The original Volkswagen Bus was the icon of a generation dedicated to peace, free love, and rebellion against the establishment. The Bus served as a fitting mode of transport for such people with its unique design and usability, it served the counter culture lifestyle well. VW’s new concept, the Bulli has a similar appeal to it for modern times.
The Bulli, when compared to the original Bus, is smaller and maybe a bit less unique; these changes, however, are all for the reasons of safety and efficiency. In the original Bus, the driver was a part of the crash zone and the rear engine design would make for difficult handling in avoidance situations. The Bulli’s more conventional layout will surely make it a better car than the original. Also, while its design may be less “out there” than the original Bus’s, in today’s world of boring cars that all basically look the same, the Bulli’s ultra-modern, tw- tone look may actually make the same statement today as the original did in its day.
Despite the Bulli being a bit smaller it is still an exceedingly practical car with some unique features. There is seating for six (3 in front, 3 in back), with the same trunk space as a VW Golf when all the seats are up. One very brilliant part of the Bulli’s design is that not only can the rear seats be folded flat, but the front seats too so that the car can turn into a flat bed large enough for two adults to sleep on. The car also makes use of the latest technology with LCD screens serving as the instrument clusters, and what looks to be an iPad serving as the center console (a collaboration between VW and Apple seems a likely possibility).
VW is saying the Bulli will be offered with an assortment of power train options including electric, hybrid, gasoline, and diesel options. If it were me buying this car I would have the diesel hands down because it is proven and fits this trendy VW like a glove. The Bulli is to be not only a practical mode of transportation but also a lifestyle statement. The concept’s design is extremely stylish and trendy, there is a lot of style for style sake and I think that is important for a car like this. The Bulli’s market competition, namely the Scion xB, Honda Fit, and Nissan Cube, are all extremely dull and the Cube and the xB are among the most hideous things eve put on four wheels. The Bulli exudes “special” qualities that are not present in its competitors. With the VW there is something to get genuinely excited about (and this is Mr. speed-demon talking here).
As VW tweaks the Bulli into a full production version they need to be careful not to water it down too much. The Bulli is a car that needs to be stylish and to make a statement. The Bulli needs to represent something more than just a mode of transportation. It needs to be both affordable for young people but also have the ability to be more upscale with options for older folks who want a taste of that old style they knew back in the day. Because of this I think the Bulli must have a well organized, but extensive options list, much like that of the Mini Cooper (with less nickel and diming though). Style must be present throughout the range though, with only fit and finish being affected by the options list. There should also be a wide range of accessories offered so people can customize their Bulli from the get go.
Overall I think the Bulli will be a fantastic addition to the VW lineup and its market segment. Hopefully it will inspire some imagination from its competitors in their future models, so things may be more interesting for buyers who want an affordable car. I look forward to seeing the final production version soon, and of course going for a test drive when Bullis hit showrooms. This is a car we should all be genuinely excited about.