You're watching a WheelsTV Top 200 Video Test Drive on the 2012 Volkswagen Routan.
INTRO: Carrying over its well-crafted design, while augmenting its arsenal of high tech features, the 2012 Volkswagen Routan testifies to the staying power of minivans despite the growing onslaught of crossover vehicles seeking to replace them. A worthy family hauler with seating for up to 7-passengers, the Routan is equally adept as a cargo mover, handling large objects no crossover could manage.
The Routan deviates from VW's current impetus toward the sporty and small by taking the brand's aggressive styling trends to a larger stage as demonstrated by the minivan's headlamps and bulbous grill. Meanwhile, the firmer Euro-tuned suspension delivers better handling than similar competitors in its class. Available trims include the base S, SE, SEL and top-rated SEL Premium.
PERFORMANCE: The Sole powerplant for the Routan is a 3.6-liter V6 sending 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode.
FUEL ECONOMY: Here are the EPA estimates for fuel economy:
FEATURES: The Routan's three rows of seating include a removable second row and a fold-flat third row that seamlessly collapses into the floor. With all rear seats out of the way, the Routan provides over 144 cubic feet of cargo space, clearly more than the crossover competition.
Our test model came equipped with the available power sliding side doors that can be opened and closed with the push of a button from the front seat. The available one-touch power liftgate also makes loading and unloading the Routan a breeze.
A recommended dealer installed option is the Wi-Fi router that allows passengers to wirelessly connect laptops, smartphones, tablets or game devices to the Internet. Also recommended for families with children is the rear seat entertainment system found on uprated trims. With 9-inch video screens for both second and third rows, DVD player and wireless headphones, the miles will pass with ease.
Standard features found on the SEL Premium trim include a 9-speaker 506-watt audio system with auxiliary jack, a 115-volt AC power outlet, backup camera and touch screen navigation.
SAFETY: The Routan comes equipped with a host of standard safety equipment including 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, electronic stability program, LATCH child restraint system, child safety rear door locks and a full complement of airbags including side curtain airbags that cover all three rows. The SEL Premium trim now includes a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-path detection.
PRICING: Base MSRP for the 2012 Volkswagen Routan is $27,020. A SEL Premium model starts at $44,280.
WARRANTY: The Routan is backed by a 5-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
CLOSING: With its stylish, versatile and well-equipped passenger-friendly formula, the 2012 Volkswagen Routan is proof that the minivan is still a good first choice for family transportation.