Volkswagen's Routan is the company's latest offering in the vein of the classic Transporter, or Type II "Bus," which made its debut nearly six decades ago. It is a seven-passenger minivan whose development was part of a joint venture with Chrysler, inventor of the modern-day minivan and the industry leader in that segment.
To inject true Volkswagen DNA into the vehicle, engineers and designers had to do more than just slap a VW badge on a Town & Country, and break it down to its most basic components. Time was spent fine tuning the suspension and steering systems to give the Routan the ride and handling characteristics you'd expect from a Volkswagen. The design team reshaped every body panel and a range of interior components to make this vehicle instantly recognizable as a member of the Volkswagen family. The company even went as far as tuning the seat cushions to the match the sportier ride and handling characteristics.
Two powerplants are available, a 197hp 3.8-liter V6 or an optional 4.0-liter V6 outputting 253 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Each is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. In spite of the big displacement in each of the V6 engines, VW claims highway economy figures upwards of 23 and 25 mpg for each engine respectively.
Three trim levels will be available: S, SE, and the top-of-the-line SEL. A long list of convenience features is available, from a rear-seat entertainment system for the second- and third-row passengers, to touch-screen navigation, to dual power sliding doors and power folding third-row seating. Standard safety features include front and side curtain airbags and VW's Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP), along with available HID headlamps and an ultrasonic rear-park assistance system.
2009 Volkswagen Routan
Front engine, front wheel drive
3.8-liter V6, ohv, 12-valve (S/SE trim)
4.0-liter V6, sohc, 24-valve (SEL trim)
MacPherson strut front, twist beam axle rear
Four-wheel disc, ventilated front rotors, solid rear rotors
Length/Width/Height (in.) 202.5/76.9/68.9
Wheelbase: 121.2 in.
4,507 lb (S/SE trim)
4,621 lb (SEL trim)
Peak Power: 197 hp @ 5200 rpm
Peak Torque: 230 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
0-60 mph: 10.2 sec.
Top Speed: 112 mph
Peak Power: 253 hp @ 6000 rpm
Peak Torque: 262 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
0-60 mph: 8.9 sec.
Top Speed: 112 mph
$24,700 (S trim)
$29,600 (SE trim)
$33,200 (SEL trim)