According to the editors at Autoblog.com, the 2012 Volkswagen Routan is a sure-fire match “for buyers looking for a practical family hauler that isn't one of the usual suspects.” The key components separating the Routan from the rest of the pack are its meticulous German design and engineering, and the laser-like attention to detail Volkswagen applies to every model it sells. Ensuring a seven-passenger minivan is a true Volkswagen requires dedication to constant refinement, as demonstrated by the adoption this year of a brand-new engine that delivers more power and greater fuel efficiency than the two powerplants it replaces.
Cranking out a class-leading 283 hp, the new 3.6-liter V6 boasts such advanced technology as Variable Valve Timing, Dual Overhead Camshafts and four valves per cylinder. With 90 percent of its 260 lb/ft of torque available at a low 1,600 rpm, the new six-cylinder guarantees strong punch off the line around town and confident merging and passing when your travels take you to the interstate. Power is routed to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission, and at an EPA-estimated 25 highway mpg, mileage is quite impressive for a rock-steady vehicle capable of towing up to 3,600 pounds (when equipped with towing package).
While most competing minivans feature a soft ride and loose, sluggish handling, the engineers at Volkswagen worked to instill a keen edge to the handling of the Routan. Tuned springs and dampers and tighter bushings deliver quicker reflexes to help keep you and your family out of harm’s way. To keep those reflexes sharp even when you’re hauling the heaviest of loads, the Routan offers an available Nivomat self-leveling air suspension system.
Whether it’s a cross-town run to a big-box store or a cross-country tour of wide-open spaces, the Routan assures your family’s safety with advanced standard driver-assistance technology. Electronic Stability Control tops a list that also features four-wheel anti-lock brakes, Hydraulic Brake Assist and Engine Braking Control. Inside, active and passive restraints – including a driver’s knee airbag and Side-Curtain Protection airbags – wrap your family in a protective cocoon. Given such bona fides, it’s no surprise that the Routan was named a “Top Safety Pick” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) – one of nine Volkswagen vehicles to earn the honor.
Safety is paramount in any family vehicle, but flexibility runs a close second in a full-size, seven-passenger minivan. The Routan is up to the task with standard removable second-row captain’s chairs and a third-row bench you can flip, fold and conceal beneath the floor to create a flat space for storage. If you need to transport half the soccer team to the game, the kids are sure to appreciate the Routan’s 13 cupholders and two under-floor storage bins designed to accommodate six-packs of soft drinks. Once you’re there, enjoy the match in comfort by flipping the third row over and back to create the ideal tailgate seat.
Hauling bulky loads is just as easy thanks to the available power-sliding side doors and high-lift tailgate (with optional remote power operation) that stretches the width of the vehicle. Removing the second- and third-row seats creates a mammoth 144 cubic feet of maximum cargo space.
Value is another virtue buyers expect from Volkswagen, and the Routan does not disappoint. The entry-level Routan S (MSRP $27,020) gives you a long slate of standard features, including three-zone air conditioning, cruise control, a 12-volt outlet, dual glove boxes and a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel and shift knob.
The Routan SE (MSRP $32,010) adds Bluetooth connectivity, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar, second- and third-row sun shades, V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces, ten-spoke 17-inch Mervin alloy wheels and a six-speaker audio system with a six-disc CD changer and auxiliary-input jack.
The luxurious Routan SEL (MSRP $37,890) gains such exclusives as a power tilt/slide sunroof, automatic headlights, keyless access with push-button start, Vienna leather seating surfaces, a rearview camera system, a power folding third-row seat, 10-spoke 17-inch Rota alloy wheels and a 506-watt premium sound system sporting nine speakers.
For the pinnacle of family security, the top-of-the-line Routan SEL Premium features Blind Sport Monitoring and rear Cross Path Detection, which warns you about an oncoming vehicle when you’re backing up. Additional highlights include automatic High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps, power-adjustable pedals, Nut-Burl trim, an eight-way power front passenger seat, chrome exterior trim and 10-spoke 17-inch Soho alloy rims.
Available on SE and SEL trim levels, the touch-screen navigation system features SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Travel Link, complete with one-year complimentary subscription. To minimize family grumbles on long trips, opt for the available Rear-Seat Entertainment System with two drop-down nine-inch LCD screens capable of playing separate programming – say a video game on one display and a new-release DVD on the other. To help keep the peace between the ones you love, the screens come with separate headphones.
Volkswagen likes to say they engineered the Routan for the family that has everything – and needs to take it with them. Experience all the family-friendly capabilities of the new 2012 Volkswagen Routan by contacting us to schedule a test drive.