Monday, March 21, 2011

Vanagon Product Review: Center Console

Seconds into my first morning drive in the Vanagon, I discovered what I consider a major flaw in the interior design:  There are no cup holders for the driver or front passenger! I stepped into the van, dreading a tedious day of vehicle registration hassles, my disposition tempered only by the pleasures my delicious brew.  Shockingly, there was no place to rest my cup.  With no other option, I placed it precariously on the carpeted floor between the front seats and not surprisingly, it spilled before I reached the end of the driveway.  The plush Vanagon shag readily soaked up my 16 ounces of caffeinated goodness.  I spilled a second coffee a few days later before researching a solution.

I ended up buying a cheap center console from Amazon (TSI Products 54215 Clutter Catcher).  I paid $39.99 with free shipping for what looks to be the exact same product that sells for $89.99 plus shipping. The only complaint I initially had was its light weight.  It ships with metal screws that one can use to secure the unit to the floor of the vehicle, but I wanted to maintain the option of quick, easy removal.  I didn't want to permanently install it, but I needed to increase the stability.  The solution was easy:
  1. cut out a section of heavy plywood to snuggly fit within the base of the console.  
  2. hammer a dozen or so small nails into the wood until the points just barely break through the surface. 
  3. secure the wood into the base of the console with three screws along each side.
The result is a solid, steady console that doesn't slide around or rock. The nails provide extra traction on the carpet.  And, most importantly, I haven't spilled any more coffee!

With this simple modification, I definitely recommend the product.  Without it, it's just too light and screwing it into the floor isn't a reasonable option in my opinion.

Vanagon Product Review: Lloyd Rubber Floor Mats

When we purchased the Vanagon it contained mismatched, ill-fitting rubber mats up front. They were very lightweight and constantly shifted around, which was as much a hazard as an annoyance. Unlike the many OEM-obsessed Vanagon owners, I'm simply looking for quality products for the vehicle, regardless of whether they're the same ones that shipped with the van 20 years ago.

I decided on Lloyd Rubber Floor Mats from  They were on sale for $39.99 when I purchased them, much cheaper than the German OEM floor mats supplied to Volkswagen.  These Lloyd mats are EXCELLENT.

The "RubberTite" mats are custom cut precisely to the contours of the van, made of heavyweight material, and they don't shift in the slightest. The tread pattern catches as much dirt, water, snow, slush, mud or coffee that you could possibly track in or spill, and the rubber is a cinch to clean with the quick hosing.  I am extremely pleased with the purchase.  Highly recommended.  In fact, I also bought a set for my Subaru!