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Your VW T5 Buyer’s Guide

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The Versatile VW T5

The VW T5 Transporter, though an older model often with higher mileage, remains a testament to Volkswagen’s legacy of durable and versatile vehicles. Ideal for campervan conversions, the VW T5 offers a solid foundation for anyone looking to explore the great outdoors with comfort and style.

Learn what you need to know about VW T5 vans and camper conversions with this detailed guide. Whether you’re drawn to the classic charm of these slightly older models or considering a custom upgrade, we cover everything from essential specs and what they mean, to VW T6 comparisons, FAQs, and customisation advice. You’ll be well-equipped to make the most informed decision about buying or converting a VW T5.

You can also discover our current stock of VW campervans, including VW T5 camper conversions for sale.

Why Choose the VW T5?

The VW Transporter T5 strikes a perfect balance between daily utility and the freedom of adventure. Its ample space caters to everyday tasks like shopping and ferrying sports gear, while also serving as an ideal base for campervan conversions, ready for weekend getaways. This makes the T5 a practical option for those looking to blend routine life with travel.

Reliable Performance

The Transporter T5 boasts Volkswagen’s renowned build quality, with a track record of high mileage reliability and minimal maintenance demands. It’s equipped with robust TDI engines, known for their longevity and efficiency, making it suitable for both city driving and exploring new terrains.

VW tv campervan grill
the inside of a vw t5 campervan conversion

Customisation & Space

Offering a generous interior, the T5 supports diverse customisations, from innovative storage solutions to full campervan conversions with sleeping and kitchen areas, thanks to its flexible layout and easy-to-modify structure.

Value Retention

Owing to Volkswagen’s solid reputation, the T5 maintains its value exceptionally well even with a large mileage. Its durable TDI engines and versatile design make it a sound choice for those seeking a vehicle that blends reliable daily functions with the potential for personalised adventure setups.

a black vw t5 campervan conversion

Choosing a VW T5 over a VW T6


  • Initial Purchase Price: VW T5 models are generally less expensive than newer T6 models, making the T5 a more budget-friendly option for those entering the campervan lifestyle.
  • Conversion Costs: Converting a T5 might be cheaper than a T6, depending on specific modifications and the vehicle’s condition.
  • Slower Depreciation: As an older model, the T5 has already undergone most of its depreciation, making it a more financially sensible option if planning to sell in the future.

Insurance and Running Costs

  • Lower Insurance: Older vehicles like the T5 might attract lower insurance premiums compared to newer models like the T6.
  • Maintenance Costs: Maintenance and repair costs for the T5 can be lower due to the availability of parts and the extensive knowledge base among mechanics.


  • Proven Track Record: The T5 has a well-documented performance history, and many owners find them reliable with robust aftermarket support, including parts and experienced mechanics.
  • Engine Options: Depending on the model year and variant, some may prefer the engine options available with the T5.

Customisation and Availability

  • Wide Range of Conversions: The longer history of the T5 means there is a broader range of conversion options available, including DIY kits and professional services.
  • Used Market: A larger used market for T5s makes it easier to find pre-converted vans that suit specific needs and preferences.

Personal Preference

  • Design and Features: Some people prefer the design, layout, or driving experience of the T5 over the T6. Despite the T6 having newer technology and potentially better performance, the T5 offers a solid and reliable experience.
  • Familiarity: Those familiar with the T5’s mechanics and design might prefer to stick with what they know. It could have classic appeal or sentimental value that newer models might lack.

Looking for your dream VW T5 campervan conversion?

Key Features and Specifications

VW T5 Dimensions

The VW T5 is a versatile vehicle, with different model configurations, including the short wheelbase (SWB) and long wheelbase (LWB) versions. You’ll typically find the following dimensions:

  • Length: SWB models are generally 4.892 metres (16.05 ft) long, while LWB versions extend to approximately 5.292 metres (17.36 ft).
  • Width: Without mirrors, the width is about 1.904 metres (6.24 ft), and with mirrors, it’s roughly 2.297 metres (7.54 ft).
  • Height: The height varies by model and specifications, typically ranging from 1.970 metres (6.46 ft) to 2.476 metres (8.12 ft) for higher roof versions.


Engine & Performance

The T5 is powered by robust TDI diesel engines, with outputs ranging from 84 PS to 180 PS, balancing performance with fuel efficiency. Its engines are known for reliability, offering a solid foundation for both daily driving and long hauls.

Interior and Comfort

The T5 set the standard for comfort and quality in its class, providing a durable yet comfortable interior. With practical layouts and ample space, it’s an ideal candidate for campervan conversions, offering a blend of functionality and comfort.


Technology and Safety

While preceding the advanced technological features found in the T6 and T6.1 Transporter models, the T5 still boasts commendable safety and technology for its time. This includes standard ABS, airbags, and in later models, optional parking sensors and cruise control, for a safe and enjoyable driving experience.

VW T5 Campervan Conversions


Transforming your VW T5 into a campervan stands as a top choice for many users, taking advantage of the model’s flexibility for both practical and more luxurious modifications. With options to add a high roof for more space, custom seat belts for safe family adventures, or an awning for comfortable outdoor living, the T5’s adaptability makes it an ideal canvas for creating your dream mobile home. 

It’s worth noting that the older VW T5 models, often sought after for their affordability and character, typically come with around 100,000 miles. This won’t usually affect their reliability however, and just means you get a potentially more cost-effective option if looking to enter the campervan lifestyle at a lower initial investment.


How We Do VW T5 Conversions

We specialise in converting VW T5/T5.1 panel, Kombi, and Shuttle vans ranging from 03 plate (2003) to 15 plate (2015). Whether you own one of these timeless models or are considering acquiring a second-hand van for conversion, we have the skills and experience to transform it into your dream campervan.

With established expertise in Volkswagen conversions, we can seamlessly guide you through tailoring each detail, from interiors to exteriors, ensuring a perfect blend of comfort, functionality, and style. Trust in our dedicated team to convert your VW T5 into the ultimate vehicle of freedom and adventure.

Book an appointment at our HQ today and make your dream a reality, or browse our current converted stock and get in touch to enquire.

Why Choose CamperKing?

  • VW Transporter Expertise: Specialised in VW conversions for unmatched quality.
  • Lifetime Warranty: All conversions include a lifetime warranty and exceptional aftercare.
  • UK Craftsmanship: Locally manufactured for quick, high-quality outcomes.
  • Wide Selection: Extensive range of both ready-to-go and bespoke VW campervans.
  • Unlimited Customisation: Tailor every aspect of your campervan in our Configuration Lounge.
  • Exceptional Support: Friendly team dedicated to providing outstanding customer care.
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T5 VW Transporter Questions

What are the key differences between VW T5 and T5.1 models?
The T5.1, introduced in late 2009, features cosmetic updates including a new front end (similar to the VW Golf Mk6), improved interior quality, and updated engines for better efficiency and performance.
Are VW T5 vans reliable?
VW T5 vans are renowned for their reliability and durability, especially when regularly serviced and well-maintained. They are designed to handle high mileage, making them a solid choice for conversions.
What is the fuel efficiency of a VW T5 campervan?
Fuel efficiency varies by model, engine type, and conversion weight. On average, a VW T5 campervan can achieve between 30-40 mpg, with variations based on driving conditions and the van’s load.
Can all VW T5 models be converted into campervans?
Yes, all VW T5 models, including panel, Kombi, and Shuttle variants, can be converted into campervans. The suitability for conversion depends more on the van’s condition than the model type.
How does converting a T5 affect its resale value?
A professionally converted T5 campervan often holds its value better than a standard van, especially if well-maintained and completed to a high quality.
Do I need special insurance for a converted VW T5 campervan?
Yes, once converted, the vehicle should be insured as a campervan. This often provides coverage specific to the unique needs of campervans and their equipment.
Can I convert a T5 myself, or do I need a professional?
While self-conversion is possible and popular among DIY enthusiasts, professional conversions ensure safety, and reliability, and can often better maintain the vehicle’s value. Professionals have access to high-quality materials and expertise in bespoke campervan requirements.