2011 Volkswagen Routan Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
The 2011 Volkswagen Routan is a capable performer, with a satisfying ride and decent power. Still, reviewers like the Honda Odyssey’s performance better.
- "For such a large conveyance, the 2011 Volkswagen Routan still acquits itself fairly well around corners while also swallowing most bumps and ruts without complaint. Its driving dynamics still remain a step or two behind the segment-leading Honda Odyssey, however." -- Edmunds
- "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 a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 283 horsepower. Reviewers say power from the engine is good, and it’s more efficient than the engines in the 2010 model.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel economy for 2011 Routan at 17/25 mpg, cuty/highway.
- "The new-for-2011 V6 engine is a big improvement, as it's more powerful and fuel-efficient than what VW offered last year. Still, this engine lacks the refinement (specifically in regard to sound) found in the Odyssey and Sienna -- not to mention Volkswagen's actual engine lineup. On the upside, the six-speed automatic does an admirable job of keeping power on tap." -- Edmunds
- "The 6-speed automatic provides quick shifts, but low-speed driving can generate a bit of harshness during gear changes." -- Consumer Guide
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 say the ride provides a nice balance of road feel and comfort.
- "Despite the Routan's generous overall size, the van is quite tractable. The impressively tight turning radius is a plus in close-quarters maneuverability. Some testers feel the Routan does a better job than the Chrysler Town & Country at controlling body lean in corners." -- Consumer Guide
- "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