Why it's one of our most significant: Ford just ended production of the Freestar, and GM plans to drop its four minivans soon, meaning that the Chrysler twins will be the final Americans on the minivan frontier. New "Swivel 'n' Go" seating and a removable table should help keep the soccer moms pouring in.
While its American compatriots have decided they can't compete with the likes of the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna and are throwing in the Wet Wipe in the minivan market, Chrysler, which still holds the minivan sales crown, is showing its intention to stay and fight the Asians with its redesigned '08 models. The 2008 Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country look to be a strong riposte, adopting many of the features seen on their competitors and adding some new twists of their own.The vehicles have all-new sheetmetal, with more squared-off styling. They are longer and wider and ride on a two-inch longer wheelbase. Short-wheelbase variants disappear, as does the four-cylinder engine. The 3.3-liter and 3.8-liter V-6s return, joined by a new 4.0-liter V-6 with 240 hp.
A third seating configurations is now offered. Standard is two bench seats. Stow 'n Go (2nd and 3rd row seats flop into the floor) is optional, as is a power-folding third row. A new choice is Swivel 'n Go, whereby the 2nd row chairs can face forward or backwards. When flipped around there's even a little table that can be installed. (The swiveling 2nd row seats do not fold into the floor.) The minivans also pick up other new features including: curtain air bags, roll-down windows in the slider doors, a rear-view camera, Chrysler's myGig hard-drive entertainment system, side window sunshades, remote start, heated seats in the second row, and LED interior lighting. The '08 model minivans arrive in showrooms this fall.