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 Nissan Quest.
The Routan comes in S, SE, SEL and SEL Premium trims.
New for 2011
Although the Routan did not get the dashboard overhaul and styling revisions of its 2011 Chrysler and Dodge siblings, it does get the new V-6, whose horsepower and torque outpace those of the 2010's 3.8-liter and 4.0-liter V-6s. New perforated leather seats are optional, and the steering wheel has been restyled. The optional navigation system now uses Garmin software, and the SEL's stereo is now fully iPod/USB compatible. New roof racks on the SE and SEL can now be easily stowed, Volkswagen says. The Routan also receives three new airbags, increasing its standard airbag count to seven.
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. Exterior features include:
- Optional power sliding doors
- Optional power liftgate
- Optional xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights
- Optional fog lights
- Optional roof rack
The Routan's dashboard carries two distinct layers separated by metallic trim. Unlike the Town & Country and Grand Caravan, whose dashboards received substantial upgrades for 2011, the Routan bears only a redesigned multifunction steering wheel. The gauges and climate controls have distinct markings. The steering wheel doesn't telescope, however. Interior features include:
- 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. Like both of them, the Routan receives a new 3.6-liter V-6 for 2011. It replaces the outgoing 3.8-liter and 4.0-liter V-6, but its power ratings exceed both. A new Eco dashboard button optimizes shift points for the six-speed automatic for better gas mileage. Mechanical features include:
- 3.6-liter V-6 with 283 hp and 260 pounds-feet of torque
- Standard six-speed automatic transmission
- Maximum towing capacity of 3,600 pounds
For 2011, a driver's knee airbag and side-impact airbags for the front seats join the Routan's standard side curtain airbags. Including the required dual front airbags, the Routan now has a total of seven standard airbags. Safety features include:
- Standard antilock brakes
- Standard electronic stability system
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