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Lose of acceleration and jerk on reverse

We just bought a 2011 VW Routan. When going up a hill at 40-45mph, I loose power. I have to stick my foot in it to get it to shift down and climb the hill. Also, when backing up, there is a mild jerking, but not all the time.
I’ve been told to drive it with engine cleaner through two tanks of gas and see how it does. That sounds like the dealer is jerking my chain.

By “just bought it”, today? last week? Recent enough that you can take it back and return it? Did it do any of this during your test drive?
It’s always a good idea to have an independent mechanic look over any car you might be considering. Yes, it’s money out of your pocket (maybe $100-150), but that can be money well spent to avoid a problem purchase.

Some loss of power is expected when going uphill. You mean it loses more power on uphill climbs than would be normal? Is there an increase in engine rev’ing (rpms) when this power loss happens? the first step is to confirm you have an actual problem. the second step is to decide if it is caused byt the transmission, or the engine. Until both of those are determined, no sense spending money on things that might work.


More information, please…

Which engine? It probably matters.

Dealer? What type of dealer? Was it a genuine Volkswagen Dealer?


It’s more power loss than it should be. My old little Impala never had this
much trouble.
The rpms don’t jump until I stick my foot in the gas. It has that ability
in manually go up and down a gear. When I click it down while going uphill,
it drops to 5th and gets going. It appears that it’s always in 6th at just
40mph. Is this part of the new continuous velocity transmission?

My thought is that this vehicle is nothing like your old Impala so there might not be anything wrong. If going up a hill with cruise control it maintains the set speed you should be fine.

It may just be how it works. The main reason CVT’s are used is to help the manufacturer meet federal emissions requirements. A CVT is able to maintain the engine at a constant rpm, one presumably that has the lowest of all emissions. So the car and fleet pass emissions testing. But this may be a downside. The manufacturer doesn’t want the rpm to increase for emissions purposes, and if the owner does, the owner has to do it themselves. Suggest to ask around, find a way if to do a few tests drives in other cars configured the same way. Before spending any more dollars on this.

If it stays in 6th gear @40 MPH up hill you must be very light on the accelerator. It should down shift after you open the throttle to compensate for the grade, at half throttle it should down shift to 3rd or 4th gear.

I suspect your old car had a 4 speed auto and your not accustomed to the tall gearing and more shifting of the late model transmissions.

CVTs do not have “gears” as such. You should see the RPMs increase on an uphill as the CVT shifts to a different ratio for more power.

Ah, good to know. It makes since.
I like your suggestion. I can’t compare apples to oranges.

Thank you. Good to know. This is the ‘newest’ car I’ve ever driven so
technology has changed, for sure.

I wouldn’t necessarily do that, but I believe Volkswagen is one of many manufacturers that recommend using Top Tier gasoline. Consult your Car Owner’s Manual.

Many gas brands are Top Tier and perhaps the gas you already use is one. Google Top Tier gas brands list and see. Additives are put into these brands that should do what “engine cleaner” should do for you.

What fuel is recommended or required for your Volkswagen? The Car Owner’s Manual and the gas filler on the car should specify the grade of gasoline required or the grade of gasoline recommended. Using the wrong gas could alter the car’s performance, especially if it is other than that required.

This sounds a lot like the Routan I rented a few years ago, while on a camping trip across BC. The engine in my Jeep broke, and this was the only rental left available in the small town that we were towed to. I distinctly remember that it had a hard time choosing the right gear through the hills - frequently it would hold the high gear far too long, getting lethargic, before dropping down a gear. It really wasn’t that much fun in the mountains. You’re probably stuck with the issue, it might be a design problem that can’t be fixed. Maybe the VW dealer has a software update?

The Volkswagen Routan is a minivan that was manufactured by Chrysler and only came with a 6 speed automatic transmission. There were no CVTs in Chrysler minivans at that time.

Pretty sure the Routan is a rebadged Chrysler minivan with a conventional six-speed geared transmission. What made you think it had a CVT?

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I don’t think that was Mama’s idea…


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I interpreted that as “continuously variable transmission”, ie CVT.

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Oh, I see where you got that! It was from Mama.

Looks like these vehicles have a “0C8” 8-Speed Automatic Transmission.

EDIT: I’m getting conflicting information. Another source says that it could be a 6-speed DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) automatic.

If it’s got that one then there’s a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) # 2011690 for "momentary delay when accelerating."