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    Thread: California Dreaming- VWvortex Road Test 2009 Routan SE

    1. 04-24-2009 07:37 AM #1
      Volkswagen vans are as much a part of the coastal California landscape as surfboards and seagulls. From San Francisco to San Diego, it’s almost impossible to drive a mile on the coast highway without passing a microbus, a Vanagon or a Eurovan. With a family trip to the central coast already planned, it seemed fitting that we should spend the week in VW’s latest people-box, the 2009 Routan minivan, to see if it possesses any of its predecessors’ mojo...FULL STORY

    2. Member haunted reality's Avatar
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      04-24-2009 08:05 AM #2
      Nice write-up, still doesn't convince me to think about the Crouton. Sorry, if VW brought the Touran it would be game on and my 5 would have a challenge. Otherwise, I'll keep driving my 5.

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      04-24-2009 09:42 AM #3
      ..yeah a nice write up but I wouldnt say is was meant to convince anyone to think about the Routan. Seemed more like trying to not say anything too bad about it instead...lol.
      VW really missed the mark with the Routan..borrowing a minivan from a failing company. I feel sorry for the uninformed folks that only realize after buying the Routan that theyve only bought a rebadged dodge and not an actual VW...

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      04-24-2009 09:43 AM #4
      "Here’s the back-story: VW is potentially developing its own minivan, one that’s more affordable and family-friendly than the tall, boxy and expensive T5 Transporter that it sells in Europe. Until that product arrives (assuming it ever does), it needs to lay some groundwork to get 21st-century families thinking about VW vans in a 21st-century context."
      Um, like this one?
      http://www.volkswagen.de/vwcms....html
      VW already has a minivan, why not bring it over? It's the same old comlaint about VW not bringing over its other offerings that are available in Europe........
      Posts may not reflect the views of others, get over it.

    5. 04-24-2009 10:15 AM #5
      i wonder if people are more inclined to buy the VW version these days knowing the company isn't in danger of going away?

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      04-24-2009 12:22 PM #6
      This may be a little nit-picky, but I'm not entirely sure if you know what the word 'teutonic' means.

      of or pertaining to the ancient Teutons or their languages; "Teutonic peoples such as Germans and Scandinavians and British"; "Germanic mythology"
      wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
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    7. 04-24-2009 01:20 PM #7
      I've had a Eurovan and now have the Chrysler version of the Routan. For me the deciding factor was the seats that fold flat into the floor that the Routan doesn't offer. I love the quirkiness of the microbus/vanogan/eurovans but their reliability has always been their downfall. Perhaps VW fans will have the best of both worlds here, a reliabile (read not made by VW) Volkswagen van. Having said all that, I would LOVE to have the opportunity to buy an updated version of the microbus. Look at what an instant sensation the New Beetle was and still is. VW should do that with a US market New Microbus.

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      04-24-2009 01:41 PM #8
      so $30k for an optionless Chrysler w/a VW badge on it?
      No thanks.
      I'd rather have a $27k (nearly) loaded GTI w/rebates galore ($22k out the door) that'll still haul us, our daughter, 3 dogs (albeit, of the yorkie and pom variety), and luggage for a 3 day trip, comfortably. Hence me buying just that.
      Until VW comes to their senses and releases the Mini-bus concept or anything remotely as appealing truck/van/SUV-wise I'm keeping my butt in a GTI.
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    9. 04-24-2009 01:42 PM #9
      Make the fffffffffffffffu King microbus. Make it quirky and unique, one that could be configured like a the family hauler and other with simple rubber mats for the camping, sports, cycling, stuff hauler or weekend warrior.
      My family had TWO T2, one aircooled, one watercooled and I traveled very very often in four different Microbuses at the time. I could haul a 12' jonboat or put the rear bench to haul friends, or hauling bicycles, tools and such.
      I will instantly purchase one that could acomodate 5 persons with the option to haul stuff in the rest of the van. One that I could attach rear seatbelts, and that the rear seat could be removed so i can go camping anywhere with gear.
      The problem would be trying to make it so minivan, that nobody would take a look at it. Just like the routan.

    10. 04-24-2009 02:03 PM #10
      Quote, originally posted by haunted reality »
      Nice write-up, still doesn't convince me to think about the Crouton. Sorry, if VW brought the Touran it would be game on and my 5 would have a challenge. Otherwise, I'll keep driving my 5.

      Gaa, $30k!
      Mmm, Mazda5. With a baby on the way, I'm half tempted to pick one of those up, but our '08 Versa is such a great car that I can't bring myself to get rid of it. I do dig those 5's though. Seriously, unless you need a lot more room, why would you buy anything else?

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      04-24-2009 02:13 PM #11
      Quote, originally posted by MeineFolks’wagen »
      "Here’s the back-story: VW is potentially developing its own minivan, one that’s more affordable and family-friendly than the tall, boxy and expensive T5 Transporter that it sells in Europe. Until that product arrives (assuming it ever does), it needs to lay some groundwork to get 21st-century families thinking about VW vans in a 21st-century context."
      Um, like this one?
      http://www.volkswagen.de/vwcms....html
      VW already has a minivan, why not bring it over? It's the same old comlaint about VW not bringing over its other offerings that are available in Europe........

      eegads that thing, the sharan, is ugly. no one is going to buy that. it looks like a cross between the voyagers/ minivans of the late nineties and the toyota previa egg mobile. [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthdown.gif[/IMG]
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      04-24-2009 02:31 PM #12
      Quote, originally posted by mister_g60 »
      Gaa, $30k!
      Mmm, Mazda5. With a baby on the way, I'm half tempted to pick one of those up, but our '08 Versa is such a great car that I can't bring myself to get rid of it. I do dig those 5's though. Seriously, unless you need a lot more room, why would you buy anything else?

      I didn't see the Mazda5 reference earlier in the thread. But I caught you bringing it up and the funny thing is that I test drove a Mazda5 while looking at the MS3 (no way that was going to work...back seats SUCKED). It is the ONLY "van-like" thing out there that I would even consider. My g/f said no-go as she despises vans. Back to the VW dealership (and thus to another GTI) we went.
      Having a child, you wouldn't believe the amount of room one of these cars provides. Oddly enough, the 2 door is more manageable than the 4
      But yeh - Mazda5's are REALLY nice. Even now I point 'em out to my g/f.
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      04-24-2009 03:01 PM #13
      At the end of the article you mention a Vanagon Synchro Camper . . . it's SYNCRO not "synchro." No "H."
      Originally Posted by peskyrabbit

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      04-24-2009 04:23 PM #14
      No thanks. I want to have kids, but I don't want them to be riding in a wannabe VW. If I were to buy a minivan right now, it'd be a Honda Odyssey. I have a number of reasons to not want a Chrysler, and slapping someone else's badges on it isn't going to make it anything else but what it really is. Bring a true VW minivan, and I'd be there. More realistically, I'm sticking with my five-door, and if it needs replacement, something like a Jetta Sportwagen, another five-door GTI, an Audi A3, or a Tiguan (bring us a DSG-powered TDI version, please!) would be my first pick.

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      04-24-2009 06:26 PM #15
      I was totally bent on ignoring this car, but my sister-in-law drug me out looking for vehicles to replace here (craptastic) Ford Freestyle.
      She was determined not to get an SUV, but after looking at all the standard fare we went to check out the Routan. She's had it for 3 months now, loves it and I'm pretty impressed with it too... It's no T5, but does the job for now.

    16. 04-24-2009 08:25 PM #16
      We have friends who currently own a Suburban and an XC70. They have two kids, three dogs and a camper (thus the Suburban). They've both owned VWs in the past - him a Passat and a Jetta, she a Cabriolet - though they aren't what I'd consider "enthusiasts." They've resisted buying a minivan at all cost, but they felt oddly attracted to the idea of a VW minivan. I think there really is a certain cachet that comes with owning a dub, at least for some people.
      In the end, they weren't really convinced either. They still have their XC70 and 'burban.
      Oh, and the "h" is gone from syncro. Thank spell-checker for that.

    17. 04-24-2009 09:01 PM #17
      I guess my question to those people who keep bashing this idea of the new minivan: Have you ever actually driven one????
      I have... they are actually really nice. I think VW tuned that suspension perfectly! Its super comfortable!
      Yeah ok..its a chrysler engine and tranny, but just because chrysler is in this financial crisis, doesnt mean they cant build an engine... The fact that they are in such bad shape is mainly business purposes, not the engineering aspect of it.
      Just some food for thought... my mother owns a 2000 chrysler LHS, (3.5 V6), it has 140K on it and she has NEVER had any engine or tranny issues with it and it still runs good.
      but...i do agree that 30k is alot of money for it....
      but thats just my input on it...

    18. 04-24-2009 11:12 PM #18
      I keep trying to forget this vehicle exists. I am sure there are Chrysler vehicles that run forever and I realize there are actually some people who like the brand. VW putting a badge on a Chrysler does not sit well with me. Somehow, and it may be stupid to some, I kind of feel betrayed. I know VW owes me nothing, it is how I feel though. I'll get over it.

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      04-24-2009 11:14 PM #19
      I think most of the people here with negative comments are neither in the market for a minivan and have probably never even take the time to look at a Routan.
      I used to own a 2000 VW Eurovan MV. There's always been something special about Volkswagen vans.
      First, Chrysler has always been a market leader in the minivan segment with the Town & Country and the Dodge Grand Caravan. That powertrain is known for long term reliability with many vehicles going 200,000+ mile with very few issues. The Routan may very well be the most reliable Volkswagen right now. Drive a Routan and you can definitely feel the upgrades to the steering and handling. Much more taut than the Chrysler products. The biggest difference is the interior. The materials in all trim levels are definitely an upgrade over it's Chrysler cousins and the 2 mid row captains chair seats are more comfortable than the flimsy stow and go seats.
      It's really a pretty good vehicle overall. If for some reason I needed to replace my 04 Passat, I would definitely consider it. [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    20. 04-25-2009 12:20 AM #20
      Quote, originally posted by papa_vw »
      That powertrain is known for long term reliability with many vehicles going 200,000+ mile with very few issues.

      that powertrain you speak of is of the piushrod era #1
      and #2, those transmissions are GARBAGE

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      04-25-2009 12:58 AM #21
      Quote, originally posted by MKIII-JP »
      that powertrain you speak of is of the piushrod era #1
      and #2, those transmissions are GARBAGE

      I appreciate your being a VW enthusiast as I am, but to put down another manufacturer without the facts isn't warranted.
      Here's the most recent JD Powers reliability study. Dodge Grand Caravan received the top minivan rankings. Not a bad vehicle for Volkswagen to base it's new minivan on.
      http://articles.moneycentral.m....aspx
      Speaking of garbage transmissions, have you read the Transporter forum here on the Vortex lately? One of the biggest issues for Eurovan owners has been the transmisson.



      Modified by papa_vw at 10:00 PM 4-24-2009

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      04-25-2009 01:05 AM #22
      Here's a new upgrade from DriversGear that I saw posted in the Routan forum....
      "TOUAREG / ROUTAN TENT
      Item #19950
      The unique design of this tent provides the most versatility and flexibility when camping. The Sportz SUV/Mini Van tent has a patented removable sleeve that wraps around the cargo area of your Touareg or Routan, allowing for easy access to storage or as additional sleeping area. Features: 10' x 10' tent, sleeps 6 people, can be used as stand alone tent, Roomy interior with 7' of headroom, equipped with a 6' x 6' rain fly awning, 2 large entrance doors, 3 large no-see-um mesh windows, 2 mesh skylights, lantern holder and gear loft hangs from ceiling. Includes carrying case. Made from 185D, 75D polyester taffeta with 1200mm of PU water-resistant coating.
      This item will ship direct from the mfg. Allow 2 weeks for delivery. MSRP $289.95"


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      04-25-2009 01:08 PM #23
      Quote, originally posted by MeineFolks’wagen »
      Um, like this one?
      http://www.volkswagen.de/vwcms....html
      VW already has a minivan, why not bring it over? It's the same old comlaint about VW not bringing over its other offerings that are available in Europe........

      Um, I personally would have the rebadged Dodge we got then the rebadged Ford you suggest, thank you very much.



      Modified by JETwagen at 1:50 PM 4-25-2009
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    24. Member papa_vw's Avatar
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      04-25-2009 06:16 PM #24
      Quote, originally posted by JETwagen »
      Um, I personally would have the rebadged Dodge we got then the rebadged Ford you suggest, thank you very much.

      The Routan is a far better vehicle than the Sharan. [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]


      Modified by papa_vw at 4:40 PM 4-25-2009

    25. 04-26-2009 10:25 AM #25
      Much as I love VW at the end of the day the Routan is just too expensive to consider as a viable option.
      We too were the people who swore blind we'd never own a van.
      Now with 2 kids, bikes, trailers and a dog it's getting tough/impossible hauling stuff around with a 4 door sedan.
      In Canada a no options "Comfortline" is $34K. An optioned 25th Aniversary (sp) Dodge Minivan is $14K.
      For a vehicle which neither of us really want but have (!!) to consider, which will be beaten and abused, have stuff tossed into and out of, and which doesn't offer "Stow and Go" we cannot justify the extra $20K.
      Sorry VW, you completely missed the mark with the Routan.
      It's too expensive for what it is.

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      04-26-2009 11:14 AM #26
      Quote, originally posted by JETwagen »
      Um, I personally would have the rebadged Dodge we got then the rebadged Ford you suggest, thank you very much.

      for the record, VW & Ford developed the mk1 Sharan together - it was a joint venture. That was the first reason for not importing the Sharan to the US - it was Ford's home territory and was part of the agreement between the 2 companies.
      Yes, there are Ford's w/ a VR6 under the hood out there.
      The reason now? (now, that Ford no longer shares this platform) Who knows.
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      04-26-2009 03:18 PM #27
      Quote, originally posted by driver bob »
      In Canada a no options "Comfortline" is $34K. An optioned 25th Aniversary (sp) Dodge Minivan is $14K.

      I'm not sure what you're comparing. A new Routan at $34,000 Canadian versus a used Dodge Grand Caravan at $14,000 Canadian? There isn't that kind of a price difference between the Routan and a comparably equipped Dodge Grand Caravan.

    28. 04-27-2009 10:01 AM #28
      There is a huge price differential between the two vehicles, and the VW does not offer Stow n' Go.
      The Caravan is a brand new 09 model, not used.
      We were at the dealer and I was $25K off the dealership lot, on the road for the Caravan. (But then my wife got laid off and we had to pull out of the deal).
      VW can't come close to that price. A minivan on any platform is, to my mind, designed to haul around the family and all the associated crap that goes with it.
      It's not a vehicle we want to drive but it's a vehicle we will eventually have to drive.



      Modified by driver bob at 7:02 AM 4-27-2009

    29. 04-27-2009 05:19 PM #29
      Quote, originally posted by driver bob »
      Now with 2 kids, bikes, trailers and a dog it's getting tough/impossible hauling stuff around with a 4 door sedan.

      3 kids and a B5 wagon, and it works very well. It's a bit tight sometimes, but the roof top carrier solves any hauling issues for those occasional trips. We can go camping without the roof box for a weekend without a problem. Would be nice to be able to bring home friends from school, and that's what's had us consider 7 passenger vehicles, but we haven't found anything worthwhile.
      I got a ride in a Routan when I had the passat in for an oil change, I was not impressed. Some of the door moldings were lifting (the ones around the sliding doors), and there were a lot of gaps between the floor storage cover pieces that made it look cheap (sat in the rear). Sitting in the front was much nicer, though.
      Holding out for a diesel or a hybrid minivan, though. A plug-in hybrid with an all-electric range of 20 miles would cover the majority of our trips. A hybrid is the only kind of car I wouldn't mind not having a manual transmission in.
      -Fab

    30. 04-27-2009 08:37 PM #30
      I think the article was well written and explains the tedium of a Mini Van. Being a VW nut there are a few points I felt that were missed:
      - Carefree Maintenance: how but not paying for service?
      - How about standard Electronic Traction Control on every model?
      - Having the opportunity to participate in a ride and drive, I have driven the Routan, Odyssey, Town and County, and Sienna side by side there are a few standouts:
      o Lack of body roll. We did a 0-60 and then an abrupt lane change and boy did the competitors feel like they were going to tip over
      o Responsive steering (All be it of a van). Most Mini Vans are designed with a numb steering wheel intentionally designed for the driver to turn around and yell at the kids without the van veering off the road! My reaction was I want the responsiveness so I can avoid road hazards.
      o Overall superior interior quality stands outs in the Routan. Sound dampening materials in the doors, quality and thickness of the Leather and carpets. Durability of the plastics…etc
      Your right it is not a Campervan or Touran but in a very crowded market place there is now a VW option that can deliver a more enjoyable driving experience and great quality that others can’t.
      Do your self a favor and drive one for kicks and giggles!

    31. 04-28-2009 01:51 PM #31
      Quote, originally posted by IDdubber »
      so $30k for an optionless Chrysler w/a VW badge on it?

      X2 [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      Our business has a Grand Caravan to haul boxes in. Stow 'n Go... Whatever.
      What a POS! lol
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    32. 04-28-2009 10:59 PM #32
      People are staying away in droves.
      Automotive News via Autoblog: "Of the 22,037 Routans produced between its introduction in September and the cessation of production just a few months later, only 5,582 (less than a quarter of those made) have actually been sold."
      http://www.autoblog.com/2009/0...t-lo/

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      04-29-2009 12:57 PM #33
      One of the worst business moves VW has made ever.

    34. 05-01-2009 02:29 PM #34
      Along with the Phaeton.
      I have an '02 Euroclam GLS with 150,000. The transmission blew up on me and I considered dumping it for a Routan. No contest; I fixed the transmission.

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      05-01-2009 03:58 PM #35
      Quote, originally posted by too_many_vws »
      Of the 22,037 Routans produced between its introduction in September and the cessation of production just a few months later, only 5,582 (less than a quarter of those made) have actually been sold.

      What did they expect to happen? Missing features/options combined with higher price just to change the badge doesn't sell vehicles. Add the stow and go and make the price competitive with the other versions of the same vehicle and you might get more buyers. Oh, and put a real VW engine in it.

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