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Volkswagen Routan Back for 2011

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2009 Volkswagen Routan

2009 Volkswagen Routan

Defying some predictions from the rumor mill, the Volkswagen Routan minivan is coming back for the 2011 model year.

Since it shares running gear with the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan, the 2011 Routan gets similar updates, starting with the upgraded powertrain. This year, the offering is a 3.8-liter Pentastar V-6, teamed up with a six-speed automatic. The Routan's 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque are delivered to the front wheels.

The usual front, side and curtain airbags are fitted, with anti-lock brakes and stability control.

The Routan's been praised as a higher-quality version of the Chrysler minivans, but with the improvements to those vans, we're eager to see photos of the Routan. (The 2009 model is pictured here.) VW promises they're coming soon--but in the meantime, pricing has also been revealed:

Routan S: $26,930

Standard features include manual sliding side doors, cruise control, ambient lighting, AM/FM/CD with auxiliary audio jack, power windows/locks/mirrors, and cloth seats. In this edition, the second and third-row seats fold, and the second row captain's chairs are removable. Again this year, the Routan omits Chrysler's Stow 'N Go fold-away seating system, but the storage tubs that would contain seats in the Chryslers are fitted to the Routan's floor.

Routan SE: $31,770

Adds power sliding side doors, a power driver seat, heated mirrors, 17-inch wheels, power-adjustable pedals, a CD changer and Bluetooth, front heated seats, and vinyl upholstery.

Routan SE w/ RSE: $33,790

Adds on a rearview camera, a touchscreen-driven audio system with satellite radio, hard-drive storage and a USB port. The RSE stands for "rear-seat entertainment"--which means twin LCD screens and a back-seat DVD entertainment system with gaming ports.

Routan SE w/RSE and Nav: $34,750

Incorporates a navigation system.

Routan SEL: $37,390

Tops off other editions with a standard sunroof, automatic climate control, navigation system, satellite radio, USB port and real-time traffic. There's no DVD system, but leather upholstery applies to the first two rows of seats, and the rear end gets a load-leveling suspension.

Routan SEL w/RSE: $39,390

Adds back in the DVD entertainment system.

Routan SEL Premium: $43,240

Comes with a premium sound system, a 115-volt power outlet, memory for the power-adjustable pedals, and dual front power seats

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Comments (7)
  1. The fact that the Routan might be assummed to be of higher quality than the other two Chrysler built minivan just points to the ingrade bias of the auto press. Built right along side the Dodge and Chrysler minivans the Routan is 100% Chrysler except for some styling cues. To call it "higher quality" is rediculious since the same worker assembles the vans regardless of nameplate. OPPPS!
    If the interior of the VW has a higher level of material content(but obviously not quality of assembly) than that points out the restrictive budgets Chrysler was forced to accept from Ceberus.
    It is clear that VW recognizes that the fudamental design and quality of manufacture by Chrysler is world class and with the re engineering of the Dodge and Chrysler minivan, VW wants to share that improvement. SMART!
     
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  2. Bill,
    You my friend are wrong. Though the Routan is built in the same plant along side the Chrysler, VW uses completely different interior materials of much higher quality. The carpet is thicker, the seats are better quality and more comfortable. In addition, VW spent hundreds of thousands of dollars tweaking the suspension on the Routan so it doesn't drive like a tug boat the way all other mini vans drive.
    Go drive one before you make statements like the one above.
     
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  3. In fact, I believe the Routan's dashboard is actually sourced from Europe.
     
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  4. Respectfully, I believe you guys are drinking the cool aid. Do you think VW is going to source the almost identical dash used in the Dodge from Europe? Yes marginally better materials,maybe a differently calibrated shock, but not better or different assembly. Oh, who supplied those parts?
    It's a Chrysler minivan through and through. Chrysler body. Chrysler paint, Chrysler electronics, Chrysler door mechanics, Chrysler engines,alternators transmissions,brakes,exhaust,nuts bolts, screws, washers and the guys who put it all together--Chrysler. Maybe they source the workers from Europe when the VWs go down the line. Anyone else want cool aid during story hour?
    One fact not considered, Chrysler makes the worlds best minivan in BASIC DESIGN which is what VW signed on for and why Chrysler has been so successful in its re design efforts for their 2011 lineup. As stated, smart move by VW in sticking their logo on a Chrysler product. Yup- that logo was probably supplied by,and attached by-- you guessed it, Chrysler.
     
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  5. Bill has hit the nail on the head! Why doesn't VW get their own frame/body design and build it themselves?
    Need to check out the Chrysler T&C 2011's....they did a swag job of the interior!
     
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  6. Bill: I don't think anyone is disputing where the van was manufactured or by whom. Clearly it's a Chrysler Town and Country. But VW did design their own interior and suspension upgrades. I don't think "Higher Quality" necessarily means the build quality. Quality of materials goes a long way. And by your own admission, if Chrysler had their hands tied by Cerberus, it would make sense that VW's version would have a higher material quality, though not a higher build quality.
    And to your question Dave, VW CONTRACTED Chrysler to build their van. Chrysler accepted the contract. That's why.
     
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  7. My wife and I have begun shopping around for a minivan. About 5 years ago we got rid of our minivan and went the way of an SUV, for no other reason that driving a minivan as a 30 something male made me feel neutered. Now that being said, we are looking to go back to a minivan because of the better fuel mileage and better handling of a minivan. The interior room of an SUV with the handling of a car.
    I have personally driven both the Chrysler version and the VW version. The fit and finish of both are excellent. I found the VW version to have a much nicer feel to the handling and steering over the Chrysler version. I also found the seats to be more comfortable.
    Each person is different when it comes to their preferrences as to whether they like a softer suspension or one that is "tighter" and handles more like a car. The same goes for seating surfaces and the shapes of the seat. Whether you like something that has more lower back support (lumbar) or whether you want to feel like you are sitting in your favorite lazy boy. Either way, you should choose what's best for you. For me, it's the VW. The VW has free scheduled maintenance for 3yrs/36000 miles...The chrysler does not.
     
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