VW Touran prototype

Even though the production version isn't expected until the 2014 model year, a mule for the Volkswagen Touran was spotted testing at the Nürburgring. Not only that, it got in the 'Ring practically naked: all of its important bits are exposed, save for a little camo around the headlights and lower bumper.

Based on the MQB platform that supports the recently introduced MkVII Golf, the small people mover's track and wheelbase have grown slightly – you can see where the current Touran body it wears has been given a little extra length, as well as wheel arches. The main event is up front, with a complete overhaul of the hood and front fascia that falls in line with the current corporate styling language. Since the Touran will benefit from the MQB's lighter platform, there's reason to expect that it'll be less hefty than the outgoing model.

The new range of gasoline and diesel engines should slot underhood, and Auto Moto und Sport predicts that a 138-horsepower, 1.4-liter TSI with cylinder deactivation will be among those offered.

Educated guesses pick the 2014 Touran's introduction to happen at next year's Geneva Motor Show or the Frankurt Motor Show. In its nine years and three generations we've never had the Touran on sale in the U.S. That's not really a surprise since small minivans are more of a Euro specialty. But with the VW Group's product range multiplying like rabbits to meet its 2018 sales goal, could this Touran be the generation that books a trip across the Atlantic?