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CAR OF THE MONTH December 2008

2009 Volkswagen Routan SE Review

Family Mover

A three-quarter front view of a white 2009 Volkswagen Routan SE in San Francisco

In short: A Euro-tuned convenient passenger van.

s the offspring of Volkswagen’s partnership with Chrysler, the Routan is a seven-passenger minivan capable of hauling the entire family for a day at the beach or for a trip to visit relatives during the holidays. While it looks somewhat similar to Chrysler’s Town & Country or Dodge’s Grand Caravan, this VW distinguishes itself with its European styling and family-friendly amenities. In the spirit of this blended vehicle, Volkswagen offers the RoutanBabymaker3000 on its website, a tool that allows visitors to combine the faces of two people to see what their resulting progeny would look like.

A rear view of the interior of a 2009 Volkswagen Routan SE

Whimsical web applications aside, our tester came standard with a capable 3.8-liter V6 engine (you can opt for a 4.0-liter V6 engine on the SEL trim), heatable and powered side mirrors, and a spacious 83 cubic feet of available cargo space. Overhead storage, complete with LED reading lights, offers additional options for stowing away gear. Second-row captain seating and power-fold third-row seating ensures that everyone and everything has a place to go. Enjoying music and movies in the Routan is easy—our tester came with steering wheel audio controls, a six-DVD changer with auxiliary input jack, and a touch-screen navigation system with a 30-gigabyte Joy Box multi-media entertaining system. Other built-in perks include dual remote-controlled power-sliding doors and an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat. For people with numerous kids, the Routan’s base trim, the S, starts at a relatively inexpensive $24,700.

A three-quarter rear view of a white 2009 Volkswagen Routan SE

Related Content:
2012 Volkswagen Routan SEL

Warranty/Service: Three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty; five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty; three-year/unlimited-mile corrosion perforation warranty.

Base Price: $29,600

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, front-wheel drive, 7-passenger, 4-door minivan

Engine: 3.8-liter, 12-valve V6
Horsepower: 197 hp @ 5,200 rpm
Torque: 230 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with manual shift mode

Curb weight: 4,507 lbs
Wheelbase: 121.2 in
Length/Width/Height: 202.5/76.9/68.9 in
Turning circle: 38 ft

Brakes: all-wheel power-assisted disc with ABS and brake assist
MacPherson strut in front; twist beam axle in rear
electronic stabilization program

0-60 mph: 10.2 seconds
Top Speed: 112 mph

EPA City: 16 mpg
EPA Highway: 23 mpg

Safety: unitized steel body; daytime running lights; tire pressure monitoring system; driver and front passenger advanced multistage front airbags; side curtain airbags for all outboard seating positions

Likes: spacious and flexible

Dislikes: despite the European-tuned suspension and styling, it's still a Chrysler product, motor and all

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Photography: AlphaMedia

PSV102908 (Updated 02/01/12 NW)