2012 Volkswagen Routan

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2012 Volkswagen Routan
2012 Volkswagen Routan

Key specs

Base trim shown


Body style


Combined MPG


Seating capacity

202.5” x 68.9”


Front-wheel drive



The good:

  • Power of 3.6-liter V-6
  • Safety features
  • Kid-friendly gadgets
  • VW styling
  • Lots of storage areas
  • Garmin-based navigation

The bad:

  • Limited seating versatility
  • Some cheap interior parts
  • Third-row comfort

4 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2012 Volkswagen Routan trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best Minivans for 2023

Notable features

  • Related to Dodge Grand Caravan
  • 3.6-liter V-6
  • Six-speed automatic
  • Available backseat TV
  • Available MP3-ready hard drive

2012 Volkswagen Routan review: Our expert's take

By BreAnn Ahara

As a young girl, I had unrealistic dreams of kicking conventionality and carting my future children around in a Volkswagen Bus. Now I’m an adult with two daughters, and I was more than happy to cart them around in the 2012 Volkswagen Routan minivan.

The 2012 Volkswagen Routan is no Bus; it’s a modern family hauler that caters to parents with its versatility and safety features.

The Routan proudly wears the VW emblem on its grille. It’s basically an upscale version of the Dodge Grand Caravan or Chrysler Town & Country. My family took the Routan on a road trip from Los Angeles to Arizona. Accelerating onto the highway felt effortless even when the Routan was filled to the brim with people and luggage. Braking the fully loaded minivan took a little getting used to as I could feel the weight of the van and its contents.

My test car was the SEL Premium trim level, which afforded me not only leather seats and touch-screen navigation but also a rear entertainment system and a blind spot monitoring system. All those little luxuries were reflected in my test car’s price. The Routan starts at $27,020, but my top-of-the-line test car cost $44,280. That price stings a little.

I like the look of most modern minivans and the boxy 2012 Routan is no exception. I also recognize that with its boxy shape the Routan might as well have the “Baby on Board” emblem etched onto its rear, but the mom-mobile look comes with some serious perks.

First and foremost are the optional power sliding doors that open with the push of a button. I’m pretty sure the power sliding door was invented to save the oldest child from the humiliation of having a pajama-clad parent get out of the car and open their door for them at the school drop-off lane. I have been in denial for three years that I’ll ever be “that” parent, but now that I’m expecting my third child, power dual-sliding doors are looking quite nice.

The Routan’s step-in height was perfect for my 3-year-old to climb in on her own, but it wasn’t too high that I struggled to buckle up my 1-year-old in her rear-facing car seat. A power liftgate comes standard on the SEL and SEL Premium trims. 

The 2012 VW Routan has a 283-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 engine with a standard six-speed automatic. It gets an EPA-estimated 17/25 mpg city/highway. Thankfully, only regular unleaded fuel is required.

Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Excellent
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times

My fully loaded Routan left me wanting for few things when it came to the interior. The optional leather seats were soft, the Bluetooth-enabled sound system was clear and thanks to the optional rear entertainment system, the kids were quiet. It all added up to road trip bliss.

Not only could my girls watch movies while seated in the second row, but the screen also could be split to allow them to play video games. To top it off, there was a second screen available for the third-row passengers. As if that wasn’t enough, the wireless headphones made it so my husband and I never had to hear any of it.

The van’s storage compartments were so ample and numerous that my husband and I lost our house keys and camera for more than an hour because we couldn’t remember which of the compartments we had put them in. The rear cargo area was adequate enough for the luggage for our road trip or a mega-grocery trip with two cartloads of goodies.

My husband and I found the legroom in the first two rows to be a good fit for our family of four with two kids in convertible car seats. However, once we started using the third row, things started to get a little cramped. An adult would have a hard time sitting behind a second row filled with car seats because we slid the second-row captain’s chairs all the way back to fit the car seats. This was disappointing considering a minivan’s key feature is the usability of three full rows.

The Routan has some versatility when it comes to the third row’s folding capability. With the push of a button the seats fold forward, disappearing into the minivan’s floor. I was frustrated by the second-row captain’s chairs, though. They’re supposed to tumble forward and out of the way, but once folded they were cumbersome and stuck out, making it difficult to climb into the third row. 

Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample

The 2012 Routan has been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A car must receive the top score of Good in frontal-offset, side-impact, rear and roof-strength crash tests to receive this safety nod. It also received four stars out of five in a rollover crash test conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

There are two sets of lower Latch anchors in the second row’s captain’s chairs and a third set in the third row. Installing my convertible car seats in the second-row captain’s chairs was a breeze, thanks to the easily accessible Latch anchors. However, it was frustrating when installing a convertible car seat in the third row. It was cumbersome to access the back row and the Latch anchors were off-center in the three-seat bench, making the car seat take up half of the bench so one less person could sit there when a car seat is installed. Normally I’d recommend a booster seat for the third row, but the seat belt buckles are floppy, making it difficult for younger ones to buckle up by themselves.

The 2012 Routan has standard front-wheel drive, all-disc antilock brakes with brake assist, an electronic stability system with traction control, a backup camera and seven airbags, including side curtains for three rows and a driver’s knee airbag.

Get more safety information about the 2012 Volkswagen Routan here.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.4
  • Interior design 4.1
  • Performance 4.3
  • Value for the money 4.2
  • Exterior styling 4.4
  • Reliability 4.0

Most recent consumer reviews


Routan SEL

Our Routan sel purchased w 60,000 miles had it about ten years - biggest costs thermostat/ radiator $1000, last year transmission component $1800- otherwise general maintenance - front window motors $250 4.0 engine great rev and pep


Great van for the money.Maybe it will outlast me!

I bought my 2012 Volkswagen Routon SE used from a personal owner. After doing a Carfax I find out that it had been in the hands of at least four maybe five dealerships. The reason it was traded in so many times due to the check engine light coming on and going off but not really having any problems. But I don’t care about that light. I’ve driven the van maybe 20,000 miles and now has just over 90,000 and there has been no problems. The ride is a little stiff maybe it’s because there’s too much air in the tires, but it’s dependable, I’m impressed. But I do not like the cheap gauges and the plastic handles. But one that makes these vans different that Town and country Inn grand caravans is the plastic frame alongside the seat. It’s lower and less aft to break. I’m a heavy guy and I really like that. And the seating for the driver is really great. My van is a 2012 and this is 2022 and I mean every little feature works on the video. I couldn’t be more happy with it if I had to. And it’s a metal flake black with different colors in it and brown interior. My late mother bought a 2012 Chrysler and Country new, and I bought a 2017 Grand Caravan GT. They are providing that computer is right in the dash the Volkswagen gets substantial amount of better fuel mileage. The interior is a little cheap but one can live with that. Now that it’s getting a little older you can hear the windows in the doors making a slight noise as if they’re loose when I go up and down. Typical wear. But it’s garaged kept and often cleaned, Maybe it will outlast me! I’m a proud owner


Best car I have ever owned

I love my Routan I don’t think I’ll ever own another kind of vehicle. It’s comfy, has every feature I wanted and looked for and my little girls absolutely love it to. The only thing I wish it had and it still might km still learning the features, is away to use my phone over the speakers and the kids dvd still Have sound. Best car I have ever owned.

See all 28 consumer reviews


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Volkswagen
New car program benefits
36 months/36,000 miles
36 months/unlimited distance
60 months/60,000 miles
36 months/36,000 miles
Roadside assistance
36 months/36,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
MY 2016-MY 2017 vehicles/75,000 miles; MY 2018- MY 2019 vehicles/72,000 miles; MY 2020 and newer vehicles/75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
Vehicles purchased on or after 1/5/21: MY 2017 & older, 2 yrs/24,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty; MY 2018-19, 1 yr/12,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty; MY 2020 & newer, 2 years/24,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty
Dealer certification required
100-plus point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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