Behind the Wheel 2009 Volkswagen Routan German Engineers Fail the Paternity… — Volkswagen Routan

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Volkswagen Routan

Plot Thickens at Chrysler 25, 2009)

Tone-deafness is the Routan#146;s characteristic.

The 2009 Routan engineered by Germans, unless you the ones who used to work for It is merely a rebadged, slightly mildly retuned Chrysler

Volkswagen changed only the lights, rear glass, grille, select parts of the and some settings for the suspension and And yet, as if to obscure further the provenance, VW exhorts Web users to a virtual baby for German at a dedicated minisite: /.

Tone-deafness is the Routan’s defining and only the accounting department not to care: Volkswagen of America its own version of the best-selling Chrysler van to itself from currency #151; the Routan rolls out of minivan plant in Windsor, #151; and to have a three-row to offer its aging, child-bearing If VW is to have any hope of reaching its of 800,000 American sales a by 2018, it needs a big family The Routan, the thinking goes, VW the benefits without the sacrifice.

In a cosmic sense, though, is being sacrificed: VW’s for instance. Selling an American and then getting all truthy it in ads, can’t be reassuring to the VW enthusiasts who have supported the through its many ups and downs in the States market.

Something be getting lost in the trans-Atlantic In its native land, VW is the No. 1 brand it is the Chevy, or Toyota, of Germany. A minivan fits snugly that home-market conception of VW. the brand represents a nearly ideal. As the first high-volume car to the United States, the VW Beetle was a rejoinder to the overfed American of the postwar years. Ever VW has been the preferred ride of Everymen, from college to the Trustafundians who sleep through lectures.

Brand loyalists VW, at least in part, because of authenticity. And here comes a #151; a minivan! #151; in the mantle of deceit. It’s to make you laser off your VW tattoo.

Could there be any shred of in this thing? To find I spent a week in a Routan, my parents rearrange their for my brother’s engagement party. five days, I moved 4 10 tables, 70 chairs and several discs.

For comparison’s sake I concurrent with the Routan, a Town & Country. the vehicles were parked in our driveway, my wife asked: So VW makes its own minivan now?”

woman, so ruthlessly perceptive in of her husband’s personal hygiene, had the similarity.

Well done, VW styling department. But then she got in and was that in minivan-land, the exterior is the box the interior comes in. And VW wasn’t to mess with the most people carrier of all time.

The only visible interior are the new second-row seats, the instrument and the door skins. Everything according to my bride, is “exactly the same!”

VW offers three levels for the Routan: S, SE and SEL. The two have Chrysler’s 3.8-liter, V-6; the SEL gets a surprisingly 4-liter, 251-horse Chrysler V-6 also more fuel that the smaller engine 17 city/25 highway, compared 16/23).

I drove an SEL with the entertainment package, which both second- and third-row their own nine-inch screens on to watch movies (but not Satellite TV #151; only customers can get that).

The entertainment raised the SEL’s price to (from a base of $33,890). Add in the navigation unit and the $2,325 package with the power-folding seat, and my Routan’s sticker $41,790. Routans tend to run more than the equivalent (which carry a lifetime warranty, compared with five years or 60,000

Why, then, did my fully Chrysler have a sticker of Because it had Chrysler’s new Swivel ’n Go which can spin to face the row. VW does not offer Swivel ’n Go is nice if you want to sit in the and play cards while fellow passengers around the table.

Nor does VW offer Stow ’n Go system, with its second-row seats.

Volkswagen Routan

VW chose to fill its second row with chairs, a comfort-based initiative I support. The VW’s third row folds flat into the giving you an unencumbered 83.010 feet for glorious wedding


Seating aside, the distinction between the vans may be At the wheel of the Chrysler, I felt as I were in one of those hastily luxury big-foot homes. It has all the conveniences you could want multiple flat-screen TVs, tailgate, surgical-quality spot in the ceiling #151; but you get the feeling if you were trapped inside, you punch your way out.

The VW is made of almost exactly the stuff, at the same plant, but it somehow more solid. is mainly because the dashboard and are nicer. As I kept comparing the of both vehicles’ doors to sure the VW’s weren’t heftier, I realized I was in the spell of a mind trick.

The revised and suspension do help comportment, but changes are perceptible only in the of the brain that tells VWs are better to drive than They confirm prejudices “Chrysler vans ride and “their handling is looser WaMu ’s lending standards.” The is, the VW isn’t a Ferrari either.

of vehicle dynamics, however, is not germane to minivans. These are built for getting little to his Ultimate Fighting lessons not spilling your Acai master-cleanser into your 3G With its stable ride, power and 13 cup holders, the Routan all this commendably.

But the second coming of the Microbus not, and this is perhaps the of its affront. This could been the Volkswagen of minivans; it’s the Chrysler of VWs. And going to get pregnant for that?

INSIDE TRACK: VW’s marketers get Orwellian.

More in Automobiles #x00bb; A version of article appeared in print on 25, 2009, on page AU1 of the New York

Volkswagen Routan
Volkswagen Routan
Volkswagen Routan

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