Displaying all 3 2003 Volkswagen EuroVan reviews.
2003 Volkswagen EuroVan GLS Review
Space, the view out [except behind the rear door], handling, road manners, reliability, seat comfort, ride comfort, automatic climate control, unconventional good looks, very impressive foul-weather traction, standard safety features, you won't see 10 of your vehicle at every red light
Fuel mileage, sometimes wonky fuzzy logic in the transmission, turning circle, view out the back of the vehicle
It's Not A Minivan!!! — VW created an ad campaign late in the vehicle's life here in the US to underscore the fact that this vehicle was not a minivan. VW does sell a minivan, just not in the US. It's called the Sharan and they've made it for quite some years now, and they keep threatening to send it over here. But with the minivan on its way out in people's tastes, I doubt we'll ever see it. The Eurovan is large. It's taller and narrower than a Surburban and there is a copious amount of head room and leg room in any seat you partake of. The driver's seat makes you feel like you're operating a city bus, with a steering wheel that has a slightly odd [but not at all uncomfortable] cant to it, and also has you perched over the front wheels. I purchased mine when I learned that VW was no longer going to import their van to the US, ending a greater than 50 year run here. I had to have a piece of history, which is not unusual for me since I also have an '83 GTI [first year in the US, built in the US] and a 1990 Corrado [first year in the US, first US VW with a supercharger], so getting the Eurovan was a no-brainer for me. The last few years of the Eurovan found some New Beetle-esque colors splashed upon them - a bright red and a loud electric blue were available, along with black, silver and white. Most towards the end were silver, as that was the "in" color during that time. It's a step up to get into the vehicle, and both front seats have A-pillar mounted grab handles that tell you they are there for a reason. Once inside, you have a tall, commanding view of everything around you. There is a copious amount of glass in this vehicle, but it still hasn't prevented me from almost backing over a tiny old lady that I couldn't see was there when coming out of a parking space. That's happened twice so far. Third time's a charm. Perhaps a standard feature should have been that trash-truck beeper you hear when Reverse is engaged. The interior materials are status quo VW & Audi from that period - everything clicks, feels, and fits together like the finest craftsmen in the world were tasked in the creation of that part. Shutting any of the doors ends in a vault-like THUNK!, as if the doors are made from half-inch thick steel. This vehicle is large and heavy, make no mistake. The engine is a raucous number, a somewhat rare 24-valve VR6 engine. This engine didn't see much duty in the US, but its 201 hp can propel the Eurovan around with surprising ease, just expect to hear it when you've got the pedal mashed to the carpet. It is completely quiet and civilized while maintaining a constant speed, even at highway speeds. The transmission is a heavy-duty 4-speed, with two modes - normal and sport. Fuzzy logic monitors your lead-footedness and automatically picks the mode it thinks you want. This leads to a bit of a rubber-band effect in the gear changes if you've been playing Speed Racer through the last few red lights and are now wanting to drive like grandma again; it will shift a bit late before going back into normal mode, and the shifts will be much more pronounced and sproingy [???] but usually only for a gear or two. One of the reasons the Eurovan left the US was that it "doesn't compete" with the offerings from other manufacturers, which deemed it to not be competitive. Since this wasn't a minivan, VW wasn't trying to position it as one, and therefore wasn't competitive against them. When others were adding DVD players, 18 cup holders and push-button doors for the lazy show-offs amongst us, VW soldiered on with a solid vehicle on a very solid platform. It has a few niceties such as automatic dual-zone [front & rear] climate control, too many air vents to mention, automatic one-touch down AND up windows, rear sliding windows [no minivans had that feature], full-vehicle overhead lighting, blue gauges with red needles, a decent 6-speaker cassette audio system with a 6-cd changer, seating for seven with four captain's chairs and a wide rear bench, and of course standard ABS, cruise control, and even traction control and Electronic Stability Program which uses the ABS to intervene if it determines the rear of the vehicle is starting to swing around, pulling you back in line on its own. Optional items were less inclined towards poshness and more towards the adventurous, such as an electronic programmable gasoline-powered heater that could warm your vehicle in the morning before you even got in it or while on a camping trip, or the MVP Weekender version with rear-facing middle-row seats, a table and a bed, or the full-blown pop-top camper. What amazed me the most when I got this vehicle was that the VW handling I'm accustomed to was present & accounted for. This van, for all of its height, is highly tossable. It tracks like a vehicle that is much closer to the ground and exhibits none of the negative van-like characteristics you would expect. Even when I do drive it like I've taken leave of my senses, the wide tires have never even tried to squeal which is remarkable to me, considering the grandiose heft above them. If I have any complaint about this vehicle, it would be the dismal fuel mileage; I can only wring 17 mpg on the highway, even on long multi-state trips with nothing but Amoco 93 and Valvoline full-synthetic oil pumping through its veins. This vehicle REQUIRES premium fuel AND synthetic motor oil. It says so everywhere you turn in its literature and on the gas door, due to the ultra-close tolerances in the high-tech engine. 201 hp from a small 2.8 six-cylinder engine is an impressive number, and thus Premium fuel is a must. When I had the original Michelin MXV4 all-season tires, I was getting 21 mpg highway easily, but those tires are rated the lowest in rolling resistance. Putting them back on would restore that mpg number, but I have always opted for BFGoodrich tires about $50 less/each than the Michelins, which have a rolling resistance that is a good bit higher which costs me mpg as a result.
Owner for 4 years, 0 months
Miles Driven per Year:20,000
2003 Volkswagen EuroVan Review
Cost Me More In Repairs Then What I Paid For It — Rubbish, had to rebuild engine, replace clutch, replace turbo, fix electrics, Full service cost an arm and a leg and the air-con broke just before trading it in! Maintenance and repairs on this thing is way too expensive for what it is and what it's meant to be.
Primary Use: Utility (towing boats, transporting cargo, etc.)
Displaying all 3 2003 Volkswagen EuroVan reviews.
Reviews From Other Years
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