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2004 Minivan Buyer's Guide
by Steve Siler

Volkswagen Eurovan
VW EuroVan minivan

As with the Chevrolet Astro, you may be surprised that this relic is still sold in the age of the sleek and slippery minivan. But alas, it is, and we couldn't be happier about it. Why? Because it is different and interesting and-believe it or not-even charming.

How, pray tell, could this capacious breadbox be charming? Well, simply because it isn't anything like anything else, save the VW box-o-matics that came before it. Yes, it still has all the design panache of shipping container. Yes, it still pitches, dives and rolls around when to ask it to change direction. And yes, you still face a steering wheel that takes a most bus-like, nonadjustable angle to the dashboard. But truly, all these eccentricities only add to its appeal.

Now, not all is antiquated with the Eurovan. Today's version comes standard with a 201-hp V-6 engine that is infinitely better than the wimpy four-cylinder offered a couple of years ago. ABS and stability control are also standard. What's more, the Eurovan no longer charges a premium price for all of its eccentriciteies; the base GLS starts under $27K, while the MV starts at about $28K. The MV, by the way, offers two rear-facing bucket seats, with a pop-out picnic table between it and the rear bench, turning the van into a virtual living room on wheels.

Of course, what would a VW van be if you couldn't get a pop-top camper package? For just $3335 more than the MV model's sub-$28K base price, you can get the Weekender package, which adds a two-person bed that appears upon launching the spring-loaded roof skyward. Our favorite part? That is the only vehicle you can buy that comes with five sets of curtains. Presumably for, a-hem, privacy.