2012 Volkswagen Routan Review

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable seats
  • slightly nicer cabin than Chrysler siblings.
  • Lacks second-row seat versatility
  • limited driver legroom
  • Chrysler mechanicals serviced by Volkswagen mechanics.
Other years
Volkswagen Routan for Sale
List Price Range
$7,383 - $9,790

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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

Vehicle overview

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.

2012 Volkswagen Routan models

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.

2012 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.


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.


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.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2012 Volkswagen Routan.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Love it
I really like this minivan. The interior is very appealing - drives very high up on the highway. Like the aluminum pentastar engine as well.
Crappy vw with Chrysler unreliable history
Julius m,01/07/2019
SE 4dr Minivan w/Rear Seat Ent, Nav (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
We bought this van last 2015 as a cpo from the dealer with 38k miles in it. When the car hits 45k miles the check engine light went on and it was the cracked head gasket. I noticed that as the miles goes up, the 3.6 pentacrap engine becomes more rough especially in the cold morning. Transmission is jerky in the cold morning as well. The tiptronic gone at 60k miles, transmission leaks at 65k engine mount bad on 65k and then fuel line detached from he engine at 70k miles, rockerarm gone bad at 83k miles and another rockerarm at 87k miles. Now my van wont start because TIPM gone bad and the dealer replaced wrong parts (great job for the mechanics). Its still sitting in the dealership. Why does VW picked a van that has worse reliability than them????? THey could have picked atlest honda or toyota and then rebadged it to VW. No more VW for me for life. These cars are just endless money pits.
Best Minivan for the Price
We got the best minivan for the price. We bought ours Certified Used 2012 Routan SE with Nav and DVD with only 2.5K miles for $24K for something we plan on owning for 5-6 years only. We looked at Toyota and Honda both very nice cars, but by going with Routan we saved 13K to 16K for the same options as other competitors. This minivan is convertible, quite when driving, powerful, nice looking and just what we were looking for. The one bad thing is they won’t be building this model any more for 2013 and dealers having some brand new 2012 minivans that you can save $7-8K off the sticker price with very good options. This being our first minivan we are so far happy with it


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover16.4%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2012 Volkswagen Routan

Used 2012 Volkswagen Routan Overview

The Used 2012 Volkswagen Routan is offered in the following submodels: Routan Minivan. Available styles include SE 4dr Minivan w/Rear Seat Ent, Nav (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SE 4dr Minivan w/Rear Seat Ent (3.6L 6cyl 6A), S 4dr Minivan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SE 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).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Volkswagen Routan?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Volkswagen Routan trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Volkswagen Routan SE is priced between $7,383 and$9,790 with odometer readings between 88754 and113583 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2012 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) 2012 Volkswagen Routan for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2012 Routans listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $7,383 and mileage as low as 88754 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 2012 Volkswagen Routan.

Can't find a used 2012 Volkswagen Routans you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Routan for sale - 2 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $25,459.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 12 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $20,692.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Routan for sale - 1 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $25,144.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 11 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $15,881.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 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.

Check out Volkswagen lease specials
Check out Volkswagen Routan lease specials