Seating, Seat Belts, and Sleeping: Vanagon

This article pertains to Vanagon models sold in the U.S. 

Vanagon hard-top models sold in the U.S. from 1980 to 1991 had seating for seven adults. Pop-top full camper models had seating for four adults (some came with provisions for more seating). Wolfsburg Weekender models sold in 1985, '86, and '87 had seating for six adults, and the 1990 and '91 Multivan Weekender models had seating for seven adults.

Front Seats

All models:
The front seats on all Vanagons sold in the U.S. were twin "bucket"-style with telescoping head rests. From 1980-84, these seats were equipped with "horse hair" pads and did not have arm rests. In 1984 Wolfsburg edition models—and all 1985 and newer models—the seats were extensively redesigned, and they featured high-density foam in place of the "horse hair" pad and dual arm rests. These redesigned seats were way, way more comfortable and durable. In 1987, the arm rests were redesigned to include angle adjustment. All full camper models from 1980-91 came fitted with swivel platforms under both front seats. No hard-top models or any of the 1985-91 pop-top Weekender models were fitted with swivel platforms.

Rear Bench Seat

Hard-top models:
Two versions of this seat were offered—non-folding with fold-down arm rests OR a "Z-bed" type that folded flat to make a bed (no arm rests). Models fitted with the "Z-bed" also came with a 4" cushion over the engine compartment that—together with the folding seat—created a bed about the dimensions of a standard queen-sized bed. The rear seat did not have head rests and was fitted with three lap belts from 1980-89. In 1990 and '91, this seat came with three telescoping head rests like the ones in the front seats, and the two outboard seating locations were fitted with 3-point seat belts. The center seating location in all hard-top Vanagons was never fitted with a 3-point belt, even in models that had a head rest in that spot. 

Pop-top full camper models:

The rear bench seat on all full campers was basically the same, and was designed to seat two adults. All came equipped with a 4" cushion over the engine compartment and—together with the folding seat—created a bed about the dimensions of a double-size bed. The Wolfsburg edition of the full camper in 1984 (and all 1985 and newer campers) saw changes in both the fabric (from striped to velour) and contour (from a flat cushion to a more sculptured shape). In 1987, the fabric color changed from either the multi-colored striped fabric or tan velour to a gray velour. The full camper rear seat was never fitted with 3-point belts or head rests. 

Pop-top Weekender models:

From 1980-84, there were Weekender versions of the full camper that were identical inside, except there was no fridge or stove—just a sink. In general, the overall layout of the interior—seating, belts, etc.—was the same. These were essentially just full campers stripped of some features, with no differences at all in terms of seating. From 1985 through 1987, the Weekender model was called a Wolfsburg Weekender (WB WE), and in 1990-91 it was called a Multivan (MV). These were true "weekenders," and were totally different than the camper models offered during the same years. The cabinet on the rear driver's side corner on all Wolfsburg Weekenders and Multivans was shorter to make room for a full-width bench seat, which accommodated three adults (instead of only two, like in the full camper models). The WB WE and MV models all came with a 4" cushion over the engine compartment that—together with the folding seat—created a bed about the dimensions of a standard queen-sized bed (except where the cabinet notches into it). All 1985 and '86 WB WE models were tan inside, and the fabric used on the seats was corduroy that shredded easily. In 1987, VW switched to a much more durable fabric, and tan or blue/gray schemes were offered. In 1990-91, the fabric color changed to a gray velour, the seat was more sculptured, and head rests were added. In addition, vehicles were equipped with 3-point retractable seat belts in both outboard locations. The 1985-87 WB WE models were never fitted with head rests or 3-point belts. 

Center Seating Area

Hard-top models:
• Bench seat for two — Two versions of this seat were offered: one with only outboard arm rests, and one with an additional arm rest between the two occupants. The latter came in vehicles with the rear seat that did not fold into a bed, but also had arm rests instead. Either seat was installed on a track system and could be removed easily. This seat was outfitted with lap belts for both occupants. In 1990-91 models, this seat was equipped with head rests, and the driver's side location was fitted with a 3-point retracting seat belt. The inboard location of the seat never featured a 3-point belt—even on models that had a head rest in that location. 

 Jump seats for two — There were two special edition models starting in 1987: the Wolfsburg edition offered in 1987-89, and the Carat and L model that was offered in 1990-91. These models had two rear-facing, quick-release jump seats instead of the center bench seat. These seats were fitted with lap belts only, and—because they were fit tightly against the front seat (back-to-back)—there was no need for a head rest. The WB edition and Carat models came equipped with a flip-up table on the driver's side center panel; the L model did not have this table. When folded out, it created a nice level surface between the rear-facing jump seat and the forward-facing bench seat. 

Full camper pop-top models: 
All 1984 Wolfsburg edition camper models and all 1985-86 models came equipped with provisions for additional seating in the center area. These model years were fitted with a track system in the center area—the tracks were identical to the system featured in all hard-top models. These year models were available with an optional one-person bucket seat identical to the front seats (except without the head rest), and it was fitted on top of a (very heavy) steel pedestal with a swivel platform, also just like the front seats. This seat was never offered with a 3-point retractable seat belt—just a lap belt.

A word (or more) on center jump seats: All WB WE models were fitted with one built-in rear-facing jump seat behind the driver's seat. The seat cushion flipped up to access a storage space underneath. The 1990-91 MV model had two rear-facing, quick-release seats identical to the WB edition and the Carat hard-top models. These seats were fitted with lap belts only and no head rests. Both the WB WE models and the Multivan models were fitted with the aforementioned flip-up table.