Do you have your original copy of Automobile Magazine’s first (April 1986) issue on hand? Good. Take a look at the cover. No, no, the back cover. That’s right: a Chrysler minivan. It was also included in our first list of All-Stars, made our “20 greatest cars” list, and has maintained a regular presence in our Four Seasons fleet. It’s safe to say, then, that our staffers – especially those who have been around for a while – have a soft spot for what may very well be Chrysler’s greatest contribution to the auto industry. But some ten months into our latest go-around, this time with a 2008 Chrysler Town & Country, we’re starting to feel the design’s age.
If we were to put our latest complaints into one word, it would be “rattles.”
“Yikes! We have developed some nasty rattles, especially in the center console. It’s all a little shaky at 27,000+ miles,” wrote editor in chief Jean Jennings after spending Christmas weekend with the van.
Road test editor Marc Noordeloos concurred. “The plastics aren’t good enough, and there are a surprising amount of rattles and squeaks considering the van’s age.”
And this easily frightened writer added, “the van creaks and rattles so much that I find myself turning around at every light to make sure a door’s not open or that someone isn’t hiding in back (intending to kill me, of course).”
The racket hasn’t stopped us from appreciating the intrinsic brilliance of the T&C’s design.
“Who needs an SUV when you can have a minivan?” exclaimed copy editor Rusty Blackwell after transporting a four-foot-wide piece of antique furniture. Even Noordeloos, one of the van’s harshest critics, agreed after a weekend trip with his family. “The T&C swallowed a suitcase, a TV, Ikea boxes, and a computer with room to spare,” he wrote, adding, “If only it drove as well as a (and was screwed together as well), Chrysler would have a winner.
Perhaps it wouldn’t rattle as much, either.
2008 Chrysler Town & Country
- Base Price: $36,440
- As Tested: $42,570
- -Swivel `n Go Seating Group – $495-Trailer Tow Prep Group – $600-Dual Screen DVD Player/ Sirius TV – $2000-Built-in 2nd Row Child Booster Seats – $225-Power sunroof – $895-Power folding third-row seat – $595-MyGIG Multimedia System w/ Navigation – $1300
- body style 4-door minivan
- accommodation 7 passengers
- construction Steel unibody
- Engine 24-valve SOHC V-6
- Displacement 4.0-liters ( 245 cu in)
- Horsepower 251 hp @ 6000 rpm
- Torque 259 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
- Transmission type Six-speed automatic
- Drive Front-wheel
- Steering Power rack and pinion
- lock-to-lock 3.14
- turning circle 39.1 ft
- Suspension, front Strut-type, coil springs
- Suspension, rear Twist-beam axle, coil springs
- Brakes F/R Vented discs/ discs, ABS
- Tires Bridgestone Turanza EL 400
- Tire size 225/65R17
- headroom f/c/r 37.3/ 37.3/ 37.9 in
- legroom f/c/r 40.6/ 36.3/ 31.8 in
- shoulder room f/c/r 63.0/ 64.7/ 62.0 in
- L x W x H 202.5 x 78.7 x 68.9 in
- Wheelbase 121.2 in
- Track f/r 65.5/ 64.8 in
- Weight 4621 lb
- weight dist. f/r 56/ 44 %
- cargo capacity 32.3/ 140.1 cu ft (rear seats up/down)
- fuel capacity 20 gal
- est. fuel range 360 miles
- fuel grade 87 octane