Last year, the Routan received an extensive mechanical freshening, so there isn't anything significant to report for 2012. There are a few packaging changes to the various trim levels. The Routan SEL with navigation now comes with push-button start and rain-sensing wipers. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection are standard on the top-of-the-line SEL Premium...
Volkswagen's longstanding success in the United States is due in part to its enthusiastic fan base. The largest VW in the family, however, probably doesn't excite the Vee-Dub faithful all that much. The reason is simple: the Routan isn't a Volkswagen. VW's marketing may promise German engineering, but that's more than a little far-fetched. In fact, the Routan is really a Chrysler Town & Country with slightly different front and rear styling, a retuned suspension, and a few interior upgrades. It's even built by Chrysler in a Chrysler factory. Unfortunately, one of the Town & Country's coolest features--the Stow 'n Go second-row seats that fold into the floor--isn't available on the Routan. Last year, the Town & Country received a major makeover--and so did the Routan. The core of that change was a new 3.6-liter V-6 that replaced two aging V-6 engines. Power climbed to a very impressive 283 hp with no negative effect on fuel economy. The suspension and the chassis were also updated, improving the ride, handling, and steering. Unfortunately, the six-speed automatic is still not world-class. It is often hesitant to downshift and uncertain of which gear to choose. With a taut suspension and a nice interior, the Routan is a decent minivan, but it's not a true Volkswagen.
Trim levels: S, SE, SEL, SEL Premium
Body style: Minivan, 7-passenger
Engine: 3.6L V-6, 283 hp, 260 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 163.5 cu ft
Capacities: Towing 2000-3500 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 33.0/83.0/144.4 cu ft
Standard safety equipment includes ABS; tire-pressure monitoring; front, driver's knee, side, and side curtain air bags; and traction and stability control. Optional features include a rearview camera, parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-path detection.
EPA Fuel Economy
All: 17 mpg city/ 25 mpg highway
If You Like This Vehicle
- Chrysler Town & Country
- Honda Odyssey
- Nissan Quest
- Toyota Sienna