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Here Are My Favorite Weird Volkswagen Models

Basically since its inception, Volkswagen has concentrated on seemingly two different strategies: one, create core products that will be wildly popular, like the original Beetle, and the Golf, and the Bus. And two, create weird stuff that has niche appeal. For some examples of the latter category, I’ve listed five of my favorite weird Volkswagen models from recent years that are strange, unusual and undoubtedly cool — at least to us car enthusiasts.

Volkswagen Eurovan Westfalia

Volkswagen Eurovan Westfalia

The minivan was a very popular family conveyance throughout the 1990s — but Volkswagen couldn’t settle for a simple, regular minivan like basically every other automaker. Instead, we got the Eurovan, which itself was a bit odd — but the RV-like "Westfalia" version was especially unusual, with a pop-up roof that could be used as a bed. Needless to say, there was no high-top camper version of the Toyota Sienna. Find a Volkswagen Eurovan for sale

Volkswagen Golf Country

Volkswagen Golf Country

Volkswagen saw the market shifting toward SUVs in the 1980s, but didn’t seem to want to entirely commit to building one on their own. So, instead, Volkswagen jacked up their Golf hatchback, added all-wheel drive (AWD), stuck a spare tire on the back and called it the "Golf Country." This was supposed to be an early competitor to an SUV — and Volkswagen employed the same strategy years later when dipping Audi’s toes in the SUV pool by jacking up the A6 Avant and creating the original Audi AllroadFind a Volkswagen Golf for sale

Volkswagen Passat W8

Volkswagen Passat W8

Although the idea of making a 6-cylinder midsize sedan is now largely forgotten with the rapid spread of turbocharged 4-cylinders, it’s true that 6-cylinder sedans were once commonplace. But in recent years, 8-cylinder sedans have never been an option — and yet, Volkswagen went there in the mid-2000s. That’s when they created an 8-cylinder version of the Passat midsize sedan, offering it with standard AWD and manual or automatic transmissions. You could even get it as a wagon. The Passat W8 had 270 horsepower and 273 lb-ft, and, not surprisingly, it failed miserably. Find a Volkswagen Passat for sale

Volkswagen Phaeton W12

Volkswagen Phaeton W12

The Volkswagen Phaeton W12 is a full-size luxury sedan — which was always a bit of an odd decision coming from a company that also made the New Beetle and Jetta. But while Volkswagen building a large luxury sedan was strange, it was especially strange for Volkswagen to release a 12-cylinder model. But that’s exactly what the Phaeton W12 was, and it uses a 6.0-liter 12-cylinder with 444 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The Phaeton W12 was absolutely loaded with technology, though known for reliability issues, and these are tremendously uncommon today. Find a Volkswagen Phaeton for sale

Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI

Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI

In the same vein as the two models above, the Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI was the turbodiesel, 10-cylinder luxury SUV that nobody really wanted. As mainstream midsize SUVs were growing in popularity, Volkswagen released the luxurious Touareg, then later added a version with a diesel V10 engine — something truly unmatched by any competitor. The result was 310 hp, an amazing 550 lb-ft of torque, and — naturally — dismal sales. Find a Volkswagen Touareg for sale

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I think the XL1 should also be on this list. They produced 200 of these ultra-fuel-efficient cars from 2011 until 2013 with an 800cc diesel engine which managed to get 125 mpg.

  2. I’ll never forget the time my coworker told me about why he quit selling VWs. The day after selling a fully loaded brand new V10 Touareg the customer called him telling him to pick up my coworker’s Touareg. He said “no sir, that’s YOUR car, why would I pick it up?” Then the customer told him that it spilled all of its oil on his driveway overnight and there was no way in hell he was going to keep it. 

    The guy made a $10k gross on a used Ram 14 years ago, but selling VWs made him feel guilty. 

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More

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