-specific front bumper, spoiler on the rear, dual front passenger seat and more.
To give you some food for thought, the most popular van spec we see in the workshop is the Highline.
What are the different VW models?
We told you there was a lot to consider!
VW Transporter Panel Van: the most basic model, the panel van is most often used in the commercial sector and is the easiest to convert as it’s effectively an empty shell inside.
VW Transporter Kombi: typically comes with five seats and a window in both sides one in the sliding door and one opposite. Typically will also have 2 single front seats as standard which is a bonus for many people when choosing a van.
VW Transporter Shuttle: comes with eight or nine seats and is most often thought of as a people carrier.
VW Transporter Caravelle: only available as a short wheelbase, this van is a higher spec MPV vehicle with eight seats.
If a campervan is something you are considering when looking at these specs then it's worth bearing in mind that the Shuttle and Caravelle are not the most conversion-friendly as they have a lot more lights, vents and plastic trims to overcome.
What size to go for?
Once you’ve picked your spec, you then need to pick between a short and long wheelbase.
It goes without saying that the bigger the van you pick, the more you can pack into your VW campervan conversion.
Of course, there are pros and cons to both options.
The shorter wheelbase gives you more freedom on the roads and when parking, seeing as it can fit into a regular car parking space.
However, the long wheelbase gives you roughly 39cm extra length to play with when it comes to your conversion.
So, which van should I pick for a VW campervan conversion?
We hope that’s provided some food for thought, and hopefully made your options a little clearer.
The van you choose ultimately comes down to your budget, how often you’ll be using it as a campervan and how many people you’ll want to sleep in it.
It’s worth hunting around to find the perfect van for your needs and, if you need a little guidance, we’re here to help.
We have helped to supply many customers with their van and have great contacts for sourcing well priced and great conditioned vans along with a forecourt of our own to help give you a wider choice.