Chrysler is the old-timer among minivans, having launched its first group way back in 1984. Since then, Chrysler and Dodge minivans have gone through a succession of generations, making many improvements but retaining the body style’s practical virtues. Long considered the vehicle of choice for suburban families, minivans have lost favor in recent years, and many former owners have turned to crossover SUVs. Still, for anyone who appreciates sensible motoring, with plenty of space for passengers and cargo, a minivan is hard to beat; and Chrysler’s long-lived luxury version remains among the top contenders.
Chrysler is celebrating the three-decade run of its minivans for 2014, marking the occasion with special 30th-anniversary editions of both the Town & Country and the closely related Dodge Grand Caravan. Among other extras, the 30th Anniversary Edition includes 17-inch aluminum wheels with polished faces, 30th Anniversary badges, and availability of Granite Crystal Pearl Coat paint.
Otherwise, Town & Country carries over to the 2014 model year unchanged. The last complete redesign was for the 2008 model year. The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country featured revised styling, a new engine, an upgraded suspension, and a reworked interior.
All 2014 Town & Country models have the same engine: a 3.6-liter V6 that generates 283 horsepower. This places Chrysler in line with the fine V6s offered by the competition, including the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 17/25 mpg City/Highway, on par for this category.
Today’s Town & Country sits lower than it did a few years back, and its suspension is stiffer, to make it more controlled. The ride is quite smooth, with no evidence of wallow or float. Town & Country S furthers this with a sports suspension.
Town & Country’s entertainment and seating options are among the best in the class, roughly matched by the related Dodge Grand Caravan. Stow ‘n Go seating with second-row bucket seats is standard. These seats tuck nicely into the floor, and when they’re up, the floor bins offer extra storage space. The rear seats fold into a well behind them, allowing a perfectly flat, voluminous rear storage area. With the third-row seats up, the storage well provides space for groceries and other small cargo. Many entertainment choices are offered, too, including rear-seat TV, DVD or DVD/Blu-Ray players, a powerful stereo and iPod connectivity. While the dashboard is mostly plastic, so are those in most rivals. Since the 2011 interior revisions, the look is more elegant, the materials are richer, the gauges look better, and soft-touch door tops are used.
The Town & Country is a great vehicle for families who need to haul people and cargo on a regular basis. It offers a lot of interior utility. It drives nice with controlled handling.