Abstract In this paper, we propose the connectivity-aware minimum-delay geographic routing (CMGR) protocol for vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs), which adapts well to continuously changing network status in such networks. When the network is sparse, CMGR takes the connectivity of routes into consideration in its route selection logic to maximize the chance of packet reception. On the other hand, in situations with dense network nodes, CMGR determines the routes with adequate connectivity and selects among them the route with the minimum delay. The performance limitations of CMGR in special vehicular networking situations are studied and addressed. These situations, which include the case where the target vehicle has moved away from its expected location and the case where traffic in a road junction is so sparse that no next-hop vehicle can be found on the intended out-going road, are also problematic in most routing protocols for VANETs. Finally, the proposed protocol is compared with two plausible geographic connectivity-aware routing protocols for VANETs, A-STAR and VADD. The obtained results show that CMGR outperforms A-STAR and VADD in terms of both packet delivery ratio and ratio of dropped data packets. For example, under the specific conditions considered in the simulations, when the maximum allowable one-way transmission delay is 1 min and one gateway is deployed in the network, the packet delivery ratio of CMGR is approximately 25% better than VADD and A-STAR for high vehicle densities and goes up to 900% better for low vehicle densities.