Friday, June 20, 2014


The Chrysler Town & Country is one of the best minivans you can buy, but it doesn't make perfect sense, not like its near-twin over at Chrysler's Dodge division. It's a luxury minivan, which runs counter our idea of how minivans should be used. To us, a minivan needs to be able to go from four 10-year-olds to four Costco cartloads in nothing flat; the Town & Country can do it, but its leather seats and $30,000-plus features might never look the same.

The Town & Country is the companion piece to the Dodge Grand Caravan. (For more information on that top minivan pick, see TheCarConnection's 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan page.) In the current plan, the Town & Country is the premium offering--so while the Dodge van has a special edition priced below $20,000, the Chrysler minivan starts at about $30,000, in the search for the same upscale buyers that regularly put their money down on the competitive Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey family haulers.

The 2014 Chrysler Town & Country is spacious and functional, but saddled with more baggage than you could haul in its cavernous 114 cu. ft. of cargo room.

Minivans are not, and never have been, cool.  But a week spent behind the wheel of the Town & Country proved there’s plenty to enjoy in this coolly efficient segment – and that in many situations, a minivan makes infinitely more sense than hipper crossover vehicles.

Chrysler invented the minivan market back in the 1984 model year, and three decades later the automaker still controls more than 40-percent of all minivan sales here in the U.S.. Combined with the mechanically identical Dodge Caravan, Chrysler’s minivan sales exceeded 240,000 units in 2013.

Redesigned in 2011 along with the Dodge, the Town & Country gets its own grille and interior, but shares its V-6 drivetrain, steering, suspension, brakes, and safety cell with the Grand Caravan. Some Caravan options are standard on the Chrysler--must-haves like Bluetooth, a rearview camera, and Stow 'N Go seating, which puts both minivans on a flexibility pedestal in the segment. Stow 'N Go means the two rearmost rows of seats can be folded into the floor, turning the Town & Country into a tall package van in a matter of seconds.  

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