Volkswagen Bus

1993 Volkswagen Bus: The EuroVan
With the redesigned 1993 Volkswagen Bus, the EuroVan, VW exchanged rear-engine, rear-wheel drive, for a modern front-engine, front-drive layout.
With the redesigned 1993 Volkswagen Bus, the EuroVan, VW exchanged rear-engine, rear-wheel drive, for a modern front-engine, front-drive layout.
© Volkswagen of America, Inc.

VW put an all-new people mover on the market and introduced yet another new name. Here was the 1993 Volkswagen Bus: the EuroVan.

VW had not offered a Vanagon-generation Volkswagen Bus for the 1992 model year; dealers had enough leftover 1991 versions. Clearly something different was needed.

The1993 Volkswagen Bus, the EuroVan, arrived in April 1992 as a fourth-generation design with an entirely new powertrain layout. The 1993 EuroVan exchanged the time-honored rear-engine/rear-drive configuration for front-engine/front-wheel drive.

VW pitched it not as a "minivan" rival to the Chrysler brands, but as a "midsize" van capable of taking on the Astro and Aerostar.

Indeed, with a wheelbase of 115 inches and an overall length of 186.6, it was larger than the Vanagon. And it looked different. But the big news was the new powertrain.

The only engine offered in U.S.-market EuroVans was a 2.5-liter overhead-cam inline five-cylinder. It made 109 horsepower at 4500 rpm and 140 pounds/feet of torque at a low 2200 rpm. The new five-cylinder drove the front wheels through a standard five-speed manual transaxle or an optional four-speed automatic. Base curb weight was 3,806 pounds, about 340 more than the comparable Vanagon.

Acceleration was a little better than that of the last Vanagons, whose 2.1-liter boxer had ended its run at 90 horsepower. But a EuroVan still wouldn't zip in and out of traffic or pass on a two-lane road without a lot of advanced planning. And maintaining speed on a long uphill grade still required downshifting from fifth gear to third.

EuroVan's body was sleeker than the Vanagon's, with a longer nose and chiseled contours. It could not be called handsome, but then VW's vans had lost a big chunk of charm with each succeeding redesign. None was more spacious that the EuroVan, however. Few vans were.

VW's desire to maximize interior volume led to a new, more-compact suspension. In front was a double-wishbone design that reverted to torsion bars instead of coil springs. In back was a semi-trailing arm and coil-spring setup.

The EuroVan was the fourth-generation Volkswagen Bus. Base prices were in a reasonable $16,000-$22,000 range, but it was still soundly outsold by American minivans.
© Volkswagen of America, Inc.

In width and height, the EuroVan was within fractions of an inch of the Vanagon, but managed to furnish a full 201 cubic feet of space with the rear seats removed. It could swallow a 4x8 sheet of plywood. Buyers had to go to a full-size domestic van to equal such capacity.

When they did choose a EuroVan, what was it like to drive? Find out on the next page.

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