Chicago 2008 preview: Volkswagen Routan leaks out

Click above for high-res gallery of the Volkswagen Routan.

Well, thanks to the German pub Autobild you can now see the collaborative efforts of Chrysler and Volkswagen in the form of the VW Routan. Unfortunately, the V-Dub van hardly harkens back to the time of the mini-bus, as everything between the A- and D-pillar is a dead ringer for the Chrysler/Dodge on which it's built. The new front fascia is attractive enough, with swooping headlamps, well-proportioned air dams and a chrome grille fitted with the VW logo, while the rear benefits from a similar tail lamp design as seen on the Touareg and Golf.

Power comes courtesy of a 3.6-liter V6, with 197 hp and 230 lb.-ft. of torque routed through a six-speed automatic transmission. Buyers can upgrade what's under the hood with a 4.0-liter V6 producing 251 hp and 259 lb.-ft. of torque. Traction control and ESP will be standard, along with dual power sliding doors, power windows and thirteen (13!) cupholders. Some of the options include a touch screen nav with a 20 gig hard-drive, power lift gate and a rear seat entertainment system with two, nine-inch screens.

Volkswagen plans to price the base Routan below the $25,000 mark and sales are expected to begin later this year.

Volkswagen's press release is available in full after the jump.


European inspired design and driving dynamics highlight new minivan

CHICAGO – Volkswagen of America today unveiled the Routan, an all new seven-passenger minivan. It delivers the best of both worlds: a vehicle that combines European sensibilities in design, fit and finish, and handling characteristics with market relevant features and outstanding value.

The Routan is instantly recognizable as a member of the Volkswagen family, with its stylized front grille and exterior treatments. The interior enhancements create an environment that is visually pleasing, modern, and meticulously detailed. The high quality materials, beautiful textures and rich luxurious colors are combined with exacting tolerances and superb fit and finish. While pleasing and contemporary, the interior also follows the traditional Volkswagen design philosophy that form follows function.

Second row captain's chairs offer an increased level of luxury and comfort while still providing the convenience of a traditional minivan, with over 32.7 cubic feet available behind the third row seats and a full 83 cubic feet is available behind the second row.

The Routan will come standard with a 3.8L V6, offering 197 hp and 230 lb. ft. of torque when combined with the standard six-speed automatic transmission. A 4.0L V6 will be available rated at 251 hp and 259 lb. ft. of torque. Routan features European tuned suspension and steering optimized for handling and improved driving dynamics. Standard all-season traction control and ESP, brings safety and security to the Routan.

The Routan comes with a host of unique features, including:

• Conversation Mirror
• Rear seat entertainment system with two 9 inch screens for second and third row, wireless headsets, and remote control
• Dual power sliding doors with power windows
• Touch screen navigation with twenty meg hard drive
• Power lift gate with flood lamp
• Thirteen cup holders

Volkswagen delivers a competitively priced entry into this high volume segment with prices starting below $25,000. The Routan will be built in an already existing facility in Windsor, Ontario.

With Routan, Volkswagen dealers add a vehicle that will provide additional, incremental growth in the market. A distinctly designed minivan at an attractive price point will broaden the brand portfolio, while providing a roomy alternative to existing Volkswagen owners.

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