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

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. See the vans for sale near you

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. Find a van for sale

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More

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  1. My family was introduced to one while in Chicago this past summer.  I have to say the ride was very smooth and the MV-1 drove like my infinity.  Cost and MPG are both a big draw back!

  2. I’m in a power wheel chair and LOVE the freedom that driving affords me, I absolutely hate the selection of absurdly overpriced vehicles I have to choose from. And this hideous mess is an example of that. I am on my second wheelchair accessible Minivan, and I was very excited when Braun Ability started showing off the MXV, until I had a chance to check one out. Sadly, the interior is so small (which I expected) that I couldn’t turn my power wheelchair around in it (and I use a small chair, I cannot image a full size adult using that vehicle.), making it unusable for me. So I have a choice of a minivan, the MV-1 or a $70k+ truck with a wheelchair lift. I understand the engineering involved and I know that’s where the limitations come from but it’s disappointing to say the least.  

  3. Every VA Hospital around here uses them to transport older vets to and from appointments. Ive seen a bunch. Most of them, if not all that I have seen, have been natural gas powered too. 

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