2001 Volkswagen Microbus Concept
Some vehicles just make you smile. The Microbus Concept that VW introduced at the 2001 Detroit Auto Show is one of those.
Designed (where else) at VW's surf-central design studio in Simi Valley, Calif., the Microbus took a fresh look at the 1950s original during the post-Y2K zenith of minivan popularity in North America. The airy exterior looks comfortable riding on its 20-inch rims. Running gear was off-the-shelf VW engine with a 3.2-liter narrow angle V-6. Inside, the pleasingly retro interior creates a completely modern and functional space.
The fact that VW developed such a great concept makes the retail reality of the EuroVan and Routan that much more disappointing. We believe the Microbus Concept was a significant missed opportunity, and maybe VW thinks this too? They introduced a second bus concept in 2011 known as the Bulli. Hope springs eternal... just like wildflowers.