2012 Volkswagen Routan

The 2012 Volkswagen Routan is a competent minivan, based on 2 minivans built by Chrysler corporation: Dodge Grand Caravan, and Chrysler Town & Country.

New features for the 2012 edition include a push start button and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The SEL Premium now comes with blind spot warning system. This 7-seater minivan will compete against the likes of the Toyota Sienna, Nissan Quest and Honda Odyssey.

Specifications

General Info
Vehicle Type: Minivan Base Price: $27,020.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 20.5 gallons (77l) MPG: 17 city / 25 hwy
Dimensions
Length: 202.5 in. (514.3 cm) Wheel Base: 121.2 in. (307.8 cm)
Height: 68.9 in. (175 cm) Width: 76.9 in. (195.3 cm)
Curb Weight: 4494 lbs (2038 kg) Ground Clearance: 5.6 in. (14.2 cm)
Cargo Capacity: 83 cu ft Maximum Seating: 7 people
Performance
Engine: 3.6L V6 DOHC Compression Ratio: 10:02: 01
Horsepower: 283 HP Max RPM: 6350 RPM
Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic w/ Manual Mode
Available Trims & Engine
Option:SE MSRP: $32,010; MPG: 17 city / 25 hwy
Option:SE w/ RSE Camera System MSRP: $33,490; MPG: 17 city / 25 hwy
Option:SE w/ RSE & Nav MSRP: $34,490; MPG: 17 city / 25 hwy
Option:SEL MSRP: $37,890; MPG: 17 city / 25 hwy
Option:SEL w/ RSE MSRP: $39,890; MPG: 17 city / 25 hwy
Option:SEL Premium MSRP: $44,280; MPG: 17 city / 25 hwy

Engine & Performance

The 2012 Routan is a competent performer, with decent power combined with a satisfying ride. It comes with a 3.6L V6 powertrain that produces 283 horsepower and 260 lbs-ft of torque. The engine is paired to a standard 6-speed automatic transmission.

Volkswagen tuned the Routan's steering and suspension for a sportier ride. The addition of an Eco dashboard button that optimizes shift points for the auto, results to better gas mileage. A properly equipped Routan is capable of hauling up to 3,600 pounds. This minivan gets a fuel economy estimated at 17 mpg in cities and 25 mpg on highways. The Routan can go from 0 to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds.

Exterior

The 2012 Routan comes with a boxy shape similar to the Grand Caravan's, although its face comes with Volkswagen's lower air dam and a sloping grille. This minivan is available in 4 trim levels: S, SE, SEL and the SEL Premium. The base mode is fitted with 16-inch steel wheel, power rear-vent windows, heated mirrors and keyless entry. Stepping up to the SE, you will get 17-inch alloy wheels, upgraded exterior trim, roof rack, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and power-sliding side doors.

Moving up to the SEL trim, you get a sunroof, automatic headlights, rain sensing windshield wipers and keyless entry. Meanwhile, the SEL Premium trim gets fog lights, xenon headlights, chrome exterior trim and auto-dimming exterior mirrors.

Interior

Volkswagen has dressed the Routan adequately, with the seats offering more comfort than those of Chrysler minivans. The dashboard mounts 2 distinct layers separated by metallic trim. Standard features on all trims include: a third row that drops flat onto the floor, a removable second-row captains seats that fold onto themselves, and a redesigned multifunction steering column.

This minivan comes with respectable cargo space of 83 cubic feet after folding the third row. The space reaches a maximum of 144.4 cubic feet after removing the second and third row seats.

Safety & Reliability

Side impact airbags for the front seats and driver's knee airbags are part of the Routan's standard safety features. This brings the total to 7 standard airbags that include: driver and front passenger airbags, side head airbags and rear head airbags. Other safety features are: child safety locks, traction control, brake assist, electronic stability control, 4-wheel ABS, daytime running lights and 4-wheel disc brakes.

Volkswagen backs the Routan with a 3-year and 36,000 miles limited warranty, as well as 5-year or 60,000 mile engine warranty. A carefree maintenance program, covering all scheduled maintenance is included during the first 3 years or 36,000 miles. This program has 24-hour road assistance.

Pros

  • Handsome interior and exterior styling
  • More seat comfort that Chrysler minivans

Cons

  • Lacks second-row seat versatility
  • Limited driver legroom

Recap

The 2012 Volkswagen Routan comes with a firmer suspension tuning that gives it better handling than its rivals. People looking for a minivan, should include this vehicle for serious consideration, especially because of its stylish interior and pleasant exterior. Those having a need for business related transportation will appreciate the versatility of this minivan.

Competition

First it was the iconic “Bus”, then the “Vanagon”, both standards for minivans from VW’s illustrious past. The Routan joins the likes of the Honda Odyssey (MSRP $28,375; 18 city / 27 hwy), Nissan Quest (MSRP $34,500; 19 city / 24 hwy), and the Toyota Sienna (MSRP $25,060; 19 city / 24 hwy).

Overall Rating
72 out of 100

What others say:

“Comfortable seats; slightly nicer cabin than Chrysler siblings…Lacks second-row seat versatility; limited driver legroom; Chrysler mechanicals serviced by Volkswagen mechanics.”Edmunds

“The Volkswagen Routan isn't very different from the Chrysler minivans--and that means top safety performance and features, with a little less than best-in-class flexibility.”Car Connection

“Following its model-year 2011 freshening, the 2012 Routan sees minor trim changes. Newly standard on the SEL are rain-sensing wipers and keyless access/engine start. Blind-spot alert and rear cross-path detection are newly standard on the SEL Premium.”Consumer Guide

“Despite its name, the Routan is a version of the Chrysler Town & Country. High points include a pleasant ride, Chrysler's new smooth and refined V6, and a quiet cabin.”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“…the Routan comports itself on the road in a manner no 1967 Microbus ever dreamed of doing.”KBB