Volkswagen is working on a crossover family-hauler to take on the Mercedes R-Class and Ford's European-market S-Max sporty minivan called the Sportvan, which the German company plans for 2009. VWs and Audis often share platforms on account of their corporate connection, so with the Passat too small and the Phaeton too big (and expensive), Wolfsburg looked to Ingolstadt and swiped the mechanicals from the A6, which is being replaced in 2010.

Unlike the R-Class and S-Max, the Sportvan is expected to offer plenty of space, but only to five passengers with two rows of seating. Look for a range engines to include turbo fours, a V6 and a few diesel alternatives when the car goes on sale in Europe, to be offered with all-wheel-drive and the possible availability of the DSG dual-clutch transmission.

[Source: Car magazine]

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