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FEATURES | 8 out of 10
In the Routan, it's not all there
keeps the kids attention
The Chrysler minivans on which the Routan is based are themselves very competent vehicles in many respects, and the Routan gets most of those advantages, but Chrysler's Swivel N' Go seating isn't one of them. The S trim picks up standard second-row folding bench seats, while the SE and SEL trims add fold-flat/removable captain-style chairs. All models get the folding/disappearing/reclining third-row seat that Chrysler calls Stow N' Go. The combination of these various seating arrangements allows all models to fit 144 cubic feet of cargo with all rear seats stowed. A few more options, including a rear conversation mirror, power windows in the sliding side doors, plus in-cabin entertainment, Bluetooth, a power liftgate, and touch-screen navigation, help bring the Routan up to the specification you'd expect from a Volkswagen.
The available rear-seat entertainment options will "keep the kids' attention," says Automotive.com, and Cnet calls the movable center storage console a "trick feature," but there's little here to differentiate the Routan from the Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Grand Caravan. Cars.com sums up the lack of VW feel and above-average features by saying that the Routan just "doesn't demand the high premium that some VW models do."
Starting at a price about $1,000 higher than the Chrysler versions, model-for-model, the base S model can quickly be optioned up to the price level of the Touareg luxury SUV. Upgrading to SE trim gets larger wheels and power sliding doors, a garage door transceiver, and heated power mirrors, but the bottom line will show it. Going to the SEL trim costs even more, but adds a more powerful engine, better fuel economy, a more refined cabin, and rear-seat entertainment.
Tow packages and a load leveling suspension are available across the range, notes Edmunds, while you'll have to upgrade to the SE or SEL to get the option of satellite navigation with JoyBox 30GB hard drive-based storage system.
The 2010 Volkswagen Routan can be configured with a bevy of entertainment and seating options, but the price of these additions can pile up quickly.