Just about everyone over the age of 35 has memories of the original VW bus. There was a time when the microbus was quite literally everywhere. Hippies, surfers, party animals, family campers, transplanted Europeans and a whole bunch of regular folks drove a bus.
They were inexpensive, reliable, practical and more than anything, they were one of the coolest modes of transportation available. That level of cool turned the VW bus into an icon that continues today as kids are introduced to Fillmore the groovy VW in the Cars movies.
Ten years ago, Volkswagen toured a concept called the microbus. Bus fans all over the world clamored for more info and begged VW to build it. For whatever reason, the brass at VW felt the time was not right for the concept. Now that the idea has marinated for a decade, the Bulli concept has come to life. Originally unveiled at the 2011 Geneva show, we saw it at the 2011 New York Auto Show which is on now.
The most obvious comparison to the original is the visual statement created by the two tone paint scheme, but the efficiency and functionality assets are there too. Designed as a six seater, the Bulli has something we haven’t seen on the market in years: A bench seat for 3 in the front! The rear seat is also a bench. Just like the original, these two benches fold down to create a bed. The Bulli adds an element of cool to the minivan by including an entertainment system that is controlled by an iPad that is mounted in the dash and is removable.
In keeping with the times, the plan is for Bulli to have the front wheels driven by an electric motor rather than a gas engine behind the rear wheels. For those of us who are firmly gripped by range anxiety, VW are quick to point out that there could be gasoline and diesel powerplants as an alternative.
Hopefully, if fans cheer hard enough, VW will actually build the Bulli. I know one household that would proudly have one!