2009 Volkswagen Routan SEL

Jeffrey Jablansky

Funny--the boxy physique of Chrysler's latest minivans always reminded me of Volkswagen's old Eurovan, but I never imagined the Town & Country would serve as its replacement. Yet here we are, driving essentially a T&C with the fascia of an Eos grafted onto the front fenders and Jetta Sportwagen taillights.

Even though they're both minivans with VW logos on their grilles, I can't see any connection between the Eurovan and the new Routan. The former may have been a quirky, slow-selling oddball in its day, but it at least offered features--some quite useful--found in no other minivan. Until Chrysler introduced Swivel'n'Go, there wasn't a minivan since the 2003 Eurovan MV that sported a rear-facing second row and a pop-up rear table.

There are no such innovations in the Routan. Neither Stow'n'Go nor Swivel'n'Go are offered in the Volkswagen incarnation. The nifty mood lighting Chrysler installs along the overhead console is nowhere to be found. Unless you count the large underfloor cargo bins, there's really nothing else offered by the Routan that you couldn't find in a competitor's minivan.

In fact, for an extra $220, you could own the same van, but with second-row seats that fold into the floor, an iPod connector, an Infinity sound system, those aforementioned mood lamps, and two DVD screens for the kids. The catch? You'd be the proud owner of an almost-loaded Dodge Grand Caravan SXT. Think you could live with slightly less Fahrvenugen?

Evan McCausland, Web Producer

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