Executive editor Ed Loh recently used the Routan as a tour bus, lugging six friends to major tourist spots in the Los Angeles area, including Philippe's the Original (best French dip sandwiches in town), Olvera Street, and Chinatown, plus Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Rodeo Drive, and the Farmers Market. The visitors, a family from France, own a Renault Espace and are familiar with the Euro-market Volkswagen Touran (swap the T and the R and you know where VW got the name Routan). They were impressed by the dual fold-down LCD screens, headphones, remote controls, and power sliding doors and cargo door. "The Routan was admired by our French friends. Though access to the backseat for the three kids was a bit inelegant, we were able to fit nearly 6-foot-tall Antoine, 11-year-old Nicolas, and 6-year-old Louise in the third row."


2010 Volkswagen Routan
Months/miles in service 5/10,399
Avg econ/CO2 18.0 mpg/1.08 lb/mile
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $0 (oil change/inspection/rotate tires, plus machined warped brake rotors)
Normal-wear cost $0