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Average User Score
4.6 ⁄ 5 stars
Based on 9 reviews
2009 Volkswagen Routan Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 9 reviews
Decades after the first minivan hit the U.S. streets, Volkswagen decides it finally needs one of its own. But instead of spending the time and money to create a unique, innovative minivan, the 2009 Volkswagen Routan literally rebadges Chrysler's Town & Country and the Dodge Grand Caravan. With few distinctions of its own, besides a front and rear fascia borrowed from the Passat, a firmer European-tuned suspension, and the high quality interior associated with Volkswagens, the 2009 Routan will likely appeal to loyal Volkswagen families, but may not bring any new drivers into the fold.
Although Brooke Shields touts its German engineering, the 2009 Routan uses the same underpinnings and engines found in its Chrysler cohorts. However, a sportier suspension with 50% larger spring rates, stronger shocks, and larger anti-sway bars improve handling compared to the U.S. versions and offer the sporty combination of good cornering with minimal body lean. The front-wheel drive family van comes in four trims. Base S and SE carry a 197-hp, 3.8-liter V6 engine that gets 16/23 mpg. The SEL and SEL Premium feature a 251-hp, 4.0-liter V6 and 17/25 mpg. Both come paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission with sport mode and can tow up to 2,000 pounds with the proper equipment.
The 2009 Routan seats six people in three rows. Softer and more premium cabin materials give the Routan a European feel, with front and second row bucket seats offering a plusher, more supportive ride. The second row reclines and folds flat, but unlike the Town & Country, it offers neither the Swivel feature that turns the seats to face the rear nor the Stow 'N Go feature that folds the seats flat into the floor. The third row bench, however, does fold into the floor and splits 60/40 to offer different cargo-carrying variations. A power-fold feature comes with the SEL trims. With all seats up, the van holds 32.7 cubic feet of storage, and its capacity expands to 83 and 144 with both rear rows down.
Volkswagen extends its top-notch ergonomics to the Routan, another area where it surpasses the U.S. versions. Controls are well-laid out and easy to reach, and storage compartments can be found in the dual glovebox, in underfloor boxes, various nets, and convenient grocery bag hooks in the cargo area.
S trims offer full power accessories, cruise control, and a CD/MP3 player with audio input jack. The SE replaces the manual sliding side doors with power versions, beefs the 16-inch alloy wheels to 17-inch, and adds an 8-way power driver's seat, leather trim, and wheel-mounted controls. The SEL classes things up with a sunroof, heated leather front seats, tri-zone climate control, and a power liftgate. The Premium package includes memory settings, a power passenger seat, and xenon HID headlamps. Options add remote start, a rear DVD system, navigation system, and a MyGIG entertainment system that features a 30-gig hard drive.