New For 2014
In honor of Chrysler-built minivans’ anniversary, there is a new 30th Anniversary package with an upgraded interior and a smattering of special-edition badges inside and out. (However, it’s worth noting that the Chrysler Town & Country didn’t actually debut as a minivan until the 1990 model year, which is six years after its Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager siblings debuted, meaning the Chrysler van isn’t thirty years old quite yet.) The Town & Country S — which was new last year — has been updated with new black chrome trim, blacked-out headlight surrounds, seventeen-inch aluminum wheels, and a monotone black interior.
The Town & Country is the only vehicle in Chrysler’s lineup to eschew a numeric badge name. And with good reason: the venerable Town & Country moniker is one of the oldest Chrysler nameplates, applied to famous wood-bodied luxury cars of the 1940s as well as the minivan that helped to save the company in the 1980s. Since then, the five generations of Town & Country (and its Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan, Plymouth Voyager/Grand Voyager siblings) have been named Automobile Magazine All-Stars a total of six times. Those were rightfully won victories, given that the Town & Country and its corporate compatriots created the minivan segment. Chrysler’s minivans established a new kind of people mover that took America by storm throughout the 1980s and 1990s; eventually every major manufacturer fielded at least one minivan. The Chrysler vans also introduced forward-looking innovations like a power tailgate and sliding doors, roll-out rear seats, a stowable second-row table, flip-folding Stow ‘N Go seats, and optional all-wheel drive.
Over the years, the Town & Country has been one of Chrysler’s best-selling nameplates. In 2012, 111,744 copies of the minivan were sold in the U.S., and the automaker is off to an even better pace through the first two-thirds of 2013.
Minivans were put on this planet for one primary purpose: to haul people. Lots of people, in fact, given that Chrysler has sold more than thirteen million minivans since 1983. The Chrysler Town & Country moves people but also adheres to the brand’s principle of infusing everyday vehicles with a little luxurious flair. Since its overhaul in 2011, the Town & Country’s exterior has been imbued with projector headlamps, LED taillamps, and a slew of chrome accents. The sportier-looking Town & Country S, introduced last year, jazzes up the aesthetics further with black chrome accents, blacked-out headlight bezels, black-painted seventeen-inch aluminum wheels, and black-backed Chrysler badges.
The new rear-seat video system won’t entertain the driver, but a few modifications made during the van’s makeover in 2011 — notably a 283-hp V-6 and revised suspension tuning — make spending time behind the wheel a little less boring. The Town & Country’s standard Stow ‘N Go seating, which boasts second- and third-row seats that quickly fold flat into the load floor, provides unrivaled versatility, but what the Town & Country boasts in flexibility it lacks in finesse. Its six-speed automatic doesn’t always shift smoothly, its body structure emits rattles over harsh impacts, and we’d be happier if Chrysler expanded the use of upscale, soft-touch materials within. In a 2011 comparison test, we felt that the Town & Country “still needs a ground-up redesign to bring the interior, chassis, and transmission in line with the best vehicles in its class. It is, however, the minivan for those who value versatility above all else.” The Chrysler Town & Country is also rated as a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. With all that in mind, the Town & Country is more of a premium people mover than ever before.
- V-6’s power
- Flexible seating configurations
- Improved handling and steering feel
You won’t like:
- Sluggish transmission
- Body flex
- Stow ‘N Go seats uncomfortable for large passengers
- Honda Odyssey
- Kia Sedona
- Nissan Quest
- Toyota Sienna