The Volkswagen Routan is a seven seater minivan that first made its debut in 2008 at the Chicago Auto Show. The Routan is unique to the Volkswagen doctrine because it shares the same platform as Dodge's Grand Caravan and Chrysler's Town and Country Minivan. Volkswagen launched the Routan to re-enter the minivan market in the US which they left in 2003 with the discontinuation of their Eurovan.
The marriage of Volkswagen with Dodge and Chrysler was to add more of a North American flavor to their minivan image, as the Eurovan, which failed to really take a share of the US market, was decidedly European in appearance, while the Routan has the distinct style of an American van with the only features setting it apart is the Volkswagen grille, and tailgate which came straight from VW's design team. If there were any doubt that this was a Volkswagen and not a Dodge or Chrysler it would be immediately be dispelled by the oversized VW logo on the rear tail gate.
The 2012 Volkswagen Routan is a front wheel drive that takes its power from a 3.6-liter V6 engine producing 283 horsepower and 260 pound per feet of torque paired with a six speed automatic transmission.
The Routan leaves a very small footprint at just short of 77 inches wide by 202.5 inches long, although it sits pretty high up on the road at 69 inches. Designed to transport people in comfort, steering and road holding is all you would expect of a vehicle of the Volkswagen Routan's size and power, while its front Macpherson strut front suspension and Torsion beam rear suspension makes for a comfortable and bump free ride.
What Volkswagen envisioned with the Routan seems to have worked out just fine according to most trade reviews with uncompromising comfort and ease of access being provided for all seven passengers irrespective of their height, weight or girth with a standard head room of close to forty inches running through the vehicle. The second row seats come as recliners with folding seatbacks, while the third row can also be folded and split to provide extra storage if need be.
All Routans come with sliding doors on both sides, with power doors being standard on the SE trim an upwards, while the SEL premium version comes with the added luxury of a power rear lift gate. Cargo carrying does not represent a problem for the Routan, with 32.7 cubic feet of storage available with every seat in place, 83 cubic feet of space behind the second-row seats, rising to 144 cubic feet with everything folded. The Volkswagen Routan minivan's maximum allowable payload has been set at 1200 pounds while it can tow an additional 3600 pounds.