2009 Volkswagen Routan Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
Most reviewers feel the Volkswagen Routan is a capable performer, with a satisfying ride and decent power.
- "We still give the Honda Odyssey the nod when it comes to a minivan that's actually satisfying to drive, but that only applies to the most expensive Touring trim. For the rest of us, the less expensive VW Routan will do nicely." -- MyRide
Acceleration and Power
The Routan has two available engines, neither of which are a force to be reckoned with. However, reviewers feel both powertrains are adequate, with the 4.0-liter on the SEL being the preferred choice. The S and the SE trims get the base 3.8-liter V6.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel economy for the 3.8-liter V6 at 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Surprisingly, the more powerful 4.0-liter is more fuel efficient, getting 17 city/ 25 highway.
- "With a curb weight around 4,500 pounds, the Routan is a good deal more energetic with the 4.0-liter 253-horsepower engine in the SEL than with the smaller 197-horsepower 3.8 V-6 in the S and SE." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Bigger is better. The larger-engined SEL is not slow; zero to sixty in 8.9 seconds is an acceptable sprint time for a 4621 lbs. family hauler. More importantly, there's plenty of torque on tap, allowing smooth, predictable acceleration at all speeds. AND the bigger motor gets slightly better gas mileage." -- The Truth About Cars
- "Nobody is going to mistake the agricultural growl of the Chrysler V-6 for the smooth whir of Volkswagen's own VR6 engine. However, we never felt the van needed more power than it had. Sure, we'd like more power, but we can't say we were disappointed by the Routan's acceleration." -- MyRide
Handling and Braking
One of the major differences between the Routan and its American siblings is its retuned suspension. While critics disagree on how much this actually improves the vehicle's performance, many feel the ride provides a nice balance of road feel and comfort.
- "One of VW's primary goals with the Routan program was to impart a distinctly European feel to its ride and handling. Stiffer springs, tauter shock-absorber settings and revised valving in the power steering system do exactly that, creating a package that's firmer than the average minivan while remaining comfortable as a long-range cruiser." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "On the road, the suspension retuning is immediately apparent. Firmer springs and shocks and larger stabilizer bars, plus revisions to the steering make the Routan a pleasant and controllable vehicle on the road -- and not just on the highway." -- CNET
- "Maybe there's a difference between this four-wheeled crate and Dodge's version at 100-plus miles per hour. The set up did seem a tad more taut than the Caravan's ... if I concentrated. What I came to believe, after a couple of mixed miles, is that whatever VW spent got diluted. Tweaking a suspension, while keeping everything else, yields nothing very much." -- The Truth About Cars
- "On the road, the Routan feels similar to its American cousin, although body control, high-speed stability, and steering feel have all been mildly improved." -- Automobile Magazine
- "The other VW Routan improvement is to the steering. Volkswagen uses its own steering settings, and while they're still numb, at least there's a bit more feel than the vague tiller provided in the Dodge and Chrysler versions of this same van." -- MyRide