The Volkswagen Routan has been updated with new features for 2011 headlined by a new 3.6-liter V6 engine that brings more power and refinement without sacrificing fuel economy. That's good news because a lack of power has been Routan's weakest point.
The Routan minivan offers space for up to seven adults and their belongings in a high-quality cabin with amenities similar to those of a home theater.
The 2011 Volkswagen Routan is powered by a new 3.6-liter V6 engine. Rated at 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, the new Pentastar V6 is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. That's substantially more power than the previous 3.8-liter and 4.0-liter V6s used in the 2009-10 Routan models.
Fuel economy for the 2011 Routan with the new 3.6-liter V6 is an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. That matches the fuel economy of the 4.0-liter V6 in the 2010 Routan SEL and beats the old 3.8-liter V6. A new fuel optimization switch allows the driver to select an ECO mode which adjusts shift patterns to increase fuel economy.
The Routan is basically a Chrysler Town & Country with a different interior, a Volkswagen exterior, and revised suspension settings. It has nothing in common with previous Volkswagen minivans. The new Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 is built by Chrysler. Routan was introduced for 2009.
Underway, the Routan offers a pleasant ride and the driver enjoys a commanding view of the road.
The Volkswagen has a nicer interior than the Chrysler, and the Routan is a virtual rolling living room for families. New interior fabrics are available on 2011 Routan models, along with new interior colors. New perforated front row seating with pillow top armrests and second row captain?s chairs offer an increased level of luxury and comfort. All 2011 Routan models include an all new leather-wrapped steering wheel with multi-function controls, a leather-wrapped shift knob, and a full assortment of gauges. Underfoot is a high-density carpet, with matching floor mats, which add to the interior appeal. Routan is available with dual power sliding doors with power windows, power-folding third-row seating for extra storage room or tailgating function.
The cabin is wired for phones, MP3 players and game consoles, with 12-volt outlets, 115-volt house current. A DVD rear-seat entertainment system features screens in both the second and third rows. Video game systems can be plugged in, and each screen can show something different, including the front navigation screen. Also offered is Volkswagen's JoyBox hard-drive radio. It has a 30-gigabyte hard drive that can hold thousands of song and picture files.
Intelligent storage solutions can be found with dual glove boxes, a floor console, 13 cup holders, an available highline console with a large storage compartment, available ceiling storage, door sill and rear quarter storage bins, cargo nets, and a variety of coat and bag and purse hooks throughout. Airline style LED reading lights are ready in all three seating rows, while sunshades and privacy glass keep unwanted light from shining through. When sunshine and fresh air are wanted, a power sunroof is available.
Volkswagen opted to make the second-row seats thicker and more comfortable than those in the Town & Country. The Routan lacks the Stow 'n Go and the Swivel 'n Go seating features that make Chrysler minivans unique because the bigger seats won't fit in the storage bins. The Routan does have the useful underfloor storage areas, however. The second-row seats fold flat and are removable.
The third-row seats fold into the floor. A flat load floor big enough for 4x8-foot sheets of plywood can be created by removing the second-row seats and folding the third row into the floor, a great feature. The Routan can haul an enormous amount of cargo in this configuration. When the third-row seats are up, there is a handy well behind them that's great for groceries.