2011 Volkswagen Routan Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Powerful engine
- comfortable seats
- slightly nicer cabin than Chrysler siblings.
- Lacks second-row seat versatility
- limited driver legroom
- Chrysler mechanicals serviced by Volkswagen mechanics.
While it has certain advantages over the Chrysler minivans upon which it is based, the 2011 Volkswagen Routan still doesn't stack up to the best-in-class models.
Somewhere a hippie is weeping. Elsewhere a camping enthusiast is wondering where he'll be sleeping next. For decades, Volkswagen vans have been the go-to vehicles for these two groups -- not to mention surfers and High Times subscribers. So while the 2011 Volkswagen Routan is indeed a van with a VW in its grille, the fact that it's a mainstream minivan intended for families (and thus substantially more people) is sure to leave a few Deadheads crying into their pints of Cherry Garcia.
They might find some solace in the fact that the Routan is really a Volkswagen in name only. Behind its unique front fascia and underneath its slightly higher-quality interior is a Dodge Grand Caravan. You thought it looked familiar, didn't you? This heritage brings with it a number of advantages and disadvantages.
To kick things off in a positive way, the 2011 VW Routan inherits the Dodge's (and Chrysler Town & Country's) new 3.6-liter V6 that produces more power and gets better fuel economy than both Chrysler-sourced V6s found in the Routan last year. Beyond this, the Routan continues to provide the sort of interior layout and space expected by American minivan customers, while also offering family-friendly features like power sliding doors, a DVD entertainment system, heated rear seats and an iPod interface. A new integrated Garmin-sourced navigation system is now available for those who want route guidance for less money than the premium navigation system with its real-time traffic and other advanced features.
However, all of that also applies to the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan and the 2011 Chrysler Town & Country. Last year, we would've told you that the Routan stood out with better driving dynamics and a substantially nicer cabin. But for 2011, the Chrysler vans have closed the gap considerably (if not completely). Plus, the Chryslers still include Stow 'n Go seats and a few other features not available in the VW. And from a long-term ownership standpoint, you have to wonder how vested VW is in the Routan or what the service experience of a Chrysler vehicle at a VW dealership might be.
As such, it's hard to think of a significant reason why someone would opt for a 2011 Volkswagen Routan rather than one of its American siblings. But it's also important to note that the Chrysler minivans are far from class leaders. The 2011 Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna would be our picks and we highly suggest looking at those models first. The new 2011 Nissan Quest is also worth considering, as its unique interior layout and styling might be appealing to those looking for something different than the typical minivan. They certainly won't be getting it from the 2011 VW Routan.
2011 Volkswagen Routan models
The 2011 Volkswagen Routan is a minivan available in S, SE, SEL and SEL Premium trim levels. The base S comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, power rear vent windows, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, rear air-conditioning controls, second-row captain's chairs, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
The SE gains 17-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack, upgraded exterior trim, power sliding doors, power-adjustable pedals, an eight-way power driver seat with lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, second- and third-row sunshades, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an overhead storage console, a trip computer, Bluetooth and a six-CD changer. When equipped with the Rear Seat Entertainment (RSE) package, the Routan SE gains a power tailgate, a rearview camera, a Chrysler-sourced touchscreen audio interface, a single-CD player (in place of the six-disc), digital music storage, satellite radio and video screens for the second and third rows. A Garmin navigation system can be integrated into the touchscreen audio interface included with the RSE package.
The SEL adds to the SE's equipment automatic headlamps, a sunroof, a remote ignition, a rearview camera, automatic three-zone climate control, leather upholstery, heated second-row seats, a power-folding third-row seat, the touchscreen audio interface, a Chrysler-sourced navigation system, real-time traffic, voice controls, digital music storage, satellite radio and an iPod interface. The rear-seat DVD entertainment features are optional on the SEL. The SEL Premium gets xenon headlamps, foglamps, keyless ignition/entry, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, additional chrome exterior trim, driver memory functions, an eight-way power passenger seat, interior wood trim, an advanced trip computer and a nine-speaker sound system.
Performance & mpg
The 2011 VW Routan is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. In Edmunds testing of the mechanically identical Dodge Grand Caravan, this powertrain/minivan combo went from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds, which is about a half-second slower than the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.
The 2011 Volkswagen Routan comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes and brake assist, front side airbags, a driver knee airbag and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is available.
The Routan has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash-testing procedures. However, its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to 2011 tests) were a perfect five stars in front and side crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Routan the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side crash tests.
For such a large conveyance, the 2011 Volkswagen Routan still acquits itself fairly well around corners while also swallowing most bumps and ruts without complaint. Its driving dynamics still remain a step or two behind the segment-leading Honda Odyssey, however.
The new-for-2011 V6 engine is a big improvement, as it's more powerful and fuel-efficient than what VW offered last year. Still, this engine lacks the refinement (specifically in regard to sound) found in the Odyssey and Sienna -- not to mention Volkswagen's actual engine lineup. On the upside, the six-speed automatic does an admirable job of keeping power on tap.
Now that the interiors of the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan are much improved for 2011, the Routan's advantage over its siblings has shrunk considerably. The dash covering, seat upholstery, steering wheel and several bits of switchgear continue to be nicer than what you find in this van when it carries an American label, but there's still too much Chrysler content here (especially the audio interfaces) to put the Routan on par with Volkswagen's typical offerings.
The Routan lacks the Caravan's Stow 'n Go seats that allow you to drop the second-row captain's chairs into the floor, not to mention the removable middle seats found in the Odyssey and Sienna. But at least they're more comfortable than those in the Chrysler. The Routan's third-row seat still folds into the floor, but its severe rearward tilt that creates legroom for taller passengers may be a bit strange for shorter folks or kids.
Speaking of taller folks, those of even average height may find that the driver seat and pedals are placed too close together -- even when both power-adjustable features are set at their farthest apart. In typical minivan form, the Routan can hold an immense amount of cargo with the second-row seats removed -- 144 feet, to be precise.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover16.4%
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestNot Tested
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
Used 2011 Volkswagen Routan Overview
The Used 2011 Volkswagen Routan is offered in the following submodels: Routan Minivan. Available styles include SE 4dr Minivan w/Rear Seat Ent (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SE 4dr Minivan w/Rear Seat Ent, Nav (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SE 4dr Minivan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), S 4dr Minivan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SEL 4dr Minivan w/Rear Seat Ent, Nav (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SEL Premium 4dr Minivan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), and SEL 4dr Minivan w/Navigation (3.6L 6cyl 6A). Pre-owned Volkswagen Routan models are available with a 3.6 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 283 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2011 Volkswagen Routan comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed automatic. The Used 2011 Volkswagen Routan comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2011 Volkswagen Routan?
Price comparisons for Used 2011 Volkswagen Routan trim styles:
- The Used 2011 Volkswagen Routan SE is priced between $6,995 and$6,995 with odometer readings between 131963 and131963 miles.
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Which used 2011 Volkswagen Routans are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Volkswagen Routan for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2011 Routans listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,995 and mileage as low as 131963 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 Volkswagen Routan.
Can't find a used 2011 Volkswagen Routans you want in your area? Consider a broader search.
Find a used Volkswagen Routan for sale - 10 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $11,633.
Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 11 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $13,365.
Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Routan for sale - 12 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $9,272.
Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 3 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $21,342.
Should I lease or buy a 2011 Volkswagen Routan?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.