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2010 Volkswagen Routan: Loading Zone


Side Exterior View - 2010 Volkswagen Routan 4-door Wagon SE

Side Exterior View - 2010 Volkswagen Routan 4-door Wagon SE

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A corporate boardroom shuffle left residue---a VW-branded Mopar-built minivan called the Routan. It has unique body panels, a retuned suspension and a Euro-style dash pad. Otherwise, its similar to Chrysler's Town & Country.

Its strong suit: cargo hauling. It easily ingests bulky items. Unlike Chrysler's vans, Routans don't have the mid-row, Stow 'n Go seating. That's a bonus; the wider chairs, which cannot tuck under the floor, are more comfortable. You remove them or fold them. The latter exposes sharp under-seat hardware.

The third-row, split bench is motorized. It acrobatically moves fore-and-aft, folds into a floor well or back flips creating a tailgater's lounge. Other trick features include swiveling overhead LED spotlights, motorized sliding side doors and self-lifting rear lid. There are two glove boxes. The navigation system requires an intensive training session; resetting home is difficult. In contrast, there's a simple voice-prompt demo. The rear-view camera's image is atmospheric Stieglitz--soft and grainy.

Aesthetically, the interior has European shapes and materials but fabric tufts look untidy and doors aren't ergonomically sculpted. Instrument faces slant making daytime reflections problematic. Plastic-covered, seat-mounted armrests rattled. Watch your feet. Due to insufficient space, toes are pinched between the dashboard's lower edge and the brake pedal. A sharp metal bracket adjacent to the throttle pedal threatens. The sliding front console jams.

Ride quality seems resilient but expansion joints produce kicks. It sounds hushed but wind rush, suspension clunks and the groaning engine are noticeable.

Handling is a sore spot. If the Routan's suspension is Euro-tuned, it's intended for an Autobahn rest area. Steering is slow, inert. Get frisky and the Bridgestone tires scream. Stability program kicks in early. In addition, the brakes feel overwhelmed.

There are two engine options. This one's 251-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 with six-speed automatic transmission, gets better mpg than the base 3.8-liter. While the engine and tranny collaborate, it frequently downshifts from sixth to fifth. EPA figures: 17 mpg city; 25 highway. I observed 18 mpg; mid-grade fuel recommended.

A Routan SEL's base price is nearly $37,000, as equipped it's $42,000. Expect discounts.

Get an in-depth review at TheCarConnection's 2010 Volkswagen Routan page

 
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Comments (3)
  1. I own a 2009 Routan SEL and am very happy with it. Being of average height, I don't have the "foot pinch" issue Cliff speaks of. For me, the adjustable pedals work nicely, and meet my needs much better than a telescoping steering wheel. I like the non-Stow-n-Go seats, they're very comfortable. I almost never removed the middle seats in the 2 minivans I owned before, so I don't see this as an issue.
     
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  2. I just bought my 2010 Routan SE with Rear Entertainment System and love it! I like the stiffer/sportier feel of the steering as compared to the Honda Odyssey. My parents have an Odyssey, so I am very familiar with them, and like most about them. I feel however that the Routan is very comparable in quality to the Odyssey, but with a better price. I also love the dual dvd players and the additional storage behind the front seats due to the "stow n go" area that is not utilized in this van. It provides extra storage that the other brands do not.
     
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  3. Just validates the quality of Chryslers' minivans. Too bad a lack of resources provided in development didn't allow full potential to be achieved. Look for new updated vans to get closer to that perfect"10". Will the press give Chrysler credit for effort and improvement?
     
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