Chrysler has been a front-runner in the minivan segment since the company invented the category way back in 1984. That doesn’t mean it has continuously offered the best minivans on the market, however. The 2011 update to the Town & Country (and Dodge Caravan) is much welcomed—and much needed, particularly when you consider the fit-and-finish complaints we had about our Four Seasons 2008 Town & Country and the All-Star award we recently bestowed upon the impressive new Honda Odyssey.
To me, the 2011 changes are most impactful in the interior, where improved plastics and materials and a more modern design make this a more pleasant place to be. There are still some hard plastics to be found, but they’re no longer as jarring. The exterior revisions are more subtle, but the tweaks diminish the vehicle’s blocky appearance, which is one reason why some people are so turned off by minivans. Also, the new 3.6-liter V-6 is much smoother than the trio of outdated V-6s that were offered last year.
On a January weekend with temperatures forecast in the single digits, I was more drawn to the T&C’s remote start, four heated seats, heated steering wheel, and tri-zone climate control. The minivan served me well, as I hauled my kids to their uncle’s house, four adults to a hockey game, and my recycling to the drop-off station. I was disappointed by the too-noticeable tire/road noise, but overall I found the 2011 model to be nicely improved from our 2008 example.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor