2012 Volkswagen Routan Minivan Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Volkswagen Routan Minivan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Volkswagen Routan Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.6 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 283 hp @ 6350 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Volkswagen Routan

  • While the 2012 Volkswagen Routan is a competent minivan, it's still outclassed by newer and more appealing competitors.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Comfortable seats; slightly nicer cabin than Chrysler siblings.

  • Cons

    Lacks second-row seat versatility; limited driver legroom; Chrysler mechanicals serviced by Volkswagen mechanics.

  • What's New for 2012

    The 2012 Volkswagen Routan gets just a few minor changes, including a new blind-spot warning system and Rear Cross-Path Detection on the top-of-the-line SEL Premium. SEL models equipped with the navigation system also add keyless entry/ignition and rain-sensing wipers to the standard equipment list.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Still going strong

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Routan

We have over 61k miles with no major issues. Only problem is the brakes. My dealer replaced them at 26k miles no charge then I had to replace them at 55k miles with aftermarket cause oem rotors are crap. Other than the brakes I'm happy with my purchase. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Electrical and service nightmare

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Routan

Purchased from Ken Garff VW in Orem in November of 2011. Within less than a month we were at the service dep. getting things fixed. First it was the paint and weather stripping around all the windows chipping and pealing and discolored. Then it was several trips for a shifting problem. They said it was electrical and they said they fixed it. But we were back 5 times and 2 so called recall updates to the electrical before finally another location replaced something I the engine. That seemed to help. But then the motor for the AC and heater broke. Then the electrical went crazy and my car shut off mid driving. Now it's in the shop and I am ready to call it a lemon and get a new car.

Cannot stand this van

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Routan

This is my first minivan and I bought it used to save some bucks. However, I completely regret my purchase. My main complaint on this thing is interior quality. It seems like everything is taped together. Both front seats creak, creaks in the pillars, rattle in the dash and right sliding door rattles. Not to mention the windows rattle when they are down. The suspension on this thing is definitely stiffer which is fine but when the interior is built so poorly it easily shows. The worst part is the Caravan seems better by a small margin. I am ditching this thing for an Odyssey and willing to lose some cash on my trade in. That's just how much I hate it.

Great gas milage

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Routan

I have owned this vehicle since August of 2011. I have put only 8600 miles on the vehicle, and have made to extended trips, one of over 500 miles. On that trip I filled up at start and drove 276 miles. I drove between 65-70 mph, made one stop, and got over 30 miles per gallon actual. I had issues with the vehicle's cruise control. Sometimes it will work, sometimes not. Has been to dealer twice and whatever they did, cruise still not working properly. Also have noticed a jerking feeling frquently when backing. Dealership said they know of problem but to date they have not fixed it. I like the car overall. Drives well, fairly quiet on road. The free oilchanges for 36 months a plus.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Not bad...could be better.

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Routan

The 2011 VW Routan is a drastic improvement over the previous year due to design refreshes and a more potent powertrain featuring a six speed transmission, the new Penstar 3.6L 283 HP Six cylinder engine, and euro sport tune suspension. The build quality of the Routan's interior is very good with excellent materials. Exterior styling is nice and not overly done and boxy like the Dodge/Chrysler models. Its sleek sloping lines are just right. Storage is abundant and replaces the stow n go found in the Routan's cousin. The Routan is an excellent choice over Chrysler, but considering quality and refinement... Honda and Toyota may be a better choice.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

12,000 miles and going strong

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Routan

We purchased the 2011 Routan for our summer driving season. This van has been great for us. The navigation and ent. system are very easy to use. It is also nice to have the various electronic access points in the rear seats. We drove the van 12,000 this summer and cannot be disappointed.

Gas Mileage


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

Full 2012 Volkswagen Routan Review

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Volkswagen Routan gets just a few minor changes, including a new blind-spot warning system and Rear Cross-Path Detection on the top-of-the-line SEL Premium. SEL models equipped with the navigation system also add keyless entry/ignition and rain-sensing wipers to the standard equipment list.


The 2012 Volkswagen Routan is based on the same platform as the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan. Virtually identical to its American cousins save for a unique grille and rear end treatments, the Volkswagen version offers a slightly firmer suspension designed to make it more fun to drive. Unfortunately, these changes aren't enough to eclipse other, more polished, minivans.

The Routan does share the same 283-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine. It also gets many of the features American families have come to expect in a minivan, including power-operated sliding side doors, an available dual-screen rear seat video entertainment system and more. On the other hand, the Routan lacks some of the cool features available on the Grand Caravan and Town & Country like the handy Stow 'n Go second-row seats.

Mostly, however, the Routan's real problem is simply that it's up against some incredibly stiff competition. To see what we mean, we'd strongly recommend comparing it against the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, both of which are hard to top for their combination of solid engineering, competent driving dynamics and innovative features. The recently remade Nissan Quest is also worth a look by virtue of its distinctive styling and unique interior layout.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Volkswagen Routan is a minivan available in S, SE, SEL and SEL Premium trim levels.

The entry-level S model comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, power rear vent windows, keyless entry, three-zone manual climate control, second-row captain's chairs, third-row folding bench seat and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio input jack.

The SE adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack, upgraded exterior trim, power-sliding side doors, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat with lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, power-adjustable pedals, second- and third-row sunshades, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an overhead storage console, a trip computer, Bluetooth and a six-CD changer. SE models with the Rear Seat Entertainment (RSE) package gain dual video screens for the second and third rows, a power rear liftgate, rearview camera, touchscreen audio interface, single-CD player (in place of the six-disc changer), digital music storage and satellite radio. A Garmin navigation system can also be added on models with the RSE package.

Step up to the SEL and you get automatic headlights, a sunroof, remote starting, automatic three-zone climate control, leather upholstery, heated second-row seats, a power-folding third-row seat, a rearview camera, a Chrysler-sourced navigation system with real-time traffic info and voice controls and the touchscreen audio interface with digital music storage, satellite radio and an iPod interface. The rear-seat DVD entertainment system is available as an option here, too, and also comes with keyless entry/ignition and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

The SEL Premium gets xenon headlights, foglights, keyless entry/ignition, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, additional chrome exterior trim, driver seat memory functions, an eight-way power passenger seat, interior wood trim, an advanced trip computer and a nine-speaker audio system. Also available are a blind spot warning system and a cross-path detection system.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 VW Routan is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 283 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.

EPA fuel economy estimates are 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. In Edmunds testing of the mechanically identical Dodge Grand Caravan, this powertrain got it from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds, which is about a half-second slower than the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.


The 2012 Volkswagen Routan comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, front side-impact airbags, a driver side knee airbag and side curtain airbags that cover all three rows. A rearview camera is available on SE and SEL models. The SEL Premium trim level comes standard with a blind zone warning system and Rear Cross-Path Detection, which alerts the driver to approaching cars or pedestrians when backing out of a parking spot with limited visibility.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Routan its highest possible rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset and side crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

While the 2012 Volkswagen Routan's passenger cabin is still a bit nicer than those of the Grand Caravan and Town & Country, recent upgrades to the Dodge and Chrysler versions means they no longer look quite as cheap by comparison. Even so, for an automaker known for its top-quality interiors, the Routan looks low-budget compared to other models in the VW lineup.

Up front, some drivers may find the seat and pedals a little too close to one another for comfort. The second-row seats lack the removable center section found in the Odyssey and Sienna that bumps total passenger capacity to eight, not to mention the clever Stow 'n Go feature found in the Dodge and Chrysler that allows them to fold down into the floor to maximize cargo space. The Routan's third-row seat does fold into the floor, but it's tilted rearward enough when in use that sitting there ends up feeling a little awkward.

When it's time to haul freight instead of passengers, the Routan offers 83 cubic feet of space behind the second-row seats. Remove those and you have a cavernous 144.4 cubic feet of cargo room.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the 2012 Volkswagen Routan's firmer suspension tuning gives it better handling than you might expect from such a big and boxy people mover, though it still pales by comparison to the driving dynamics of the Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna SE. As expected, though, the Routan delivers a comfortable ride.

The 3.6-liter V6 engine is powerful, though it can sound a bit unrefined under hard acceleration compared to the Odyssey, Sienna and the rest of VW's engine lineup. The six-speed automatic is well-matched, however, producing quick shifts that help make the most of the engine's output.

Talk About The 2012 Routan

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