Minivan; Built in Canada
  • 4-door van
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $5,500 – $30,600*


2009 Volkswagen Routan Front


2009 Volkswagen Routan Rear


2009 Volkswagen Routan Interior


2009 Volkswagen Routan Front-2

Pros:
  • Cargo room
  • Interior materials
  • Quietness
  • Ride
  • Seat comfort
Cons:
  • Climate controls
  • Fuel economy
  • Front headroom with optional sunroof

Routan does a fine job of looking like a member of the Volkswagen family and masking its close relationship to the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan. VW’s version has a classier cabin, but it doesn’t offer all the innovative seating options found in the Chrysler products. All told, the Recommended Routan deserves a place on the minivan shopper’s list. Secondhand prices might be slightly higher than Chrysler’s comparable minivans, but both tend to depreciate faster than the average vehicle.

Overview

After six years without a minivan in its lineup, Volkswagen had one ready for the 2009 model year-but it was far different from the old EuroVan. Co-developed with Chrysler, the front-wheel-drive Routan shared its basic design and powertrains with the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan. The Routan was offered in three trim levels: S, SE, and top-of-the-line SEL. A step-up Premium Package was available for the SEL edition. Standard on S and SE was a 197-horsepower 3.8-liter V6. A 251-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 was standard for SEL minivans. Both engines paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard safety features included antilock brakes, traction control, an antiskid system, and curtain side airbags. Leather upholstery and heated front seats were standard on the SEL edition. Available features included a navigation system, rear-seat DVD entertainment with twin 9-inch screens, and a version of Chrysler’s Uconnect multimedia system called JoyBox, which had a 30-gigabyte hard drive for storing digital music and picture files. Power-fold third-row seating and power sliding doors with powered windows also were optional. Routan’s rivals included the Chrysler Town & Country, Kia Sedona, and Toyota Sienna.

Yearly Updates

2010 Routan
Largely unchanged for 2010, the Routan came in S, SE, SEL, and SEL Premium trim. Navigation was standard in the SEL and available for the SE. DVD entertainment could be installed in SE and SEL models, and was standard in the SEL Premium. SE and SEL models with navigation and/or DVD entertainment were priced as separate models. SE models with DVD, and all SELs, offered the JoyBox with its 30-gigabyte hard drive.
2011 Routan
The 2011 Volkswagen Routan got a substantial freshening, including revised styling and a new 3.6-liter V6 engine.
2012 Routan
The SEL trim level added rain-sensing wipers and keyless access/engine start, while the SEL Premium got blind-spot alert and rear cross-path detection, but there were no other changes of note to the 2012 Volkswagen Routan.
2013 Routan
The main news for 2013 was that Volkswagen only sold new Routans to fleet customers.
2014 Routan
The 2014 Routan remained available only to fleet customers. It was also the model’s final year.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Two V6 engines were available in early Routans. S and SE models held an overhead-valve 3.8-liter V6 rated at 197 horsepower. An overhead-cam 253-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 went into the SEL model. Both engines mated with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. For 2011, the sole engine became a 283-horsepower 3.6-liter V6.

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/232
Engine HP 197
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 230
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

16/23

19.1

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/244
Engine HP 253
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 262
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

17/25

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.6/220
Engine HP 283
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 260
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

17/25

Road Test

Acceleration satisfies. An SE model’s 3.8-liter V6 offers sufficient power for most situations. The six-speed automatic transmission provides quick shifts, but low-speed driving can generate a bit of harshness during gear changes. We have had no opportunity to drive a Routan with the 4.0-liter or 3.6-liter V6.

Fuel economy falls short. Test Routans with the 3.8-liter V6 averaged 17.9 mpg in mixed driving that slightly favored city use, and 19.4 mpg with mostly highway activity. The 3.8-liter V6 uses regular-grade gasoline. VW recommends mid-grade 89-octane gas for the 4.0-liter engine.

Ride quality is appealing. Routans are well isolated, and even large bumps are taken with poise. Some testers have felt that the VW’s ride might be a bit firmer than the similar Chrysler Town & Country.

Volkswagen claimed European-style handling characteristics, and the Routan beats some rival minivans in road behavior. Despite the Routan’s generous overall size, the van is quite tractable. Its impressively tight turning radius is a plus in close-quarters maneuverability. Some testers have felt that the Routan does a better job than the Chrysler Town & Country at controlling body lean in corners.

Along with the similar Town & Country and Grand Caravan, Routan is one of the quietest minivans. Except for a bit of ruckus from the optional sunroof (if installed), wind noise is impressively muted, as is road noise.

Primary instruments are easy to read, but the smaller gauges aren’t as clear as they could be during the day. Most controls are plainly marked and work as expected. Some testers have felt that the climate controls are mounted too low for quick adjustment, and others considered the main rotary dials a bit small. Mounted on the dashboard, the shifter is simple to use and does not block access to any controls.

Volkswagen did a very good job on the Routan’s interior. The general ambiance is more sophisticated than that found in its Chrysler cousins, and assembly looks top-notch. Plastics are a combination of soft-touch and hard surfaces, but even the hard pieces look about as nice as plastic can.

Wide, comfortable chairs up front contribute to long-haul comfort. On the SE model, only the driver’s seat is height-adjustable. Also, models with the optional sunroof have significantly less headroom than other versions-enough so most adult males will find headroom lacking if seated on the non-height-adjustable passenger’s seat.

Routan has not offered Chrysler’s Stow ‘n Go or Swivel ‘n Go second-row seating options, but Volkswagen’s seats provide superior comfort. The optional sunroof dramatically reduces headroom in the second row, to the point that even slightly taller-than-average adults cannot comfortably fit. The third-row bench seat is roomy enough for two adults, and doesn’t lose headroom on sunroof-equipped models.

Vast cargo space is available, but the second-row seats must be removed to achieve a flat load floor. Those seats are heavy and cumbersome to take out and store. The split-fold third-row seat easily flips flat into a well, via a series of numbered straps.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2010 Volkswagen Routan SE

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 7
70%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 9
90%
Room/Comfort Rear - 9
90%
Cargo Room - 10
100%

Other

Value - 8
80%

Total: 71

Specifications

4-door van
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
121.2 202.5 76.9 68.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
140.6 20.5 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.8 39.2 40.6 36.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2009 Routan 4-door van

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Doors
Description: Grinding sounds from the sliding door may require replacement of the lower hinge; the door may also reverse direction when closing because it is overly sensitive to speed variations, requiring reprogramming. (2009)
Audio system
Description: If the sound is very distorted when playing an iPod through the audio system, the vehicle’s audio software must be updated. (2009)
Rough idle
Description: Rough idle after a cold start requires reprogramming the powertrain control module. (2009)
Vehicle noise
Description: Squeaks or metal-to-metal sounds during turns or over speed bumps are caused by the sway bar contacting the steering gear heat shield on early model-year production vehicles. This may be modified. (2009)

Recall History

2009
Description: Owner’s manual might not contain required information explaining that no objects should be placed over or near the airbag on instrument panel.
2009 vehicles manufactured from June 2008 through July 2009
Description: These vehicles may have been built with an improperly routed wire harness that may have a condition where the lower sliding door hinge bracket can make contact and wear through the wire insulation. Contact with a 12V power feed circuit within the harness may cause a short circuit located inside of the sliding door. This could result in a fire within the rear sliding door. Volkswagen will inspect the sliding door wire assembly and the power-drive unit wire-assembly for damage, repair/replace as necessary.
2010 Routan vehicles manufactured from October 2009 through June 2010
Description: Some vehicles may experience inadvertent ignition key displacement from the run to accessory position while driving causing the engine to shut off. An engine shutting off suddenly while driving could increase the risk of a crash.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.