Just Don’t Kick Sand In The Face Of Vw’s Vanagon Syncro Philly com — Volkswagen syncro

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Volkswagen syncro

Just Don’t Kick In The Face Of Vw’s Vanagon

By Al Haas, Inquirer Staff

Posted: October 10, 1986

The Syncro, Volkswagen’s new four-wheel-drive has a number of endearing attributes. But its to boogie on the beach isn’t one of

Put it in loose sand, and the Vanagon can Van-agony.

I found that out weekend, when I tried to a procession of Ford, Chevy and 4x4s driving onto the at Assateague Island National in Virginia.

My Vanagon Syncro vehicle got about 50 yards off the road before it ground to a and dug itself in.

A National Park ranger happened by presently in a 4wd and noticed initially that the VW was up to its and transaxle in sand. The second he noticed was that this off-roader had not let some of the air out of the tires, a procedure when playing in the

So, we let half the air out of the tires. Then we up each side of the vehicle, in the holes under the wheels, and boards under each of the

OK, try backing her up, directed the sweating When I did, the VW went feet beyond the boards and down into the sand

Whoa, yelled the ranger. She wants to bury herself. So, he a tow rope to the rear of the red-faced and dragged it back to the hard with his Dodge.

As that sandy sojourn suggest, the Syncro isn’t to joust with Jeeps for the and minds of serious off-roaders. But doesn’t mean its modestly four-wheel-drive feature is without It is doubtlessly well worth the price tag for the added traction and the four-wheel-drive affords on rainy and highways — and muddy

The Syncro, the first factory-built, passenger van sold in the United was introduced during the 1986 year and will remain for 1987. It is, in effect, a regular, rear-drive Vanagon that has jacked up an inch and fitted a driveshaft and viscous coupling transfer power to the front when needed.

The driver not have to switch the system to and four-wheel drive. The viscous does this automatically there is a disparity in the speeds of the and rear wheels.

Like the conventional, two-wheel-drive the Syncro is a wonderful vehicle for travel. It offers a truly ride and has a lot more room than any of the other mini-vans on the

With its three rows of the Vanagon provides seven with places to sit. It affords ample space for luggage in the generous storage behind the third row of seats. If you the second row of seats and fold the third, the Vanagon furnishes a 200 cubic feet of cargo — 75 more than the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth

Speaking of folding down the seat, the test vehicle had an »weekender bed feature that a great idea. By combining a folding third seat a foam mattress that the cargo area behind it, the momentarily converts the back end of the van a spacious and comfortable double

Another option that my fancy on the test Syncro was the sunroof, which has to be the largest skylight in captivity.

Like the Vanagon, the Syncro is also in camper form, which a pop-up roof, table, seating for six and sleeping accommodations for

Volkswagen syncro

Driving the Vanagon (on hard at least) is quite pleasurable. The is surprisingly maneuverable and has outstanding and reasonable power.

The latter is by a new, larger, more version of the horizontally opposed engine. By increasing the stroke, the compression ratio and installing a new engine-management system, Volkswagen have been able to the engine’s displacement from 1.9 to 2.1 liters and raise horsepower 82 to 95.

Equipped with the standard transmission (which includes forward gears for normal and a fifth, low gear for tough the new two-wheel-drive Vanagon gets zero to 60 miles an hour in seconds. Presumably, the slightly Syncro would be a tad slower. 14.4 reading, while not Corvette country, is a full seconds faster than the old could manage.

EPA mileage are not available for the fairly heavy, Syncro. I averaged 17.1 per gallon during a mixture of and highway driving.


Base vehicle: four-wheel drive, power steering, full wheel tachometer, digital clock, upholstery.

Test model: major options:four-speaker AM/FM rear-window wiper, locking weekender bed, sunroof.

Base price —

Test model —

EPA city rating —

Test mileage — m.p.g.

Volkswagen syncro

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