VW Microbus: Cool? Yes. Safe? Heck, no.
I was thinking of buying a Volkswagen Microbus. I know that means constant repairs, etc. But I currently drive a 1987 Jetta with 166,000 miles that also needs constant
repairs. So I figured if I'm going to be repairing my car all the time, I might as well have a cooler car. I'm graduating from high school soon, and I plan on going to
college next year. What do you think? -- Nick
RAY: Well, if you're looking for a cooler car, you can't beat an old VW Microbus. Their heaters were so inefficient that you're guaranteed to be cool all winter --
assuming you don't freeze to death.
TOM: Of course, the major downside of the VW Microbus is not its lack of a good heater. It's not its lack of power, either. Nor is it the way it blows around in the wind
like a billboard on top of Mount Washington. No. The big problem with Microbuses is safety.
RAY: Before you buy one, try this experiment, Nick. Take a folding chair out to your driveway and have a friend drive his car into your knees. That'll give you an idea
of what it will feel like to have a front-end crash in an old VW bus. The engine's in the back. And you sit so far up front in that vehicle that your knees basically ARE
the front bumpers. Not literally, but pretty close.
TOM: So if you really want a VW bus, at least get a Eurovan, the later-generation, front-engine, front-wheel drive VW buses. Those are considerably safer.
RAY: Or, if you want something old and funky, consider going for something big -- like a '70s Chevy Suburban or my brother's late '74 Chevy Caprice Classic
Convertible. Something like that will be every bit as lousy, smelly and unreliable as a VW bus, but at least there will be a lot of metal around you if you should hit
something. Good luck, Nick.
Want to save some money and make your car last longer? Order Tom and Ray's pamphlet Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even Knowing It! Send $3
and a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed, No. 10 envelope to Ruin, PO Box 6420, Riverton, NJ 08077-6420.
Got a question about cars? Write to Click and Clack in care of this newspaper, or e-mail them by visiting the Car Talk section of cars.com on the World Wide Web.
?(C) 1999 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.