Volkswagen Reveals 2009 Routan Minivan in Chicago
The best-looking Chrysler minivan will be sold by Volkswagen.
By Chris Haak
Actually, Volkswagen hasn’t revealed the van yet, but will later today. Unfortunately for VW, German magazine AutoBild broke the embargo last night with photos and the press release, so other websites quickly followed suit.
The Routan is built by Chrysler LLC for Volkswagen, and therefore has a nearly identical interior, as well as the same exterior body panels between the A-pillar and the D-pillar. Unfortunately for Chrysler, the parts that are different on the Routan look (to my eyes) far better than on the original vans.
The front end is more contemporary looking, with swoopy headlights and a chrome grille, plus nice air dams. The rear is differentiated from the Chrysler vans with different taillights that are reminiscent of a Touareg or Golf.
The van is powered by either a 3.8 liter V6 that produces 197 horsepower and 230 lb-ft of torque, or an optional 4.0 liter V6 that produces 251 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque. These engines are identical to the ones offered in the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan.
What isn’t mentioned in the press release (which you can find below) is whether the van offers either Chrysler’s new Swivel-n-Go or Stow-n-Go second row seats. I saw rumors a few months ago that the Routan may not get the trick seats (at least the Swivel-n-Go ones) since they’re something of a Chrysler exclusive.
The van goes on sale later this year starting below $25,000. I haven’t seen VW’s sales goals for the Routan, but it should do reasonably well among existing VW customers who need more interior room. The biggest shame is that after all of the waiting for VW’s newest minivan, it looks good but nothing like the cool Microbus-like concept shown years ago.
The press release from Volkswagen is below:
VOLKSWAGEN UNVEILS ROUTAN AT CHICAGO AUTO SHOW
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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