One could argue that Volkswagen's Microbus, introduced in the 1950s, was the world's first minivan. But ever since Chrysler hatched the modern, front-wheel-drive minivan in the mid-'80s, VW has been, at best, a bit player in the segment. So next year, VW is going to the source: the company will rebadge a Chrysler minivan as a way to fill this gaping hole in its lineup. Soon after, however, VW will add a second people mover: the SportVan (pictured). Set to launch in 2009, the upmarket hauler is built off the Audi A6 Avant's platform. Described by a source familiar with the project as "an R-class that really works," the aggressively styled new entry will be more than sixteen feet long and offer staggered, theater-type seating for six or seven plus a decent amount of luggage space, even with all seats in place. The seats in rows two and three will fold and swivel. Power will come from VW's 2.0-liter turbo four and 3.2-liter V-6. Thanks to the Audi connection, four-wheel drive could be offered, along with high-tech options such as MMI and a height-adjustable air suspension.
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