I have a '95 T4 non turbo Diesel. It's hit 150k and never missed a beat until the alternator died last Summer - but I forgive it for that. Is as solid as a rock. We love it.
It was a van but I converted it into a camper too. Keeping it's flexibility I designed it so I can take the seats/speaker units and camping kit out of the back in 45 mins and its a bare interior for moving whatevers needed. Don't how we would manage without it. It takes us all camping / cycling etc. Carries coal, logs and I can get the kids home from school with their bikes on the back all in one trip if I have to! It's fitted with a dark carpeted interior to hide the rigours of day to day life
I have been on mad 'Ebay runs' across the uk shoving two sofa's in it - buying and selling on the same journey!
Its simple & young enough to be reliable but old enough to fit it up yourself and look tidy if you are careful.
Older vw's (t25 and on) are a labour of love 9 times out of 10 with the amount of time/£ you have to invest. There are exceptions but hey.
To buy and fit bits to a newer van to customise it for your needs and it still look rather than bodged good means shelling out more.. I also wouldn't want to chuck a ton of logs into a t5
Vws are ace. If I had to choose between one or a car? I would take ANY type of Vw T series any day.