Volkswagen of America Inc. will launch the 2001 EuroVan in February or March with more power and torque and a stability system used on Audi vehicles.
The 2001 EuroVan will get the same six-cylinder, 2.8-liter VR6 engine, but it will be rated at 201 hp, up from 140 hp in the 2000 model.
Torque will be increased to 181 pounds-feet at 2,500 rpm, up from 177 pounds-feet.
'So it will be a little more competitive with some of the other vans out there,' said VW spokesman Tony Fouladpour.
The Dodge Grand Caravan, for example, offers two V-6 engines - a 3.3-liter engine with 180 hp and a 3.8-liter engine with 215 hp.
'Its power and pricing have both been critical issues with that vehicle,' said Al Gossett, owner of Gossett Motor Cars in Memphis and chairman of the Volkswagen Dealer Advisory Council. 'Hopefully we'll be getting some good news on the pricing.'
VW has not yet released pricing on the 2001 model. The 2000 EuroVan GLS is priced at $31,890, including a $590 destination charge.
The 2001 EuroVan will become the first VW model to get ESP, short for electronic stabilization program, a system used extensively in Audi cars and wagons.
The system detects and corrects understeering or oversteering by regulating engine power and brakes.
The 2001 model also will have a new premium stereo, single seats for second-row seating, a new middle console and fog lights.
VW sold 3,395 EuroVans in the United States, up from 1,742 during 1998. The automaker sold 2,535 EuroVans through October of this year.