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The VPG MV-1 Is a Very Weird Minivan-Looking Thing

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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2016

If you've ever seen one of these on the street and wondered what it is, here's your answer: It's the VPG MV-1. If it seems a bit odd to you, that's because it is.

I still remember the first time I saw a VPG MV-1. I was working for Porsche at the time, and someone sent us a picture of Jerry Seinfeld standing on a Manhattan street next to his new 911 GT3, GT3 RS or some other highly cool new Porsche that he had customized in some highly cool Jerry Seinfeld way. And there, in back of him, was a VPG MV-1. So Jerry's standing there, smiling for this photo in front of some awesome new tricked-out Porsche, and all I can think is, "What's that minivan thing in the background?"

As it turned out, the minivan thing was the VPG MV-1.

Here's the deal with the MV-1: It came out in 2011 and was intended to be a purpose-built, wheelchair-accessible vehicle and also the taxicab of the future, because every van had a lot of passenger room, luggage room and wheelchair accessibility. In fact, if you look at it next to the more modern version of the London Taxi, it's hard to deny a resemblance.

Unfortunately, VPG fell into bankruptcy, at which point MV-1 production stopped. Soon after, it was snatched up by AM General, manufacturer of the Hummer, and production restarted again -- with the VPG MV-1 rebranded as the Mobility Ventures MV-1. And they're still going to this day.

So what exactly is it? These days, the MV-1 comes in four grades: a base-level SE ($39,800), a midlevel DX ($49,975), a high-end LX ($56,995) and a commercial-grade model intended for taxi fleets and disabled-person transporter companies. All offer wheelchair accessibility with a ramp that extends from the passenger side, and all use Ford's 3.7-liter V6, the engine in the base-level Mustang, which returns 14 miles per gallon in the city and 16 mpg on the highway.

Inside, the MV-1 uses a lot of Ford parts, too -- including a Ford steering wheel, gauge cluster, transmission lever, climate-control switchgear and vents, window switches and more. As for sizing, the MV-1 is a couple inches longer than a Honda Odyssey and 7 inches taller. And production is located in Mishawaka, Indiana, right where AM General builds the mighty Hummer.

And now, if you ever see one of these weird minivan-looking things on the road again, you'll know exactly what it is.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The VPG MV-1 Is a Very Weird Minivan-Looking Thing - Autotrader