1999 Volkswagen EuroVan

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1999 Volkswagen EuroVan

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Available in 2 styles:  EuroVan Passenger Van shown
Asking Price Range
$3,823–$12,651
Estimated MPG

15 city / 20 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 2 of 5

By 

The Detroit News

Critiquing the 1999 Volkswagen EuroVan GLS is strictly a numbers game for savvy consumers.

If you quantify everything from gas mileage and horsepower to passenger and cargo space, domestic vans such as the Ford Windstar and Dodge Grand Caravan have it all over their German competitor.

Granted, we've yet to see packages offered on the domestics that include VW features such as a pop-up roof with two-person bed and refrigerator. But unless you are planning to retire and tour the United States via the campground circuit, the EuroVan isn't going to cut it for everyday carpools and commutes.

He: Call me strange, but I actually enjoyed driving the EuroVan. It was definitely a different experience from piloting one of the domestic minivans. Unlike the Ford, Chrysler and General Motors products, the Volkswagen doesn't feel the least bit car-like. You also find yourself constantly making allowances for its idiosyncrasies. For instance, the EuroVan is so tall and tippy-feeling, you tend to take hard corners a bit slower than you would in a Windstar or a Caravan, even though the VW is front-wheel drive and generally has pretty good traction. The one thing I never did get used to is the intrusion of the front wheel wells into the passenger compartment. There's just no place to put your left foot if you're driving, or your right foot if you're a passenger.

She: I'm enough of a child of the '60s to remember the old VW Microbus that some of my hippie friends drove - and the little Matchbox car my brother had with the Flower Power logos. So what I'm saying is a peace sign on the side would have made me feel more at home. But there's not a lot of playfulness going on here.

He: Not unless you're into playing Ralph Kramden from the Honeymooners. You can easily pretend you're a bus driver in the EuroVan. But I expect some owners, especially parents, aren't going to like the compromises. Even with the new V-6 engine, which is gutsier than the old five-cylinder, the EuroVan has barely enough low-end torque to accelerate away from a traffic light before quickly running out of steam. The engine itself is much smaller than the sixes offered in the domestics, and far less powerful. And yet the fuel economy is considerably worse - only 15 miles per gallon in city driving, according to the EPA.

She: Well, I know why I gave the VW only two stars - lack of side airbags and lack of a fourth door, not even a power option for the one sliding door. And it's grossly overpriced at $30,000 for the GLS. Sure, you get standard features such as power windows, air conditioning,power door locks, lighted vanity mirrors and an AM/FM stereo cassette. You also get standard anti-lock brakes and daytime running lights. But you said you enjoyed driving the VW, yet only gave it one star. Why?

He: In nearly every quantifiable measurement, the EuroVan is inferior to the long-wheelbase domestic vans. For many minivan shoppers, that means the Volks wagen is sub-par. Having said that, you still have to take into account the intangibles - the EuroVan's quirkiness and its decidedly German flavor. This sounds silly, but I really liked the seat fabric. I know you really liked the floor mats. And, yes, it was fun to drive, but I'd sure hate to live in one for more than a week.

She: You've just put your finger on why I wouldn't buy one either - livability. I'm like a lot of moms - I've been spoiled by the competition, some of which has been finessed by engineers who are moms. The VW's cabin seems like it was designed by someone who never had to lug a diaper bag around. Few amenities such as cargo nets or cupholders to hold juice boxes. Just too industrial for people like me. Plus I got whacked in the head by a driver's side door that seemed to have a mind of its own. Ouch.

He: I was shocked to come out last week and find the sliding side door frozen shut when the temperature was about 20 degrees. And this was with no prec tation. That doesn't bode well for folks who have to weather a long, harsh winter like we do here in Michigan.

She: I want so badly to like the EuroVan as much as I liked the New Beetle. But there's no comparison - no gushy feelings with this VW. Now maybe if they worked in a bud vase on the dashboard ....




    Expert Reviews 2 of 5

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