By on February 28, 2011

It’s been ten long years since Volkswagen stunned a generation with its Microbus concept, a modern interpretation of the ’60s icon. That vehicle was supposed to go into production on the T5 platform by 2003, as a way to introduce a new Volkswagen van to America. Instead, in one of the crueler bait-and-switch moves in recent memory, VW rebadged a Dodge Caravan for the US and kept the T5 in Europe.

In the meantime, the Microbus concept remains in the minds of VW’s American fans as a sign of what might have been, and a marker for when things started to wrong for VW of America. But now, the wait is over. American Microbus fans rejoice, for Volkswagen has heard your decade of muttered prayers and has brought back the Microbus. As a (tiny) concept. Yeah, it’s electrically-driven, and yeah, it’s got iPad integration, but it’s just a concept and VW isn’t even hinting at production plans. Tease me once, shame on me… tease me twice, and you’d better build the damn thing!

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28 Comments on “VW Microbus Fans, Your Wait Is Over...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    How much for the xB with a body kit?
     
    What ya mean it’s a VW?  Never-mind then.

  • avatar
    cmoibenlepro

    This is not a van, it has nothing in common with the microbus except the two-tone paint.

  • avatar

    Definitely in the Xb – Cube class, and not like the three-row buses of yore. This is obviously based on the Up platform, and VW had shown similar-sized versions of an Up MPV variant before.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Seems more like a Ford Flex without the huge snout.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I think Toyota has some extra capacity based on current Scion sales. Perhaps they can supply a few Xb’s and VW can sell them as Routan-II’s. This is a microbus like a Ford Mustang is a microbus. VW can’t do anything right.

  • avatar

    A Kia Soul with a VW logo?  They can do better than that – and they’d better if they plan to sell any.

    Nothing wrong with the Soul per se, but it isn’t a Microbus. Not remotely.

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    Looks like a Golf with bench seats.
     
    Where the hell are you supposed to store all the hippies in this thing, anyway?

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Ugly, unreliable, and overpriced – what a great mix.  Hey VW: Don’t think we’ve forgotten how awful the Vanagon and Eurovan were.
     
    How does VW think this helps their plan for world domination?

  • avatar
    greg

    I got your microbus right here.
    http://www.volkswagen.com/br/pt/carros/kombi.html
     

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Ohhh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to buy that.
       
      Sadly, though, it’ll never happen.  Government “safety” standards, once again…
       
      One of my favorite cars of the past was my Vanagon Wesfalia…others have panned the Vanagon, but I found the driving position very comfortable and the lack of power tolerable.  Ran like a champ, and quiet for the driver with the engine in the rear.
       
      Alas, although the car itself was superb, VW service sucked like a Hoover.  A fuel pump issue turned into a dealer recommendation for a new TANK; and when I eschewed that in favor of a boil-out and relining, and the new pump then failed, the dealer left me hanging.
       
      That’s three-for-three with German cars.  I’d buy the Kombi; but I’d never buy a more ordinary car with the criminal mark of VW or MADE IN GERMANY on it.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    If you can’t make a camper out of it, it’s not a VW van.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    It’s great. I’d consider it for my next car.

  • avatar
    rjones

    “Your Wait Is Over”
     
    Uh, no it isn’t. I’m not giving up my 89 Westfalia for this.

  • avatar
    goacom

    Kudos to VW for realizing their horrid mistake in the Routan. Hopefully this PT cruiser clone will do better!

  • avatar
    MSerapis

    I am so sick of VW America by now. now that VW is one of the three biggest car companies in the world, they are starting to act like it. Like GM, or at least the old GM if you believe much has changed in Detroit. Another front wheel drive mall cruiser for the lowest denominator in the American car market that rests on the laurels of something that was actually original and almost revolutionary, sigh..

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      …Because VW is not the VW of yesteryear; and the people who made it what it once was, are long gone.
       
      The cross-pollination through absorption of NSU and Audi has taken the company full-circle.  It’s now a totally conventional outfit, conventional in product design and in marketing.  They no longer try to offer the buyer a better, more cost-effective choice.
       
      They want to be Audi; as Audi wanted to be, and became, another Mercedes,  Soon, if the planners have their way, VW will try to out-Daimler Daimler directly; and at that point they will have lost all reason to exist.

    • 0 avatar

      Agree. Like the New Beetle, this thing is all style (and not very good style at that) and no substance. If they were to build a real Microbus–that is, something to compete with minivans, but which had all the style of the original, along with Golf-like handling, I bet it would sell. And if they offered it with a stick, I’d have trouble hanging onto my wallet, even though I have no reason to buy a minivan.
      If they want something to compete with Cubes and original xBs, they can’t harken back to the Microbus. At least not without doing a much, much, much better job of it than they do with this thing. This is sad

      • 0 avatar
        janeq

        I was following development of the original concept. They even sent me an email asking if I would be willing to spend in the low 30 thousands for the car. My answer was no. The car can’t be built to modern safety standards in the size it once was for a VW price.

  • avatar
    akitadog

    If they could stretch this thing to the A4 wheelbase, add an extra row of seats (2 kids in the way back) and throw in the ubiquitous, yet extremely tunable, 2.0T, with, say, 230-235hp/250-260tq, they could have a real winner on their hands.
     
    It could be the perfect answer to the segment that’s starting to make gains in the U.S., the compact MPV, i.e. Mazda5, Ford C-Max, the various former 2-row CUVs that are now 3-row CUVs. VW needs to wise up, trash the Routan, and get on the ball here.

  • avatar
    powerblue

    That thing is beautiful. Even though it will probably leave me stranded in the desert because its a VW what the hell right? I’ll buy it.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Introducing the new VW Scion XD! I like it, though, for looks alone. Anyone remember Chrysler’s micro-minivans by Mitsubishi of 20-some years ago? Eagle Summit? Came in two sizes, short and shorter. If this trend continues, we’ll have real MINIvans again!

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      Chrysler’s still got some PT Cruisers left for sale. The mini minivan didn’t go away– it just got hinged doors.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      You’re kidding! PT’s still on the lot? Didn’t they stop building them in June or July? I’m very surprised, as they were pretty good cars. I always fancied the “Dream Cruiser” woodgrain sides, as it was done right. Come to think of it, the back of the roof lines of the Summit wagons sort of resembled the PT!

  • avatar
    janeq

    Why can’t TTAC find out what is going on with this car? The truth is that this news is years old! Dead? Alive? Or what?


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