2001 EuroVan New Car Test Drive
Since the dawn of time, or at least around about 1950, Volkswagen has produced a minivan. We didn't call it such then. Whether in its original Beetle-based rear-engine configuration, or its later front-engine/front-drive layout, Volkswagen's minivans have been practical to a fault, seemingly having more room inside than the outside would allow. But they've also been slow. Even the 2000 Eurovan, with 140 horsepower under its blunt snout, was more barn than barnburner.
But for 2001, VW fired up the Eurovan. The '01 has almost half again as much horsepower with a new 201-horsepower version of its VR6 V6 engine.
And the price has tumbled more than $5,000, from $31,300 last year to $26,200 for the '01 models on sale in March.
An electronic stability program (ESP) comes standard on all 2001 models, along with 16-inch alloy wheels. Enhancements including a new premium stereo, individual chairs for second row seating and standard integrated fog lights help further Americanize the Eurovan.
In a world of increasingly similar minivans, each striving to be more car-like than the other, the Volkswagen EuroVan is decidedly different. It's shaped like a box where others are round and sleek. It has a significantly higher driving position, and it lacks a left-side sliding door. It also offers unique options, such as rear-facing second-row seats and a camper body. Among today's sleek minivans, the EuroVan stands out in more ways than one.
Two standard-wheelbase EuroVan models are available: the $26,200 GLS and $27,700 Multivan or MV.
The primary difference between the GLS and MV models is their seating arrangements. EuroVan GLS contains traditional forward-facing center and rear seats, with last year's optional individual seats for the second row made standard this year. The MV replaces the second-row bench with a pair of rear-facing seats -- positioned back-to-back with the front seats.
In addition to the GLS and MV models, Volkswagen offers a Winnebago Camper model with a longer wheelbase (by 15.7 inches). It's just the thing for that big trip to Yellowstone. It can be outfitted with a pop-up roof, full-swiveling captain's chairs, two-burner LP gas stove, refrigerator and other amenities.
A $3,235 Weekender Package available on the MV comes with a pop-up canopy top and many of the other amenities of the Camper without the longer wheelbase.