1990 MODEL YEAR OVERVIEW
Eight models of the Vanagon were built for the USA market in model year 1990.
For the first time in the USA market, a very basic Vanagon was offered. Not a GL or even an L model, it was only named "Vanagon" with no sub-model suffix. VW removed the GL Syncro from it's lineup in favor of a simpler Vanagon Syncro (no L or GL suffix). These "new" base Vanagons had rear-facing seats like recent year's WLE's and Carats, removable rubber mats instead of carpet, steel bumpers, and tween upholstery. VW even deleted standard opening wing windows, armrests, and full wheel covers on these basic models. The other model addition for 1990 was the Multivan which came with a camper style pop-top combined with the seating arrangement for seven like the Carat model. Sort of a "pop-top Carat".
Five paint colors were available on Vanagons for 1990:
Pastel White, Flash Silver Metallic, Orly Blue Metallic, and Bordeaux Red Metallic. Not all colors available on all models. However, there is at least one known example of a Dove Blue Metallic (a color from earlier years) 1990 Vanagon. The Vanagon Carat WLE only came with Tornado Red paint.
As began in 1988, Volkswagen's stated horsepower for the Vanagon's 2.1L boxer engine was 90HP comped with 95HP for 1986 and 1987, though no discernible differences account for the reduction in rated power.
Volkswagen sold 6,368 Vanagons in the USA in model year 1990
(According to CarSalesBase.com)
For 1990, VW initiated more aggressive pricing aimed at providing much more value and added content. Air conditioning became standard on all Vanagons except the "base" models and MSRP prices dropped by about $3,000 compared to comparably equipped 1989 models. Sales of 1990 Vanagons increased 28% over the 1989 model year.
Notable 1990 features:
While there is not much to distinguish a 1990 GL from the 1989 GL models, there are many distinctions for the newly available base Vanagon models. One cosmetic change was the bumpers on the '89 GL were black and switched to metallic grey for the '90 GL.
The 1990 Vanagon models share carryover features from 1989 including:
- Black window trim without the chrome molding inserts (1989 - 1991)
- 2 Black plastic front grilles (1983.5 - 1991)
- Rectangular primary headlights, separate square high beam lights
(1986 - 1991)
- Large VW logo in center of upper front grill (1988 - 1991)
- Large VW logo in center of rear hatch (1988 - 1991)
- Black plastic vents at the rear of the rear side windows (1988 - 1991)
For 1990 the GL featured metallic grey colored Aero-styled bumpers with matching rocker panels and body colored power rear-view mirrors.
1990 GL Campers had black aero-styled bumpers and body colored power mirrors, and did not include rocker panels on the sides between the wheels.
Like 1989, the Carat model included the rear-facing "jumpseats" behind the front seats and metallic grey rocker panels on the lower sides matching the aero-styled bumpers. These bumpers and rocker panels are metallic grey. Carat models also came with body colored power rear-view mirrors.
The 1990-1/2 Carat Wolfsburg Limited Edition (WLE) continued with features and layout of the 1989 and 1990 Carat models including the rear-facing "jumpseats" behind the front seats. The single distinction of the Carat WLE compared to other 1990 Carat models is that they featured Tornado Red paint and of course the WLE emblem.
New "base" model Vanagon had many distinctions, compared to GL models. Some previously standard features were eliminated altogether on the base model, and some were optional. Below is a comparison:
1990 Brochure Gallery (Click any page to open)
Excerpts from the Vanagon Brochure
Pricing Clips from 1990 Window Stickers
1990 Features and Options
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