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2010 Volkswagen Routan

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2010 Volkswagen Routan Review

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Although cost issues kept the slick Microbus concept it showed at the 2001 Geneva Auto Show from ever seeing production, VW finally made its move to join the minivan market last year with the introduction of the Routan. Available in S, SE and SEL trim levels, this seven-passenger, front-drive family hauler was derived from the latest version of Chrysler's best-selling people mover, which itself was completely redesigned for 2008. While the Routan shares most of its key mechanical and electrical architecture with the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan, it boasts unique styling treatments, inside and out. Despite continuing volume pressure on this market segment, Volkswagen hopes the Routan's distinctive VW appearance cues, appealing features, Euro-tuned suspension and attractive pricing will help it win over American families.

You'll Like This Car If...

Buyers who love the formidable benefits a minivan offers when it comes to true utility and ease of operation but want something with a more sophisticated look and driving character will find plenty to admire in the new 2010 Volkswagen Routan.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If your minivan taste runs to a softer-riding package and you want kid-oriented Swivel 'n Go seating or hideaway Stow 'n Go second-row seats, stick to the 2010 Volkswagen Routan's Chrysler cousins. If having a state-of-the art, big-screen navigation system is important, consider a Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest or Toyota Sienna.

What's New for 2010

The Routan line is simplified into four well-appointed trims that include S, SE, SEL and SEL Premium. Stand alone options are eliminated, packaged instead into each trim level. The SE and SEL can be ordered with navigation but require the rear seat entertainment system as well. All trims receive more standard equipment, including three-zone manual climate control on the S trim; Bluetooth, heated seats and power adjustable pedals on the SE; and a power sunroof, remote start, power third-row seat and a tow prep package on the SEL.

Driving the Routan

Driving Impressions 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 valve proportioning...

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. Body roll is nicely curtailed in corners and the steering feels positive without being twitchy. It's not quite enthusiast-grade, but it is a welcome compromise that's ably assisted by the standard Electronic Stabilization Program with traction control and vented-front and solid-rear anti-lock disc brakes. 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. The dash-mounted shift lever takes a bit of getting used to, but its positioning does allow easy Sport-mode gear changes.

Impressively Contoured Seats
While somewhat firmer than their Chrysler counterparts, Volkswagen upgraded both the first- and second-row individual seats in the Routan, adding more aggressive and supportive bolstering to complement the vehicle's sportier suspension tuning.

Carefree Maintenance Program
The Routan comes with VW's all-encompassing Carefree Maintenance program that complements the normal three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty with zero-cost coverage for all basic routine servicing performed during that same time period.

2010 Volkswagen Routan Details
2010 Volkswagen Routan photo Interior

VW established a signature look for the Routan's spacious cabin, retaining the Chrysler gauges, primary electrical components, supplemental switchgear, heating and ventilation elements and the various cupholders, bins and under-floor storage areas, but recasting everything else – from the dash to the door panels to the carpet – in a more upscale manner. That enhanced character plays best in the leather-lined SEL, but even the cloth-covered S and V-Tex faux leather SE trims boast a bounty of soft-touch surfaces and neat center consoles, plus more supportive first-row seats and better-bolstered, adult-scaled foldable and removable second-row Captain's Chairs (or a two-place bench in the S). Row three is best for kids, but it does flip over for "tailgating" duties and can be folded flat into the floor.

Exterior
2010 Volkswagen Routan photo

Volkswagen's decision to endow the Routan with a unique exterior pays handsome dividends. In order to create its own sense of corporate visual character, VW kept only the side door panels, glass and windshield from the Chrysler minivan donor platform. Up front, the Routan's prominent grille, air intakes and aero headlamps impart an arguably more sophisticated flavor with recognizable VW flair. The rear-end treatment, while less distinctive, brings smoother, rounder overall contouring and features a Routan-specific hatch design. At the S trim level, the Routan has 225/65R16 all-season tires on steel wheels, while the SE and SEL have standard 17-inch alloy rims with 225/65 tires.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Beyond V6 engines, a six-speed automatic transmission and seats for seven, all Routans feature an impressive array of standard equipment, including power windows, locks and mirrors, keyless remote entry, three-zone air conditioning and cruise control. Front seats on the S trim level are manually operated, the SE has a power driver's seat and both front seats are power-operated with the SEL Premium. The upper trim levels also have dual-power sliding doors, second-row Captain's Chairs, steering-wheel audio and cruise control buttons and a six-disc CD/DVD player with an enhanced AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system. The air conditioning is manually control on the S and SE, and automatic on the leather-trimmed SEL, which also gets a power sunroof, remote start and power folding third-row seats. All models include stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes and front and side-curtain airbags, and all scheduled maintenance is free during the vehicle's basic warranty period.

Optional Equipment

The new model lineup leaves the options list limited to a few dealer installed items. If you order the SE you can have the rear seat entertainment system with or without navigation, but not the other way around; on SEL trims the rear seat entertainment system must be bundled with navigation. The navigation package includes a 30 GB JoyBox music hard drive, USB port and backup remote camera.

Under the Hood

All 2010 Volkswagen Routans are fitted with one of two different Chrysler V6 engines. Both run on regular unleaded gasoline and are backed by a six-speed automatic transmission with manual Sportshift mode. The 3.8-liter overhead-valve V6 in the Routan S and SE makes 197 horsepower and 230 pound-feet of torque while the more sophisticated single-overhead-cam 4.0-liter in the SEL cranks out a robust 251 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. Surprisingly, the bigger six also earns better EPA fuel economy ratings, with 17 mpg city and 25 mph highway marks compared to the 3.8-liter's 16-mpg city/23-mpg highway numbers. Not so surprisingly, that extra muscle also helps trim the SEL's factory-estimated zero-to-60-mph acceleration time from 10.2 to 8.9 seconds.

3.8-liter V6
197 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
230 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23

4.0-liter V6
251 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
259 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25

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2010 Volkswagen Routan Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
6.1
Out of 10

Based on 122 Ratings for the 2009 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    6.5/10
    Quality
    6.3/10
  • Reliability
    6.3/10
    Performance
    6.8/10
  • Comfort
    7.3/10
    Styling
    7.4/10

The kids love it, and so does my mechanic

By on Tuesday, May 05, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Unreliable

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Lots of creature comforts, fun to drive"

Cons: "Mechanically poor, cheaply built, money pit"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Just unloaded this van after owning it for 87k miles. The first 60k miles were extremely uneventful other than the usual tires and brakes. After that, however, things really started to go downhill fast. First, the radiator blew. Then, a bad oil leak developed. Then the fan motor blower went out. Then the power steering system developed a bad leak. Then another coolant leak developed. Also, the van would sporadically just not start and smell of burning electronics. I maintained this vehicle religiously - addressing every problem as it arose, replacing the brakes every 12 months (not cheap - and should you really have to replace breaks every year? Very poorly designed), oil changes at 6k miles on the dot. Unfortunately, the van became too unreliable and it's not worth it to me to keep a car that I can't count on. We decided to trade it in, and on the way to the dealer a horrible thumping sound developed under the car. I don't even want to know what that was. All of this is not to say that the van doesn't have it's strengths. There are tons of creature comforts that make this van the ideal family vehicle, not the least of which are the dual DVD screens and accessory jacks. My kids were devastated to see the van go. Overall, I could not recommend this van. If longevity in a minivan is what you want, just bite the bullet and buy a Honda Odyssey. You will kick yourself if you don't, like I am."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Love this ride!

By on Monday, May 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Room for everyone, nice ride, best looking minivan"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have driven a 2012 Routan since early 2013 and it is by far my favorite vehicle yet. I had an issue with the alternator around 40,000 miles but as usual the VW company takes great care of their drivers and it was towed, replaced, and returned swiftly and conveniently. Kids love the ride, so do the parents (and the friends for a good night out on the town - can haul a lot of drunkards with just one sober driver!). If you're on the fence, just go for it! Also extremely impressed at how this vehicle has held its value."

original owner, maintained, garaged

By on Saturday, May 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great value for the price. Good family mini van."

Cons: "no negatives"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Original owner, purchased new in 2012. Car is in great condition, never been in an accident and no dents. Has been garaged 80% of the time. Gets 25-29 miles/gal fwy. Auto, air, built in back seat DVD player, auto side & rear door openers, navigation, back up camera."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

WORST CAR EVER!!!

By on Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "good design"

Cons: "constant problems!!! too many to list: recalls!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Don't let the great features fool you this car is a shaking, cheaply-made, is a money pit on wheels. Something is always breaking! I have to keep a running list for when I go in for oil changes (every 4ish months) of all the things that are not working properly, often they can't even fix them! I've never experienced such a poorly manufactured car. whatever you do ... don't buy this car!!!"

13 people out of 24 found this review helpful

love this van

By on Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We ve had this van for 3 years & its been great for our fam of 5. Minor probs with cruise (fixed 1x under warranty) & now still wrks intermittently. Comfortable ride & very convenient."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Not Bad

By on Tuesday, January 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,600

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Nice styling, lots of pep"

Cons: "Resale value"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"I thought that the Routan was discontinued after the 2012 model. I see that some dealers are still selling '13s and '14s but not here in my town. I bought the car new in October 2011 at a huge discount and it has been a pretty good car. I don't think I'd be thrilled now if I paid anywhere near the MSRP."

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?