What's New for 2001
The EuroVan sees many upgrades for the 2001 model year; chief among them is a more powerful 201-horsepower V6 engine. Refinements have also been made to the electronic stability control system. Other changes include a new premium stereo, single seats for second-row seating and standard integrated foglights.
Despite myriad shortcomings, or perhaps because of them, the Volkswagen Vanagon and its successor, the EuroVan, became people-mover cult favorites. Last marketed to Americans in non-RV guise in 1993, the EuroVan returned in 1999 with several improvements designed to make the oddball entry more palatable to American tastes. This year, the EuroVan sees further development in several key areas.
Motivated by a new-and-improved 24-valve VR6 engine, this powerplant gains a 61-horsepower increase for 2001, bringing output to a healthy 201 peak horsepower. Charged with hauling more than two tons of steel, plastic and glass, the EuroVan easily keeps up with traffic, though the 210 horsepower Honda Odyssey and 230 horsepower Chrysler minivans still have an advantage here. We enjoy the VR6's broad torque band, which allows the EuroVan to feel quicker than it truly is.
Another surprise is the EuroVan's competent handling. In parking lots, a 38.4-foot turning circle and power rack-and-pinion steering mean easy maneuverability. On the highway, a four-wheel independent suspension keeps the van planted solidly on the ground, despite a large amount of body roll. This year sees further refinements to the EuroVan's electronic stability control (ESP) which helps it stay in control during inclement weather or emergency maneuvers.
Two trim levels are available: GLS and Multivan (MV). Order a GLS, and you get seating for seven forward-facing passengers, 15-inch alloy wheels, ABS and a six-speaker sound system. The MV also seats seven, but two riders are looking out the back window and the third-row bench converts into a bed. An optional Weekender package is available on the MV that includes a pop-up roof with a two-person bed, a small refrigerator, swiveling captain's chairs, side sliding windows with screens and an additional battery. Standard equipment on all EuroVans includes dual front and side airbags, daytime running lights, power windows and locks, air conditioning with pollen filtration, cruise control, heated washer nozzles, rear wiper with defroster, power mirrors and an automatic transmission. A sliding sunroof is available as long as you don't opt for the Weekender package, and GLS buyers can get leather trim with heated front seats. For 2001, Volkswagen outfitted the EuroVan with a new second-row center console and foglights.
The EuroVan Camper continues to be available for the U.S. market. It has a longer wheelbase than the GLS and MV and is capable of seating up to six passengers with an optional and removable two-person center bench seat.
EuroVans are covered by a 5-year/50,000-mile powertrain warranty, and all scheduled maintenance for the first two years is free. Pull the seats out and the GLS is capable of moving 150 cubic feet of cargo. Buy an MV with the Weekender package, and you've got a full-fledged camper that still fits in the garage. Though unique and full of personality, the EuroVan is nonetheless battling it out in a highly competitive market where long-time stalwarts like the Dodge Grand Caravan and impressive upstarts like the Honda Odyssey offer superior cargo space, performance and refinement at a lower price.