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Volkswagen Routan (2008): first official pictures

Wed, 16 Jan 2008

By Stephen Dobie

First Official Pictures

16 January 2008 16:03

Volkswagen’s push for more sales in the US will be reinforced with the new Routan minivan, due to be shown to its North American market at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2008.

The model is heavily based on the Chrysler Town and Country (the Grand Voyager to you and me) and will major on interior space. The car itself is over five metres long and accommodates seven. Expect it to feature Chrysler’s clever Swivel’n’Go seating arrangement that allows the rear passengers to all face each other.

The Routan will come off the same production line as the Town and Country at Chrysler’s Ontario factory, and inside the two will only be separable by VW’s promised ‘unique design touches’. Engines and specifications should be revealed nearer the Chicago show, though the Town and Country currently uses three V6s, in 3.3, 3,8 and 4.0-litre guises. We don't expect a diesel to be in the range, but we do expect customers to have to pay a premium over the equivalent Chrysler model.

Europe won’t be able to buy the new model, VW claiming that we are well catered for already with the Touran and Sharan people carriers, as well as the Tiguan and Touareg SUV’s.

This is probably for the best, with the whole ethos of the car aimed specifically at North America – who coincidentally named the Chrysler Town and Country as their International Car of the Year 2008. Volkswagen will hope to utilise this to help reach its overall goal of 800,000 yearly sales in the USA.

By Stephen Dobie