The Most Fuel-Efficient Campervan by MPG

18 November 2021

For people looking to switch to a campervan, or make their campervan a daily driver, fuel economy is often a concern. Heavier campervans do decrease fuel efficiency and the often-smaller petrol engines don’t help. However, some campervans are more fuel efficient than others, and there’s always ways to increase your fuel efficiency. Read on to learn more.

Fuel Efficiency by Type

With VW campervans, the MPG (miles per gallon) does vary across the different types. This is especially because the original T2s on the road are from c.1960 and modern California’s come with TDI engines that are designed for modern emissions and MPG tests. Finding concrete MPG stats for earlier campervans is tricky, as MPG wasn’t regulated by law then through the WLTP tests, so no one had to release road test MPG. Similarly, customer reported MPG is also tricky to obtain, as dashboards didn’t display MPG until recent years in the VW Transporters.

MPG also varies incredibly in older models, as many owners have mapped their engine to deliver a higher bHP, which will affect MPG. We’ve collated reported MPGs and applied urban and rural driving (city vs motorway driving) to understand what VW Transporter has the best MPG. For the T2-T4 we used data from drivers on fuelly across a variety of manufacturing years to obtain a fair average.

Vehicle-Type-Lifestyle-T2-Split-Bay3

VW T2 MPG

The first VW campervan, the T2 now has a variety of MPGs seen, thanks to extensive modifications and remapping for modern drivers.

Urban/City MPG for T2

An average taken from multiple owners rather than manufacturer figures.

Mean Average: 20.8 MPG

Lowest data point: 16.11 MPG

Highest data point: 24.9 MPG

Rural/Motorway MPG for T2

An average taken from multiple owners rather than manufacturer figures.

Mean Average: 27.27 MPG

Lowest data point: 18.31 MPG

Highest data point: 36.71 MPG

VW T25/T3 MPG

As the T25 and T3 are regularly interchanged, we’ve combined them into one category for ease of averages. Similarly, the T25/T3 has a variety of reported MPGs like the T2, thanks to extensive aftermarket modification and upgrades to keep these vintage campervans on the road for longer.

Urban/City MPG for T25/T3

An average taken from multiple owners rather than manufacturer figures.

Mean Average: 18.73 MPG

Lowest data point: 10.81 MPG

Highest data point: 23.1 MPG

Rural Motorway MPG for T25/T3

An average taken from multiple owners rather than manufacturer figures.

Mean Average: 31.3 MPG

Lowest data point: 23.01 MPG

Highest data point: 36.53 MPG

VW T4 MPG

The T4 came out in 1990 and was a more powerful model compared to older ones. Some drivers fitted aftermarket Subaru engines for extra power and economy, but most stuck with the 1.9-2.4 engines that came as standard.

Urban/City MPG for T4

An average taken from multiple owners rather than manufacturer figures.

Mean Average: 25.22 MPG

Lowest data point: 14.28 MPG

Highest data point: 30.74 MPG

Rural/Motorway Driving

An average taken from multiple owners rather than manufacturer figures.

Mean Average: 32.33 MPG

Lowest data point: 29.2 MPG

Highest data point: 38.01

Vehicle-Type-Lifestyle-T5

VW T5 MPG

The T5 finished production in 2015, so it is a newer model, and therefore comes with a modern engine that produces a higher average MPG than that of earlier models. It’s also diesel, so the engine will be more powerful than earlier petrol counterparts.

Data here is taken from Real MPG on Honest John and Parkers

Source

MPG

Type of data

Parkers (T5 California Beach Edition) 40 Pre-2017 Standard Consumption Test
Honest John (T5 California) 33.1 Real MPG Average from Drivers
Honest John (T5 Transporter) 35.0 Real MPG Average from Drivers

A good average to aim for with the T5 would be mid 30s MPG, but this will vary more depending on what model you are driving.

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 VW T6 MPG

Being the newest model, the T6 is up to Euro 6 standards. It can accept AdBlue, which helps the performance, and is most prepared for modern roads and driving standards. Made from 2015 on, the T6 is the current model available on the market, with the 6.1 now available to purchase from new.

Data here is taken from Real MPG on Honest John and Parkers

Source

MPG

Type of data

Parkers (T6 California Beach Edition) 31.7-34.9 WLTP (Standard Test)
Honest John (T6 California) 37.0 Real MPG Average from Drivers
Honest John (T6 Transporter) 33.9 Real MPG Average from Drivers

For the T6, a good MPG would be 35 as an average, however bigger engines or Sportline models will have a lower MPG if driven harder.

What does the future hold for VWs in the face of stricter standards?

While only just announced, a new Hybrid T7 is on the way, which should improve MPG for greater fuel economy. In early 2022, a new electric VW Buzz with an estimated range of 250 miles is also expected, also boosting the reach into modern motoring.

Which is the most fuel-efficient VW campervan?

Based on our research, the VW T6 comes out on top of all Volkswagen campervans.

However, there’s nothing to say that a driver of a newly mapped and upgraded T25/T3 couldn’t achieve a higher daily MPG based on driving style, route, and attention to detail.

Best ways to improve the fuel economy of your campervan

  • Remove excess weight when not needed. If you’re using the van as a daily driver as well as a family holiday van, then take out what’s not needed. Excess weight increases fuel consumption.
  • Regularly service and check all your campervan parts are up to date. A broken or older part will not work at best performance, which can affect the overall fuel economy.
  • Use the best tyres. While those large alloys may look great in photos, they could be negatively impacting your MPG. The correct wheel size for your campervan will help, thanks to rolling resistance.

Being the specialist supplier of parts for all VWs, we can help you to find parts that will improve your fuel economy. Speak to one of our team today.

For more information about tailoring insurance policies to your campervan or motorhome, whether you’re after affordable premiums, or something with that little bit more protection, consider coverage from the experts at Just Kampers Insurance.

Written by: Jason Sims

Jason is a Marketing Executive at Just Kampers who is a fully-fledged VW enthusiast, with over 20 years’ experience in keeping Volkswagens old and new on the road, he currently owns a 69 Cal Look Beetle, and enjoys attending VW shows and Camping with friends and family.

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