Volkswagen Bus

Driving the 1993 Volkswagen Bus
The 1993 Volkswagen Bus had a 109-horsepower 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine, but at 3,800 pounds, it was not enough to move the Bus with much verve.
The 1993 Volkswagen Bus had a 109-horsepower 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine, but at 3,800 pounds, it was not enough to move the Bus with much verve.
© Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Driving the 1993 Volkswagen Bus gave some clue about why it was now called the EuroVan. Despite its now minivan-conventional front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout, driving the 1993 Volkswagen Bus was a distinctly European experience.

The longer wheelbase took the front doors off the wheel arches, so it was easier to climb into the front buckets than before, but getting into or out of a EuroVan still was not as easy as in most rival minvians. Once aboard, the cabin was more luxurious than ever and the seats were more supportive, but the interior was still teutonically austere compared with that of competitors.

EuroVan's German character also came through in a suspension that noticed most every pavement flaw but provided a relatively flat ride and fine overall control. Noise from engine and road were quite evident, though wind rush at highway speeds was surprisingly low.

Gauges and controls were unobstructed, but the additional controls necessitated by the standard front and rear air conditioning on uplevel models made for a confusing array of climate buttons, levers, and dials.

A modern dashboard layout helped, but the EuoVan driving position still was not as car-like as most Americans would have desired.
© Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Compared to the car like driving positions of rival minivans, EuroVan's steering wheel was still fixed at a bus like horizontal angle. Visibility was nearly panoramic, though as many as five headrests could be visible through the rearview mirror, confusing the view aft.

Braking was by ventilated front discs and rear drums, with an anti-lock system--unavailable on Vanagon--a new option. A driver-side air bag, which had become standard on most other minivans by 1993, was not available, however.

The only EuroVan model offered in the U.S. was the seven-seat passenger version. The Camper was superseded by an optional Weekender Package that included a pop-up roof with an integral double bed plus a refrigerated cooler and window curtains and screens. The usual assortment of commercial and utility models, as well as a 130.7-inch wheelbase camper, were offered in other markets.

Volkswagen Bus loyalists could see that EuroVan was true to traditional VW-van virtues of lots of room and utility in a manageably sized package. But the world had changed. High style, car like comfort, and sport-sedan acceleration were the fashion now.

For once, EuroVan prices were in line with rivals, starting in the mid $16,000s to about $22,000, though options such as automatic transmission ($895) anti-lock brakes ($853), power windows and locks, and cruise control ($765) could push up the price. The Weekender Package was a hefty $2,530.

The American public was unenthusiastic. EuroVan sales in the U.S. totaled just 5,634 for 1993. VW didn't formally introduce a 1994 Volkswagen Bus, instead selling off some 4,675 leftover 1993 EuroVans.

A roomy cabin with supportive seats was a highlight, but the EuroVan still seemed out of step with minivan trends, and U.S. sales slowed to a trickle.
© Volkswagen of America, Inc.

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