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2009 Volkswagen Routan Review – A Cross-Cultural Minivan

Friday September 25th, 2009 at 1:99 PM
Posted by: Francois

2009 VW Routan

Interior
The leather-wrapped steering wheel is the best part of the interior. In addition, the brushed surfaces of the dashboard are quite nice. Finally, both front and first row seats, are excellent compared to the competition.

However, all the buttons and gauges are unmistakably U.S. made and they are not on par with normal VW vehicles. Knobs are not as tight and displays have that retro LED dot-matrix look to them. Also, there is a massive storage cavity in front of the first row seats. That may come in handy but it just strikes me as odd. The passenger roof has a center console that sports three or four big storage compartments. Again it is not ideal ergonomics since the roof storage boxes can get in the way of headroom. We later found out that these were intended for dual DVD screens. Did I hear dual? Anyway, since there’s no DVD in our test vehicle, these should have been taken out.

VW Routan InteriorDual power-sliding doors with power windowsStow in the floor second and third row seating

Styling
The styling is better than the Chrysler counterparts. It is clean and reserved. However at then end of the day, it really looks very similar but with a nicer front facia. The front has the VW jaw and it looks pretty good on this van.

Value
Our test car came in at $29k and we hear some of these vehicles can reach $39k. We were quite annoyed that our car was pretty basic and did not even come in with roof rails at this price point. And the bigger issue is VW dealers are not as likely to deal as aggressively as Chrysler dealers.

VW Routan 7-passenger minivan

Who Should Buy It?
Having another car company (aka the competition) build a car for you is always a risky proposition. It rarely works out and usually just makes sense as a stop-gap measure until the manufacturer can build its own proper car. We believe that VW must have something up their sleeve like the VW Microbus revival for this move to pay off in the long term.

VW hopes to sell this Routan to their rabid brand loyal fans. Also, its marketing efforts have to be so outstanding that the buyer will be swayed from the original car that this is based from. So in the end, although this is a fine van, the target buyer for this is fairly limited. It’s not a ground breaker in any category and it aims to keep the loyal VW buyer in its dealerships.

Build Interior Performance Handling Styling Value Overall
Rating 4.5 4.0 4.25 4.5 4.5 3.5 4.2/B+

VW Routan Photo Gallery

VW Routan Specifications

VW Routan Specifications

 
VW of AmericaOfficial website for Volkswagen of America – www.vw.com

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