2012 Volkswagen Routan


#8 out of 8 in 2012 Minivans

$7,721 - $12,360

2012 Volkswagen Routan Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Volkswagen Routan was new.


Performance: 7.6

The 2012 Volkswagen Routan is a capable performer, with a satisfying ride and decent power. Still, reviewers like the Honda Odyssey’s performance better.

  • ". . . still acquits itself fairly well around corners while also swallowing most bumps and ruts without complaint. Its driving dynamics still remain a step or two behind the segment-leading Honda Odyssey, however." -- Edmunds
  • "Volkswagen says it tuned the Routan's suspension and steering for a sportier, more European ride than the minivan's U.S. counterparts." -- Cars.com

Acceleration and Power

The Routan has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 283 horsepower. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Reviewers say that the powertrain has ample juice for most situations minivan drivers are likely to encounter.

The EPA estimates fuel economy for the 2012 Routan at 17/25 mpg city/highway.

  • "There's good power." -- Car and Driver
  • "The new-for-2011 V6 engine is a big improvement, as it's more powerful and fuel-efficient than what VW offered last year. Still, this engine lacks the refinement (specifically in regard to sound) found in the Odyssey and Sienna -- not to mention Volkswagen's actual engine lineup. On the upside, the six-speed automatic does an admirable job of keeping power on tap." -- Edmunds
  • "The 6-speed automatic provides quick shifts, but low-speed driving can generate a bit of harshness during gear changes." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

One of the major differences between the Routan and its American siblings is its retuned suspension. While critics disagree on how much this actually improves the vehicle's performance, many say the ride provides a nice balance of sharp (for a minivan) handling and comfort. However, for 2011 the Chrysler Town & Country also got a retuned suspension, so the difference between the Routan and its American cousin isn’t as great as it once was.

  • “The Routan lacks the crisp steering and improved chassis that the Chrysler/Dodge minivan received last year." -- Car and Driver
  • “The stock Chrysler springs, shocks and bushings were swapped out in favor of firmer parts and the power steering unit's valve proportioning was adjusted to create a heavier feel that responds more quickly to inputs. The result is a minivan that still has a comfortable ride, but feels more in-touch with the road.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "On the road, the suspension retuning is immediately apparent. Firmer springs and shocks and larger stabilizer bars, plus revisions to the steering make the Routan a pleasant and controllable vehicle on the road -- and not just on the highway." -- CNET

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