2011 Volkswagen Routan: Car Seat Check

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This Car Seat Check was originally published in March 2011 on MotherProof.com.

Volkswagen entered the minivan market in 2008 with the Routan. If it looks familiar, that's because it's related to the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan. The Routan comes with two captain's chairs in the second row and a three-seat bench in the third.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.

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The front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant seat and convertible seats are installed behind the passenger seat. We also install the infant seat in the second row's middle seat with the booster and convertible in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit. In the third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.

Here's how the 2011 Routan scored in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:

Latch system: The Routan has two sets of lower Latch anchors in the second row. These Latch anchors are somewhat difficult to use with car seats that have rigid Latch connectors as our Roundabout does because the seat cushions get in the way. We reclined the captain's chair seatback to gain better access to the anchors. There's one more set of lower Latch anchors in the larger portion of the 60/40-split third row. These anchors are exposed and easy to use. The Routan has three tether anchors, with two in the second row.

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Booster seat: The high-back booster seat fit well in the captain's chair. While the head restraints in the second row are removable, there was no need to take them out of the chairs. The seat belt buckles are on stable bases that stand up high enough for a child to grasp it. In the third row, the booster seat also fit well. The large head restraints in the third row don't get in the way of the booster. The seat belt buckles are floppy, making them difficult for a child to use independently.

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Convertible car seat: The forward-facing convertible fit well in the captain's chair after we leaned the seatback to expose the Latch anchors. The rear-facing convertible also fit well, but connecting the rigid Latch connectors to the anchors was a struggle. There was no struggle when installing the forward-facing convertible in the third row. The exposed Latch anchors make it easy to get the car seat installed quickly. The Latch anchors sit off-center in the third row, allowing for only one other car seat or person to fit back there when in use.

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Infant-safety seat: This seat fit well in the second row. The Graco SnugRide has traditional Latch connectors (not rigid), and they worked much better with the buried Latch anchors.

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How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

How many car seats fit in third row? Two

Editor's note: For three car seats — infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats — to fit in a car, our criterion is that a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.

Comments 

Andrea

We want to put our son in the 3rd row seat on the smaller portion of the seat (and leave the larger portion folded down for cargo storage). However, there does not appear to be an anchor on this side. Suggestions/recommendations?
Thanks!

Andrea

I meant tether anchor (on the back of the seat)

E. Bosworth

I can't get 2nd row of seating to recline to unlatch car seat, or get head rests off. 2010 routan.

Carrie

This is incorrect data, The snug ride has to have a 1.5 inch space behind the passenger seat which it does not, nor can you get the correct angle on a rf or ff seat due to the seat incline and knee being higher. You can not put two seats in the third row either as there is only one anchor point which is in the center seat. A anchor is legally required for all forward facing seats. The Britax in the picture is not at a correct angle for a rear facing but is in a forward facing position which is not legal. All rear facing car seats can only be in a rear facing position. The second row of seating has fixed seats and can not be slide back to account for rear facing convertables in their correct rear facing positions. Also The Britax is required to have a rear facing tether in this vehicle which there is not one. If you hit a bump or have to slam on your breaks your child will fly to the back of the seat facing it, including the car seat as the angle on the seat where the knee is higher will not allow for proper anchor. I have this vehicle and have been to 3 car seat check places including at a major hospital and tried 9 car seats in this van,..... non worked! ALso the article said that a 6ft person and %'6" passenger. My husband is %'11" and wearing 30" pants and I am 5'3" wearing a 28 inseam average weights... We could not sit the safe limit from the stearing wheel and air bags and allow for room with rear facing car seats. I have been on the phone with VW as well as many car seat techs measuring us and MANY car seats, non ft safely in this vehicle for the children or people riding in the front. Would the writer of this article please contact me on this, and please take this down as it is not following safe limits, car seat manufacture reccomendations or the vehicles reccomendations

Allison

I am close to buying a used Routan to help accommodate watching my sister's children a few days a week. Here are the car seats I would need to fit and would greatly appreciate anyone who can tell me if this will work. it is 4 kids total.
- one backless booster (7 yr old)
- one Graco backed booster (4 yr old)
- one rear facing convertible (1 yr old)
- one forward facing convertible (3 yr old)
For the convertible seats we have the following available: two Evenflo Triumph and one Britax Marathon.
i appreciate any input and tips. Thank you!

Whitney

We have the 2009 and triumph and highbacked booster. For the triumph rear facing you will need to use a rolled up towel or swim noodle to get the recline angle correct. I recommend the high back boosters in the very back if you must raise the high back very high. it will interfere with head rest of second row seats.

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