Contrary to popular belief, the once-popular Volkswagen Eurovan has never really gone away. After being outperformed in sales by a new wave of Ford-, GM-, and Toyota-built minivans, Volkswagen ceased marketing and selling the Eurovan as a mainstream minivan following the 1993 model year. Volkswagen continued to sell a longer wheelbase model, marketed as an RV camper, which is basically a houseboat on wheels. Needless to say, sales had been so scarce that when a new Volkswagen Eurovan was announced for the 1999 model year, many people thought this was another Volkswagen re-launch of a one-time popular VW cult-favorite, like the new Beetle.
Indeed, the Volkswagen Eurovan is a direct descendant of the Microbus, a legendary hippie hauler in the 1960s. The new Volkswagen Eurovan isn’t the hippie bus of yesteryear. Gone is the obnoxiously loud and underpowered four-cylinder engine. This is a multi-use van that can act as a minivan, cargo van, family van, weekend camper, soccer team carrier, or mobile office, complete with a conference table. The new Eurovan is available with two trims, the GLA and the Multivan (MV), both of which have a sporty V-6 engine that can really move despite the vehicle looking like a box on wheels.
Body Styles: van
Engines: 2.8-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Volkswagen Eurovan GLS, Volkswagen Eurovan MV
It has been five years since the Eurovan has been sold in the U.S. as a passenger van. The 1999 model comes with a 2.8-liter, 140 horsepower, V-6 engine with 177 ft-lb of torque at 3200 rpms. New structural improvements and safety features make the 1999 Eurovan a respectable addition to the burgeoning minivan market in North America.
The Eurovan rides a wheelbase of 115 inches. The van measures at 188.5 inches in length, 72.4 inches in width, and is 76.4 inches tall. Aesthetically, this is not an attractive-looking vehicle. The Eurovan is long, high, and rectangular. Its nose is almost bulldog-like. Its box on wheels exterior is ugly in comparison to the looks of its minivan competitors. This vehicle’s selling point is by far its use and practicality rather than its looks. Of the two available trims, the GLS base is the closest to what Americans commonly consider a minivan.
The Eurovan’s interior is somewhat underwhelming. The most unique aspect is its seating plan. Both trims seat up to seven occupants. Inside the base GLS is a seating plan comprised of two front seats, two middle row seats, and two rear seats. All seats are forward facing. The seats in the middle row are pushed to the far left wall. This creates a wide and accessible foyer for anyone entering the vehicle through the side slider door. This makes it incredibly easy to access the rear seats. Even better is the Eurovan MV’s interior design. Initially, the MV’s interior setup may be off-putting to some. There are two front seats, two rear facing center seats, and a long rear bench seat that is forward facing. There is a large carpeted space between the center and rear seats that isn’t particularly eye catching. While strange looking, once the vehicle is used every day, the practicality and usefulness of the interior layout begins to make sense.
For example, the space between the center and back seats is ideal for boxes and cargo. The seats can even be removed for additional cargo space. Those strange rear-facing center seats don’t look quite as odd once a conference or dinner table is extended down from the driver sidewall. There is even an overhead fluorescent lamp that hangs down for light. Additionally, the rear seats can be converted into a bed for two adults. The MV also has an optional Weekender Package, which includes a pop-up sun/moon roof, an additional bed for two more adults, a small refrigerator located at the base of the second row chair that faces the back of the vehicle, swiveling captain’s chairs, and sliding windows.
Performance & Handling
Proving that looks can be deceiving, the Eurovan might be one of the fastest vans on the market. Powered by Volkswagen’s well-known VR-6 engine, the Eurovan can move from zero to 60 mph in roughly eight seconds. The vehicle maneuvers nicely for its size, even while loaded with cargo. Due to its height, the van can feel a bit top heavy while driving. It is advisable that corners be taken with caution. Braking is excellent with power-assisted front and rear discs, vented fronts, anti-lock backup, and traction control.
There are no available NHTSA or IIHS crash test results for the 1999 Volkswagen Eurovan. The vehicle comes standard with driver and passenger frontal airbags.
EPA Fuel Economy
Volkswagen Eurovan: 15/20 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Eurovan MV: 15/20 mpg city/highway
- Roomy center and back seats
- A lot of headroom
- Responsive steering
- Flexibility of MV model’s cabin arrangement
You Won't Like
- Ugly yet distinctive exterior
- Wind noise on highways
- High price
- Awkward driving position
The Swiss Army knife of vans with so many uses.
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