Volkswagen's Routan minivan breaks cover at the Chicago Auto Show; all-new vehicle is joint venture with Chrysler

Volkswagen's new Routan minivan, product of a joint venture with Chrysler, was officially unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show today. Diehard fans of the VW Microbus, Vanagon and Eurovan who were hoping for something a little less conventional may be disappointed, though the very conservative Routan only resembles the Chryslers in silhouette. Front and rear clips are all Volkswagen, with a hint of Touareg up front and Rabbit at the rear, and the interior has been similarly redesigned with better materials and a more European look than the Chryslers on which it's based. Volkswagen has also retooled the suspension to give the Routan more in-the-family driving dynamics. How different it will really be from the Town & Country, we won't know until a test drive.

Engine choices are all V6, with a standard 3.8 liter making 197 horsepower and an optional 4.0 liter, 253-horse unit. Traction control and ESP stability control are standard equipment. A navigation system with a touch-screen display, a power-folding third-row seat and a power liftgate with a floodlight are also offered. Pricing is expected to start at under $25,000 when the Routan goes on sale.

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