We had four minivans here at the same time: the Town & Country, the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna, and the Nissan Quest. After driving the Town & Country and the Odyssey (I didn’t manage to get into the Quest and the Sienna), I can say that the recently redesigned Chrysler product holds up pretty well again the minivan that we recently named to our All-Stars list.
In fact, I was surprised by how much I liked the Town & Country, seeing as how I wasn’t that big a fan of our Four Seasons 2008 model. Of course, this test vehicle was the top-of-the-line Limited version, which has the best of everything Chrysler has to offer, minivan-wise. The seats, with their mix of leather and suede, are very nice-looking and also quite comfortable. The heated steering wheel (standard on the Limited) is a great feature during a cold winter, as are the heated first and second-row seats. The gearshift, which is located to the right of the main dash, looks like some sort of odd hybrid. It has gates like a typical center-console shifter, yet it’s located up high like an old-fashioned column-mounted unit (without actually being mounted on the column, of course). Having said that, I find it to be easy to use and in a good location. The Town & Country Limited has what the company calls a “super center console,” that has extra storage for things like a wallet or CDs, along with a pass-through space that can hold bulkier items like a purse or a small satchel—very handy. Too bad about the Garmin navigation system, which seems a little downmarket for such a well-equipped vehicle.
In the back, the T&C has great versatility with its Stow ’n Go second-row seats and an optional power-folding third row. Perfect for those who don’t have the upper-body strength (or the desire) to physically remove seats when it comes time to haul big cargo.
The T&C doesn’t suffer from the fact that engine choices have dropped from three to one, as the 282-hp V-6 delivers both plenty of power and decent fuel economy for a minivan, at 17 mpg in city driving and 25 mpg on the highway.
All in all, this Town & Country holds up pretty well against the rest of the competition. Gone are the days when the Chrysler minivan was the unquestioned leader in the segment, but it’s still worthy of any minivan buyer’s consideration.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor