2008 Chicago Auto Show: 2009 Volkswagen Routan

Vwroutan

  • Competes with: Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Town & Country
  • Looks like: Volkswagen missed the “minivans are out” memo
  • Drivetrain: 197-hp, 3.8-liter V-6 with six-speed automatic, or 251-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 with six-speed automatic
  • Hits dealerships: Summer 2008

Volkswagen famously got into a game it didn’t know how to play a few years ago when it debuted the Phaeton luxury sedan with a big price tag, putting it into a segment it didn’t have a place in. Minivans are actually a VW trademark, with the iconic Microbus and even the Eurovan in the 21st century. The Routan hopes to reclaim the minivan mantle for the company, but it looks to be not much more than a Chrysler underneath the skin.

Now, that’s not to say the new Dodge and Chrysler minivans aren’t good. They have a lot of value, but it looks like VW skimped on revamping the Routan interior with its trademark high-quality materials. The company says the Routan will start under $25,000, though, which might sway someone looking at a similarly equipped Town & Country or Dodge Caravan, which start at $27,895 and $27,000, respectively, when equipped with the same 3.8-liter engine.

Stability control and power sliding doors will also come standard.

How much of a Chrysler is the minivan? Both engines are from Chrysler, as is the optional touch-screen navigation unit with hard drive, which Chrysler calls MyGig. Not borrowed is the popular Stow N’ Go seating feature or the new Swivel N’ Go setup; that could be a deal-breaker for buyers. The Routan will be built in the same assembly plant as the Dodge and Chrysler products, too. More photos are below. Let us know if you think the price is right for this VW version of the minivan.

Comments 

1dad

minivans are desired because they are versatile in that you can fold down the seats and use it like a covered truck. They are more comfortable than anything else for long trips as you can turn around the second seat and talk to others with something like a removable table for on the go snacks. Storage, utility, comfort, convenience. This takes away the utility of the stow and go, the comfort and versatility of the reversable seats and table, the convenience of reliability because it's a VW coupled with a Chrysler, literally the least reliable european builder with the least reliable US builder. And it adds a modest but not really low price. Styling it's identical to chrysler except with a smooth hood and different lights and wood paneling in the dashboard, all of which are sooooo important. So, give me one reason to buy this rather than something that can do what I want or be reliable and do most of what I want.

L

I'm a minivan freak so I've been dying to see this thing.

They flattened the hood, the headlights are just like the Town&Country but stretch out a little big longer, the tail lights wrap around onto the liftgate and the entire rear end is more round looking - I think it favors the Honda van more in the back.

To me it looks like the most dramatic changes were to the dash. The steering wheel is from Chrysler and it looks like they used the Town&Country guages but the rest of the dash is redone and it looks pretty good. All the regular buttons and such are in the same place though, including the shifter.

I wouldn't buy it, I'd just buy a Chrysler. I guess they are aiming for die hard VW fans or folks that only want european brands???

Any pictures of the middle seats anywhere?

omar

I don't think VW did enough to differentiate this minivan from its Dodge and Chrysler counterparts. Since VW is a german automaker, the interior doesn't even come close to VW standards. The outside looks OK i guess but the back isn't the best I've seen on the minivan. My personal opinion is to go with the Odyssey, its worth the extra money.

andy

It looks like VW did a nice job defrentiating the front and rear exterior design. However i think the compny could have directed their focus on extending the Touareg, like a Touareg XL.

L,
We;ll have more pics in a few.

Omar,
VW in Germany is like Suzuki in Japan.
What VW standards?
Those VWs with standards also cost north of $40K. Tell Suzuki that you will pay them $40 for their car and you know how much standards they will put into it!
This car is a blunder. Remember, that Dodge has lifetime warranty now?
Let me think... Do I want a Dodge with (whatever VW warranty) or with lifetime?
So, there will be few, I am sure, who will buy it.

I think, Sienna is a Queen of minivans today. 2008 model looks better too

Will this have the same warranty as the Chryslers or will it have a VW warranty?


Broq

The problem with mini vans is that they generally look like bread boxes (read not very exciting). What we Baby Boomers secretly want is a stylish BMW M5. What we still really need is the practical Bread Box on wheels (even after the last kid leaves the house, along come the Grandkids!). The cleaner the design, the better for mini van sales. Mini vans are the most practical, most sensible, most comfortable way to transport a family for short or long distances. It is really probably the only rational choice for transportation. The initial photos show a cleaner more attractive design than the Chrysler. This should not surprise as the VW Audi group are the king of beautiful interior design. I would purchase this van over most others and would also hope that VW would further tweak the interior after the introduction year. As a Canadian, I am relieved to see that this van will be added to the Windsor Ontario Assembly line. This will strengthen a precarious industry in Canada. It will also give me a good reason to purchase a North American assembled auto which will have benefits to Chrysler and still allow me to get some European flair. As for the cramped swivel seating, I would gladly keep the money. This would no doubt be a practical German decision to do without it. I for one am pleased with this move by VW and Chrysler. The more European styling influences the "Big Three" can be exposed to, the brighter our Domestic car industry will be. I'm ready to trade in my old Hiroshima made Mazda MPV.

chuck

This van will be dud in the market, but will still benefit VW because of the low cost associated with producing, and marketing the re-badged Chrysler van. VW created lots of hype with their micro bus concept, we were promised. This is no ware near that idea. I have never owned a VW only Saabs, but i have always admired VW for their Quirky, if less that reliable designs. The Routan doesn't have those special design ideas, and Germanic detailing, that makes a VW worth all the low warranty, and poor long-term durability. Why also would VW introduce a value imaged and priced vehicle. Even though Vw failed with the Pheaton, plenty of people have bought the Tourage, and the Passat is a good seller. Those models are a little bit more expensive then the similar Honda/Toyota offerings. VW worked hard for their more upscale image as of late and has had mixed success, but is really going in a completely different direction.

REAL VWs ?

No thanks,
VW has really hit the bottom of the barrel this time.
The last EUROVAN imported to the US was a great vehicle and the current one available all over the planet except the US is even better.
How hard is it to just import the best and forget trying to fool the general public?
Looks like the people in charge at VW just don't learn.
Maybe when Porsche takes over, someone will step up and take this company back to basics and apply a little common sense.
If it says VW on it should at least be a real one.

Tony

It is so funny to read things about VW here.
Like, "European flair", "VW Standards"...
Come one! Lets see how VW can fix their "Check Engine" light! The on-going problem in last 10 years!
Really, average VW is a problem-ladden car, which is also expensive to fix when there is a problem.
My friend has 10yo Jetta 1.8 and I have 10yo Protege 1.8. Both manual, both around 150K miles. He can't believe that Protege has no noises, rattles, all components are right where they were new, seats are not worn. But most he can't believe is that only repairs were new "A/C Clutch" and a piece of exhaust pipe.
So, Peter! You will miss your Hiroshima-build car. Surelly, your new VW van wouldn't be that lasting.

greg

I just replaced my passat with an Odyssey due to accident. I wanted to wait til this vehicle came out but just couldn't. (I still drive a jetta). I love my Odyssey, it has the best exterior looks on the market. The routan doesn't seem to compare. Where the proof lies is the interior amenities. For instance, my brand new Odyssey only has one touch up and down window on the driver's side. My 6 year jetta on both sides. One-touch sunroof in my vw's not my odyssey. Multiple range settings in my vw's, not my odyssey. I guess what I am saying if the routan brings its high-cost features in a low cost vehical, it will be a winner but if it is hampered by chrysler's lack of styling and features on the interior for the price it will fail. I agree with omar. Get the odyssey.

John

What a pile of rubbish. VW has totally lost touch with what made them great in the first place. Simple,quirky designs with a multitude of functions. I have a vintage '71 Bus. It has never let me down, can sleep 4 people comfortably and has a fridge and sink. Heck, I could live in it if I ever found myself destitute. I am very dissapointed in this twon and country..I mean caravan..I mean rout-ine vehicle.

Ric

Why oh why didn't they build a minivan that resembled the concept microbus from a couple of years ago? I would get that in a heartbeat....this? Especially knowing it has Chrysler parts (my wife had a PT Cruiser and it was a piece of junk)....this just makes me want to sigh.

Dave

Nice looking van. I'd buy it. Doesn't look much like the new Chrysler van since it's the same vehicle. New Chrysler vans are nice too. All auto companies are doing this so V.W. is not the only one. This looks alot better than the Honda. The V.W. minivan will sell decent at this price.

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App
Ask.cars.com