The Routan, Volkswagen's version of the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, is more upscale than both its siblings, but it skips some of their most versatile features. Competitors include the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Kia Sedona.
Power comes from a 3.8-liter or 4.0-liter V-6, both with a six-speed automatic.
New for 2010
Picking the Routan of your choice could either be easier or more difficult this year, depending on the type of shopper you are. The Routan comes in seven trim levels, surpassing even some pickup truck lines, but VW says there will be no freestanding options or packages (a practice used by Honda for years).
The Routan shares the same boxy shape as the Town & Country and Grand Caravan, but its face wears Volkswagen's sloping grille and lower air dam. The headlights incorporate rounded sections for the outboard bezels, similar to the lights on the Passat and Volkswagen's SUVs.
- Optional power sliding doors
- Optional power liftgate
The Routan's dashboard follows the Town & Country's design, with two distinct layers separated by metallic trim. Materials quality has improved noticeably: The upper dash has soft-touch plastics, and the doors have leather stitching around the armrests. The gauges and climate controls have distinct markings. The steering wheel doesn't telescope, however, and the flip-down armrests for both rows of seats are rather rough.
- Standard removable captain's chairs, which fold onto themselves but not flat into the floor
- Standard three-seat third row drops flat into the floor
- Optional backseat entertainment system with two flip-down screens
Under the Hood
Volkswagen says it tuned the Routan's suspension and steering for a sportier, more European ride than the minivan's U.S. counterparts.
- Standard 3.8-liter V-6 makes 197 horsepower
- Optional 4.0-liter V-6 produces 251 hp
- Standard six-speed automatic transmission
- Standard antilock brakes
- Standard electronic stability system
- Standard side curtain airbags