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.


  1. This is an old post but was found quickly by searching for a console on Amazon. We just bought a 1987 Vanagon with a brand new engine and other shiny upgrades. But just like you.. we realized very quickly that the lack of cup holders was a problem. So was the wide open space between the seats if you happen to like to take your dogs with you.

    At least one of my dogs is good about not going up near the stick but the other felt far more inclined to just walk into open spaces which she has not done in other vehicles. We have a temporary blockade but will be ordering this console.

  2. how does that locking door work? Does it flip up? or is is sliding? What material? I'm concerned if the whole thing is such lightweight material, that the locking door is probably not all that secure. Thanks.

  3. The locking door is a bit of joke. First, it's flimsy plastic. Second, in order to take advantage of the very modest degree of security it provides, you'd have to attach the whole console to the floor of the van. In order words, drill and fasten it to the floor. I wasn't looking to do that. I want something that is stable, but can be removed. Works perfectly for those purposes. Definitely not a safe for your valuables.

  4. Hi,
    How is the center console holding since you installed it back in 2011? Thinking of grabbing one from Amazon.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Hey Jeff! Did you happen to take measurements for the plywood you cut?

  7. I'm buying this for my newly bought 89 Vanagon and appreciate this tip I found on Amazon.I have the Gowesty mats over my carpet so will try without the nails. Thx

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