[singlepic id=348 w=320 h=240 float=]The VW Routan is a minivan using the Chrysler Town&Country as a a basis. Within that given it was easy to expect VW to have just plastered on some new headlights andÂ tail lights, and the badges of course, and that would have been it. We were totally surprised to find that VW had actually gone a lot further than that. Both the front end and the rear are substantially different from their Chrysler Group counterparts…. and that for the better.
On the front the bumper, grille, headlights and even the bonnet and fenders are unique, VW opting for a rather complicated way to place the bonnet cutline to blend into the fenders. This option can easily lead to problems in fit and finish if not carefully handled, which would have been an obvious risk if you have it produced by another manufacturer.
Thankfully the fit and finish did not seem to be an issue at all. The cutlines were as good as could be expected with this. Similarly at the rear VW went to the trouble of redesigning not only the tailgate and bumpers buit even the rear fenders and the rear quarter panels are unique, this to accomodate the seemingly larger tailgateÂ of the Routan compared to the Chrysler products.
On the interior The most eyecatching parts of the IP are unique to the VW as well, with the floating elements seen on recent VW’s as a theme clearly present here. The most obvious carry over parts are the steering wheelm rebadged of course, and the information center using the Chrysler navigation and entertainment unit.
The seats too seemed to be more Recaro like than the ones used by Chrysler, befitting a “German” car. The color and trim was very VW, using light colors with shades of grey carefully blended. The lack of the cheap silver accents Chrysler seems to insist on was also very refreshing.
Under the hood the cars are identical, with the same 4.7 liter V6 engine giving plenty of power to move the Routan along at a comfortable speed.
All in all this is not a full VW of course, but within the limitations of using a Chrysler carry over product, VW has gone a long way to ensure its unique brand identity was safeguarded on this car. It is not a 100% unique successor to the famous VW Bus as we hoped for after seeing the VW concept, but is more than just a rebadged Chrysler, much more.