2011 Volkswagen Routan

The prestigious Volkswagen Company has introduced another refined people carrier to the market. It is the 2011 Volkswagen Routan. Its name is said to be derived from a small golf-based people carrier known as Touran (available in Europe). The built of this minivan is almost synonymous to other vehicles, the Chrysler Town & Country (MSRP $30,260; 17 city / 25 hwy) and the old Dodge Grand Caravan (MSRP $TBD; 17 city / 24 hwy). And just like these two, this Volkswagen minivan offers an aura of luxury inside and outside and has the same powerful and efficient 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 engine. Its six speed automatic transmission pushes out a lusty 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, which implies that it has much pulling power, even with a full load aboard. This 2011 Routan model has been upgraded and offers a more upscale interior, therefore enhancing the driving experience of its consumers.

Exterior

Outside, the Volkswagen Routan displays a convincingly German look as it features boxy and functional lines, simple but handsome looking five-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin rubber, and a bold and stacked grille style design Volkswagen logo. Additionally, the eye catching headlights and fog lamps integrated into the lower front bumper which contain quad halogen lamps (High Intensity Gas-discharged (HID) units on a SEL Premium) lend the minivan a mean look.

The matte body color, chrome side mirrors, auto dimming rearview mirror and door handles make it even more attractive. Also added to this new version of Volkswagen Routan are the towable roof racks which are intended for convenient transformation. It also practically features a step plate on an extra low bumper for easier loading or unloading of items. Splash guards and full running boards with skid resistant surfaces can also be ordered to add accent to its exterior.

Interior

The interior is astonishing. The very generous and premium seating space for seven includes adjustable captains’ chairs and third row bench. The well designed three row seats are wrapped in kid-friendly leatherette and fine vinyl. The high density carpet and matching floor mats on its flooring and the front row seating with pillow top armrest add comfort and luxurious appeal. The third row seat is intentionally split folding to provide enough room for luggage. For the family’s entertainment needs, Bluetooth digital music storage, nine speaker sound system, satellite radio, iPod or touch screen audio interface, voice controls, 12V power outlets and 115V AC outlet for powering up phones, MP3 players and game consoles are included. Moreover, it is also equipped with automatic three zone climate control, real time traffic, airline style LED reading lights and Chrysler-sourced navigation system.

Safety & Maintenance

In terms of safety, the Volkswagen Routan comes with anti lock disc brakes, electronic stability and side curtain airbags. And it was also given by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety a good rating in the frontal-offset and side crash tests. Though the Reliability score by J.D. Power and Associates is minimal at best, the Routan is covered with a three year basic warranty and Carefree Maintenance program.

Competition

While Volkswagen Routan is a good choice, many reviewers find its counterparts a second look. They may consider both 2010 Toyota Sienna (MSRP $21,588; 17 city / 23 hwy) and Honda Odyssey (MSRP $22,341; 16 city / 23 hwy) for their better reliability and safety ratings. Most consumers also say that the Honda Odyssey is the best driving vehicle in the minivan class. And the Kia Sedona is also considered for its low purchase cost.

The 2011 Routan may still have an unrefined engine sound unlike the Japanese cars- Honda Odyssey & Toyota Sienna and limited seating features as compared to that of Chrysler, however, it is praised for its elegant interior and exterior styling and the comfortable seating experience that it provides. Also, the powerful, smooth and responsive six speed automatic transmission offers good gas mileage for its class.

Overall Rating
75 out of 100

What others say:

"The Routan's been praised as a higher-quality version of the Chrysler minivans, but with the improvements to those vans, we're eager to see photos of the Routan."Car Connection

"The 2011 Volkswagen Routan gets a substantial freshening, including revised styling and a new engine."Consumer Guide

"While it has certain advantages over the Chrysler minivans upon which it is based, the 2011 Volkswagen Routan still doesn't stack up to the best-in-class models."Edmunds

"Although the Routan did not get the dashboard overhaul and styling revisions of its 2011 Chrysler and Dodge siblings, it does get the new V-6, whose horsepower and torque outpace those of the 2010's 3.8-liter and 4.0-liter V-6s."Cars.com

Specifications

General Info
Vehicle Type: Mini Van Base Price: $26,930.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 20.5 gallons Miles Per Gallon: 17 city / 25 hwy
Dimensions
Length: 202.5 in. (514 cm) Width: 76.9 in. (195 cm)
Height: NA Curb Weight: 4494 lbs (2038 kg)
Wheel Base: 121.2 in. (308 cm) Ground Clearance: NA
Luggage Capacity: 83 cu ft Maximum Seating: 7
Performance
Engine: 3.6L V6 Compression Ratio: 10:02:01
Horsepower: 283 hp Max RPM: 6350 rpm
Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic w/ Manual Shift Mode
0-60 mph: NA Towing Capacity: 3600 lbs
Available Trims & Engine
Option:SE MSRP: $31,770; MPG: 17 city / 25 hwy
Option:SEL MSRP: $37,390; MPG: 17 city / 25 hwy
Option:SEL Premium MSRP: $43,240; MPG: 17 city / 25 hwy