It seems like a hundred years ago that Volkswagen made a bus. It was a bit crude with a noisy, underpowered 4-cylinder, but as with the Beetle, the bus was novel enough to develop a cult following among those who carried flowers rather than credit cards.
When the crop of U.S. built mini-vans arrived, civility took precedence over crudeness, and the bus went on hiatus.
Lost in all the attention to the U.S. mini-vans has been the return of the VW bus, the EuroVan. Thanks to a 2.8-liter, 140-h.p. V-6, the days of 4-cylinder commotion are just memories. Still not a lot of power, but a lot less noise.
The best feature of the GLS we tested was the seating plan. Two front, two middle, two rear, with the two middle seats pushed to the far left wall to create a wide vestibule when you open the side slider. Couldn’t be easier to get in the second and, especially, the third seats without having to lower and flip or flip-and-slide any other seats. Very nice touch.
But, EuroVan stands high and feels narrow so you feel top heavy on the road. Take corners slowly. Those slab sides invite the wind to snap against the sheet metal.
Nice features include ABS and traction control as standard, along with a list of goodies such as dual-zone climate control; dust/pollen filter; cruise control; AM/FM stereo with cassette; power locks, windows and (heated) mirrors; and rear-window wiper/washer.
Base price: $29,900. Power glass sunroof at $1,000, 15-inch alloy wheels at $315 and heated front seats at $400, plus $565 for freight, pushed the sticker above $32,000.
Montana with its entertainment center, Safari with AWD and Sienna with car-like ride and handling are better values.