2009 Volkswagen Routan Minivan Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Volkswagen Routan Minivan

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Volkswagen Routan Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 251 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Volkswagen Routan

  • The 2009 Volkswagen Routan makes improvements on its Chrysler roots. But with rivals like the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna to choose from, we can't recommend this Germanified creation.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Perfect crash-test scores, comfortable seats, powerful optional V6 engine.

  • Cons

    Interior tweaks can't mask ho-hum Chrysler roots, ponderous and inefficient base engine.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Volkswagen Routan is all-new -- um, except for all the parts it shares with Chrysler's minivans, that is.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (8 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Do not buy a routan

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Vehicle: 2009 Volkswagen Routan SEL CARB 4dr Minivan w/Rear Seat Entertainment (4.0L 6cyl 6A)

Unless you want to spend a lot of time at the VW service dept, do not buy this minivan. We bought new 9 months ago and it has been serviced numerous times for same malfunctions: electrical, brake rotors, sensor failure, seats getting stuck, steering wheel vibration, and most importantly safety issues which VW and the dealership fail to recognize. The electric sliding door pinned our 2 year old son and the sensors failed to re-open the door. Others have experienced the same issue and yet VW keeps saying the doors are safe and the sensors work fine. Also, no alarm sounds if the doors are open and the car is in motion. This is quite unbelievable from a German manufacturer!




Likes and dislikes

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Vehicle: 2009 Volkswagen Routan SEL CARB 4dr Minivan w/Rear Seat Entertainment (4.0L 6cyl 6A)

Very poor city driving mileage. We came from an Odyssey so we were surprised at this. The interior leather looks cheap (thanks to the Chrysler design). The kids constantly bump their heads on the DVD players when going in and out of the vehicle so keeping the screens closed helps! Other than that, we have not taken it on a long trip, so I can't judge comfort or gas mileage fully. It has 6k miles on it and I hope we are one of the lucky ones that does not incur any mechanical issues. We love the sched. maint. We love the options i.e. remote start and heated rear seats, for the money it is a good deal. I have owned 4 VW's so far. Hope this one is built just as well.?! Only time will tell




Great van

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Vehicle: 2009 Volkswagen Routan SEL CARB 4dr Minivan w/Rear Seat Entertainment (4.0L 6cyl 6A)

We converted from the Honda. Best thing we EVER did. This car is fun to drive and fun to ride in. It is much more quiet then the Honda. Our family has taken it on two long trips and it was so much more comfortable than the Honda. We read all the reviews and feel like the Routan was great by the experts, but the people who live with it liked it. We love it!




Great van

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Volkswagen Routan SEL CARB 4dr Minivan w/Rear Seat Entertainment (4.0L 6cyl 6A)

We looked at everything and decided on the Routan because to the style and drivability. Bluetooth, dual sliders, nav, and JoyBox a plus. The engine is solid and fun to drive, from what I can tell you need to get the SEL or above to really get a good idea on the quality of the vehicle.




Vw routan 09 pulls to

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Vehicle: 2009 Volkswagen Routan SEL CARB 4dr Minivan w/Rear Seat Entertainment (4.0L 6cyl 6A)

I purchase VW Routan this year and immediately noticed during the first week that the van pulls to the right. Took it to the dealer and they tried few things but no luck. They balanced tires, installed new ones and still the issue still present. I have contact VW customer service and reported to them of the problem. There is also a passenger side sliding door problem. The door will not stay latched open at incline. Overall, not happy with the van. I owned odyssey before and this van doesn't really compare well to Honda for the drive.




1st time van owner

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Vehicle: 2009 Volkswagen Routan SEL CARB 4dr Minivan w/Rear Seat Entertainment (4.0L 6cyl 6A)

I have never owned a minivan and was suspect to performance. We have owned this for about a month and love it. Took it on a road trip over a weekend, put about 1000 miles on it and it felt great. Extremely comfortable, and instruments easy to use. Nav system is a must with interactive traffic redirection. Am getting about 15 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway.We have had to bring in for service once as condensation was building inside the headlight assembly. The transmission is smooth, but with 6 speeds the gear ratio makes for a lot of shifting.



Full 2009 Volkswagen Routan Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Volkswagen Routan is all-new -- um, except for all the parts it shares with Chrysler's minivans, that is.

Introduction

Volkswagen has a long history of producing small vans, from the iconic Microbus to the funky Vanagons from the 1980s. However, there hasn't been a minivan in VW's lineup since the EuroVan bowed out in 2003. The 2009 Volkswagen Routan minivan is VW's way of rectifying this situation. For traditional VW buyers, this is good news -- Volkswagen dealers now have something that will meet the needs of large families in search of maximum passenger and cargo space. But there's bad news, too -- the Routan is basically a gussied-up Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Grand Caravan.

Yep, you read that right. VW wanted a minivan ASAP, Chrysler had excess production capacity at its plant in Windsor, Ontario, thanks to the extinction of the Pacifica, and the Routan is the product of this unlikely marriage. You'd think the VW folks would have learned a lesson from their countrymen at Daimler-Benz, whose dalliance with Chrysler proved costly in terms of both brand image and the bottom line. But Volkswagen believes that its improvements on the Grand Caravan formula will be sufficient to woo would-be Odyssey or Sienna buyers.

The tweaks start with styling. While the Routan's overall shape is pure Dodge, its front end receives Volkswagen's familiar headlight and grille design, and the slick-looking taillights are VW-specific as well. Inside, the dashboard layout has been revised for a more upscale appearance, though the chintzy switchgear is straight out of the Chrysler parts bin. Dodge's innovative Stow 'n Go and Swivel 'n Go second-row seats are unavailable in the Routan, but VW compensates with superior seat comfort, and the third-row seats still fold into the floor for cargo-carrying duty. Underneath it all, the Routan makes do with the same suspension layout as the Chrysler vans, though numerous revisions by VW's engineers aim to produce a more refined driving experience.

The reasonably priced 2009 VW Routan is indeed a better vehicle and probably the best of the three. But that's not saying much. Chrysler's myriad quality issues with its newest minivans don't bode well for the Routan, and even putting these aside, this is not a segment-leading minivan to begin with. It's a competent people mover with a hint of Germanic flair, but rival models like the Honda Odyssey, Hyundai Entourage/Kia Sedona twins and Toyota Sienna will serve the typical minivan buyer better.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Volkswagen Routan seven-passenger minivan is available in three trim levels: S, SE and SEL. Base S models come standard with 16-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry, heated side mirrors, a six-speaker CD/MP3 audio system with auxiliary input audio jack, a removable second-row bench seat and a 60/40-split third-row bench that folds into the floor. The SE adds 17-inch alloy wheels, power-sliding rear doors, upgraded cloth upholstery, tri-zone manual climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, removable second-row captain's chairs, rear sunshades and an upgraded audio system with a six-CD changer The top-of-the-line SEL tacks on a larger engine, leather upholstery, power-adjustable pedals, heated seats for the first and second rows, a power liftgate and Bluetooth connectivity.

Optional on all models is an entertainment package. On the S model, this adds a DVD player, second- and third-row flip-down screens, Bluetooth, the upgraded audio system, satellite radio and tri-zone manual air-conditioning. SE and SEL models with this package also get all-row DVD playback, a 30-gigabyte hard-drive-based audio system, a back-up camera and the power liftgate (SE).

Some of the standard features on higher trim levels can be added as options on lower trims. Towing preparation with a load-leveling rear suspension is available on all three trims, while a navigation system that's bundled with the hard-drive-based audio system, satellite radio and the back-up camera is optional on the SE and SEL. The SEL-only Premium package adds xenon headlights, foglamps, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, a sunroof, remote engine start, a nine-speaker, 506-watt audio system, an eight-way power passenger seat, a power-folding third-row seat, a memory function for the driver seat and pedals, a 115-volt AC power outlet and rear park assist.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2009 Volkswagen Routan S and SE models come with a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 197 horsepower and 230 pound-feet of torque. The SEL is outfitted with a more sophisticated 4.0-liter V6 making 253 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Surprisingly, the smaller 3.8-liter engine is rated at just 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined, while the 4.0-liter V6 yields a respectable 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. The latter also provides superior acceleration from zero to 60 mph -- 8.9 seconds, according to VW's estimates, versus 10.2 for the 3.8-liter mill.

Safety

The 2009 Volkswagen Routan comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control and full-length side curtain airbags. In government crash tests, the Routan scored a perfect five stars in all frontal and side impact categories. Likewise, in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Routan scored the best possible rating of "Good" in the frontal offset and side impact crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

VW has spruced up the Routan's Dodge-sourced interior with a revised dash layout, including a modified center stack and Volkswagen's trademark red and blue backlighting. However, anyone who has spent time in the Town & Country or Grand Caravan will instantly recognize the cheap-feeling switchgear, dash-mounted shifter and basic overall design as straight outta Motown. The Routan lacks Dodge's innovative Stow 'n Go and Swivel 'n Go second-row seats, but at least its conventional seats are nicely shaped. The third-row bench folds flat into the floor, while the second-row bench or captain's chairs can be removed for serious hauling duty. VW says the Routan can carry up to 144 cubic feet of cargo -- that's about average for a minivan, which is to say, it's gigantic.

Driving Impressions

Volkswagen says the Routan evinces "European ride and handling characteristics." Thing is, Europeans tend to drive vehicles that are half the Routan's size. For such a large conveyance, the Routan acquits itself fairly well on twisty roads while swallowing most bumps and ruts without complaint. However, its driving dynamics remain a step or two behind the segment-leading Honda Odyssey. The interior remains quiet at highway speeds, and the 4.0-liter V6 makes the 2009 VW Routan one of the fleeter minivans around, if you care about that sort of thing. The hoary 3.8-liter V6 is relatively sluggish and thirsty, but you're stuck with it unless you ante up for the SEL.

Talk About The 2009 Routan

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 17
  • cty
/
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs