2010 Routan New Car Test Drive
The Volkswagen Routan is basically a Chrysler Town & Country with a different interior, a Volkswagen exterior, and revised suspension settings. It has nothing in common with previous Volkswagen minivans. Routan was introduced for 2009. The 2010 Routan is unchanged, except that more content is now standard, and there are correspondingly fewer options.
Volkswagen opted to make the second-row seats thicker and more comfortable than those in the Town & Country, so the Routan lacks the Stow 'n Go and the Swivel 'n Go seating features that make Chrysler minivans unique because the bigger seats won't fit in the storage bins. The Routan does have the useful underfloor storage areas, however.
The third-row seats fold into the floor, and the second-row seats can be removed to create a flat load floor that is big enough for 4' x 8' sheets of plywood. When the third-row seats are up, there is a handy well behind them that's great for groceries.
Routan is offered with two engines, the Chrysler 3.8-liter V6 and the Chrysler 4.0-liter V6. The 3.8-liter V6 is adequate for around-town duty, and the 4.0-liter V6 offers decent pickup and passing power.
We found the Routan offers a smooth ride and the driver enjoys a commanding view of the road. The ride is pleasant enough, ironing out most bumps.
A DVD rear-seat entertainment system features screens in both the second and third rows. Video game systems can be plugged in, and each screen can show something different, including the front navigation screen. Also offered is Volkswagen's JoyBox hard-drive radio. It has a 30-gigabyte hard drive that can hold thousands of song and picture files.
The Routan has a nicer interior than the Chrysler, and it makes for a great rolling living room for families.
The 2010 Volkswagen Routan is offered in three models, S, SE, and SEL. The S and SE models come with a 197-hp 3.8-liter V6 and a six-speed automatic transmission. The SEL comes with a 253-hp 4.0-liter V6 with six-speed automatic. All models have front-wheel drive.
Routan S ($25,900) comes with cloth upholstery, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, four-way manually adjustable front bucket seats, two-passenger reclining second-row bench seat, third-row stowable split folding bench seat, manual side doors, air conditioning, cruise control, conversation mirror, power heated exterior mirrors, power front windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, auxiliary audio input jack, automatic headlights, engine immoblilizer, three years or 36,000 miles of free maintenance, and P225/65R16 tires on steel wheels with wheelcovers.
Routan SE ($30,600) adds V-Tex Leatherette (vinyl) upholstery, six-disc CD changer, Bluetooth, eight-way power adjustable driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, lumbar adjustment for front passenger seat, power-adjustable pedals, second-row captain's chairs, power side doors, overhead storage system, steering wheel audio controls, second- and third-row sunshades, universal garage door opener, security alarm (in addition to the engine immobilizer), and P225/65R17 tires on alloy wheels. The optional video entertainment package ($2000) includes second and third-row nine-inch video screens with headphones and remote; one year of Sirius satellite radio; Joybox AM/FM/CD/DVD/MP3 sound system with hard disc drive and USB connection; rearview camera, and power liftgate with floodlamp. The navigation package ($3000) adds voice-activated navigation to all of the above. Routan SEL ($36,600) gets real leather upholstery, three-zone automatic climate control, interior air filter, power sunroof, power folding third-row seats, power rear liftgate with floodlamp, fog lights, the Joybox HDD sound system with navigation, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated first and second-row seats, a high-line front floor console with adjustable storage, and Bluetooth Uconnect wireless cell phone link. The video entertainment package ($2000) again optional.
Routan SEL Premium ($42,500) adds high-intensity discharge headlights, chrome mirrors and door handles, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, premium driver information center, remote engine starting, 506-watt nine-speaker sound system, eight-way power front seats, memory for the driver's seat and pedals, 115-volt power outlet, rear park assist, and the complete navigation/entertainment package.
Dealer-installed accessories are also available, ranging from running boards to several different roof racks and a range of towing equipment. New for 2010 is a dealer-installed wireless router that can connect to devices up to 150 feet away.
Safety equipment includes dual-stage front airbags, head-protecting curtain side airbags, tire-pressure monitor, ABS with brake assist, traction control, and electronic stability control. Optional safety features include rear park assist and a rearview camera.