So when do you call it a bus? When is it called a van?

2y ago


So, if you go to most car enthusiast and say "I'm thinking of buying a VW Van", the first words they utter will probably be "It's called a bus"..........Why?

VW Microbus

So VW vans are called buses, or is it VW buses are considered vans? Either way, I'm already confused and I'm no more then two lines into this article. No matter the wording, back in 1950 Volkswagen released to the world the first "MicroBus". Actually, the DKW Schnellaster had put out the DKW F89 L in 1949, but they called it just a van. So the first microbus was actually called just a van, even though it actually was a microbus in denial. Or was it that the VW microbus was a van in denial? I am now two handfuls of hair balder.


The term "mini-van" didn't come about until the 1980s with the Dodge Caravan. Though Ford did have a concept kicking around in the early 1970s called the Carousel. They where touting it as a "garagable van" though, not as a Bus.

Ford Carousel Concept

First Gen Dodge Caravan

So, you would think you could conduce that all Volkswagen vans are considered "buses" and anything else is just a van. Nope, that would be a misconception. If you speak with most VW bus fanatics, they will roll their eyes if anything past the Type 3 is called a "Bus". They themselves, have a big debate amongst each other on what the designation should be.

2014 VW Bus?

So, being a Volkswagen "Bus" driver myself, I posted the same question to my trusted VW bus fans on various online forums to see if I could find that elusive answer. The forums combusted into a sea of savage flames accusing one another on not knowing the true facts and others calling the next one "idiot".

VW VANagon "Bus"?

The best answer that I could find was, "If you sit on the front seat, it's a bus. If you sit behind it, then it's a van." Which made perfect sense to me.......wait, no it doesn't. The early "Vans" of the 50s and 60s had similar setups as the Volkswagen type 2 and I don't remember any of them being called a "Bus".

Early GMC Van

So in conclusion, I'm am now bald and still clueless. Is there an answer to this aged old question? The world, may never know, and I sure as has hell don't.

1990 Chevy Van

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