Hi! I’m Joe Weisenfelder, Senior Editor at Cars.com. I have a 2009 Volkswagen Routan. It’s a minivan. Now, you might have seen some of those ads with Brooke Shields claiming that women are getting pregnant just to get this van. It’s cheeky and it’s funny, then they bring in German engineering.
Now, the Routan is built by Chrysler, basically the Chrysler town and country. I was like to judge a model on its own merit. I don’t care if it was based on something else or not. But when you do this and then you mentioned German engineering, you’re just asking for it.
Now, the real German engineering, the best I can tell is that the suspension is a little different than the Chrysler vans. I’ve had the thing for several days and it is quite comfortable. I do like the right quality, I’ll give them that. There are some others things you might expect in a Volkswagen though. Volkswagen pretty much across the board has telescoping steering wheels. This one doesn’t telescope. You can get adjustable pedals which serve a similar purpose but it’s an option. I feel like I could use a little bit more leg room here and I’ve had passengers say the same thing. For what it’s worth, the interior dimensions, the seating is all exactly the same as Chrysler and the Dodge Grand Caravan.
Now, Volkswagen is known for the quality of its interiors and so is Chrysler in the other direction. So the question is how do they come out? Honestly, there are aspects here that are very Volkswagen. I think the low gloss soft touch stuff here on the dash is nice and not as wild about some of this material here. There is an optional center console that you can get. This is the standard one. That’s pretty low rent.
One unfortunate thing is that when you go to fold the seats down, it kind of has to stay here. It’s not the type that goes into the floor, that’s called stow and go and that remains a Chrysler and Dodge exclusive. You can tilt it up like that which helps a little. Now, I use this thing over the weekend to move some stuff and this was kind of a pain I must say. You can remove them but the problem with that as it has always been is that if you go somewhere and you see something you really want, you got the seats with you. You can’t leave them wherever you are. Now in the plus side, because this vehicle was made to accept stow and go where it’s offered, it has these big bins in here. And I can say it’s not the best shape necessarily. But if you have something soft like small bags or a duffle or a rack sack perhaps, you could fit in an awful lot in there.
The third row seat does fold into the floor and down it goes perfectly flat. You can get the optional power folding third row that is offered in the Chrysler and Dodge van.
If you are a Volkswagen owner and you probably are used to certain level of quality, a certain feel of solidity, it’s not really here. This thing is somewhere between a Chrysler and a Volkswagen in that regard but it’s not Volksler or a Dodge wagon or something like that. It says Volkswagen on it so I think people might like it. They might like the way it looks, they might like the way it drives or what have you. But if you are looking for a Volkswagen, you might be a little disappointed.