Friday, April 11, 2008

VW Van Volkswagen Routan

CHICAGO — If you’ve been dreaming of some hip, new-wave version of the hippie microbus, dream on. Instead of drawing on its storied van heritage, Volkswagen said here today that it plans to implement Chrysler’s minivan architecture for a distinctly American van.

VW’s seven-passenger Routan minivan will be manufactured at Chrysler’s Ontario plant—the same line that produces the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan, both of which won a 2008 Popular Mechanics Automotive Excellence Award in the versatility category.

To set the Routan apart from the twin Chryslers, it’ll get its own grille and exterior design. But more importantly, the Routan appears to have a real VW interior, meaning far more upscale materials and designs. But otherwise the Routan is very close to the Chrysler duo in terms of room, space and standard amenities. It has 32.7 cu. ft. available behind the third-row seats, plus 83 cu. ft. with the second row stowed.

The Routan will come with two Chrysler engines: a standard 3.8-liter V6 rated at 197 hp and 230 lb.-ft. of torque, combined with a six-speed automatic transmission; and an optional 4.0-liter V6 at 251 hp and 259 lb.-ft. VW says the Routan has European-style suspension, steering and driving dynamics and that prices will start below $25,000. —Jim McCraw

VW Van Volkswagen Routan


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