• Sep 11, 2008


With moms now actually reading EPA fuel economy figures on the window sticker before trying out the dozen cup holders found in most modern minivans, Chrysler went back to the engineering lab and knocked out a few more miles per gallon for its 2009 minivan offerings. Bragging that no other minivan offers better fuel economy than the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan, the automaker is boasting EPA figures of 17 city / 25 highway for the minivans when equipped with the automaker's 4.0L six-cylinder engine and minivan-first 6-speed automatic. Considering that the original 1984 Chrysler Town and Country achieved 18 city / 21 highway with a 2.6L four-cylinder and three-speed transmission, we've clearly come a long way. To squeeze out the extra miles per gallon, Chrysler tweaked the large 4.0L V6 engine and then changed the ratios on the transmission. With a higher ratio first gear, and smaller steps between the new ratios, the minivans are quicker off the line and the engine doesn't loose as much speed between shifts. The result is a fuel economy improvement of about 8 percent or about 2 mpg. Now, if the engineers could just do something about that minivan stigma...

[Source: Chrysler]


PRESS RELEASE

Chrysler Improves Fuel Economy By 8 Percent on 2009 Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan

Auburn Hills, Mich., Sep 9, 2008 - New 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan models equipped with a 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine now deliver EPA fuel efficiency in the city of 17 mpg and 25 mpg on the highway, a label unbeaten among minivans.


"Chrysler and Dodge minivans continue to lead the segment," said Larry Lyons, Vice President – Car and Minivan Product Team, Chrysler LLC. "With an improved 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine and a minivan-first six-speed transmission, no other minivan has better fuel economy. We optimized both the engine and the transmission to give our customers the fuel economy they want, and the power and responsiveness they expect."
A best-in-class aerodynamic exterior encapsulates the optimized 4.0-liter single overhead cam (SOHC) aluminum V-6 engine that produces a powerful 251 hp (189kW) and 259 lb.-ft. (350 N·m) of torque. A re-tuned six-speed transmission and higher numerical first gear launches Chrysler and Dodge minivans more briskly than a comparable four- or five-speed transmission. The engine also provides smaller steps between ratios, which means the engine speed changes less with each shift, creating a smooth driving dynamic, with improved fuel economy. The end result is a fuel economy improvement to 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, or up to 8 percent when comparing the previous 2008 engine's fuel economy of 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.

Chrysler engineers have spent more than 25 years perfecting its award-winning minivan formula and have created more than 65 minivan-first features and more than 40 improved features from the previous generation minivans. Today, Chrysler and Dodge minivans command more than 40 percent of the U.S. minivan market segment.

New 2009 ChryslerTown & Country

The new 2009 Chrysler Town & Country offers a contemporary appearance, three different models, two distinct seating and storage systems, unmatched entertainment systems and safety features. The Chrysler Town & Country has 40 new and improved features over the previous generation, including a 4.0-liter V-6 engine mated to a minivan-first six-speed transmission and more standard equipment including Electronic Stability Program (ESP). The minivan-first Swivel 'n Go™ seating system offers second-row seats that swivel 180 degrees to face the third row with a removable table that installs between the two rows, covered storage bins in the floor and the second row, third-row uncovered storage, and fold-in-the-floor third-row seating. The 2009 Chrysler Town & Country received the U.S. Government's Five Star crash test rating in both front and side impacts. The U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the new 2009 Chrysler Town & Country LX is $26,500, which includes $770 destination.

New 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan

As the first to introduce the modern minivan in 1984, Dodge continues to revolutionize the family road trip. The new 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan has 40 new or improved features over the previous generation including the exclusive Swivel 'n Go™ seating system, turning the minivan into a "family room on wheels." The vehicle also offers an entertainment system with minivan-first dual DVD players and uconnect studios SIRIUS Backseat TV with family programming channels that include Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network Mobile. The 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan received the U.S. Government's Five Star crash test rating in both front and side impacts. The U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the new 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SE is $24,300, which includes $770 destination.
Dodge Brand

With a U.S. market share of 6.2 percent, Dodge is Chrysler LLC's best-selling brand and the sixth largest nameplate in the U.S. automotive market. In 2007, Dodge sold more than 1.3 million vehicles in the global market.
The Dodge brand's first crossover vehicle - the all-new 2009 Dodge Journey - arrived in dealer showrooms in the first quarter of 2008, and is now available outside North America in petrol and diesel powertrains in both left- and right-hand drive. The limited-edition 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 with a 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine that boasts 425 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque started hitting the streets this past spring. This fall, Dodge will add three more vehicles to its product lineup – the all-new 2009 Dodge Ram with game-changing exterior and interior design, innovations, best-in-class features and craftsmanship; the all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger, a modern interpretation of the American muscle car; and the 2009 Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid, a hybrid electric vehicle that combines fuel-efficient advance hybrid technology with full-size SUV performance and capability.

Last fall, America's best-selling minivan, the all-new 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan, was introduced with the newest innovation, the Swivel 'n Go™ seating system. In 2007, Dodge sold 33,500 commercial vehicles, a 285 percent increase over 2003 when the company returned to the commercial vehicle market and is now the sixth largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles sold in the U.S. Also in 2007, the Dodge Avenger and Nitro entered key volume segments outside North America, joining the Dodge Caliber, the highest sales volume vehicle for the company outside of North America.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 39 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Chrysler tweaked the large 2.0L V6 engine....."

      Tee hee!
      • 6 Years Ago
      "clearly we've come a long way."?? I hope that was sarcasm....I would have expected fuel efficiency to improve a lot more than from 18/21 to 17/25 in 20+ years!! Great, it now has more gears and a bigger engine...but its larger, heavier and just as fugly...20+ years of redesigns and "improvements" give us this...thats really...really sad...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Consider the old numbers were for a four cylinder Caravan and the original probably weighed almost half as much, and the new one is much roomier for both people and cargo, it's not too bad.
        If you look at a lot of the EPA numbers for minivans in the 1990s they really weren't rated for all that great of mileage, they're actually pretty close to current numbers. Especially nowadays since the current vans do have a lot more space and are quicker and safer.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Where the hell is my auto six speed for my Challenger. I am too lazy for that manual.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Chrysler tweaked the large 2.0L V6 engine..."

      Those humongous 2.0L V6s always eat gas. :-D

      "Considering that the original 1984 Chrysler Town and Country..."

      It's OK. We know you meant Plymouth Voyager (or Dodge Caravan). The Town & Country nameplate didn't appear on these minivans until the 1990 model year.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Why does anyone need a 200+ hp engine in a minivan, exactly?

      Seriously, start with a turbocharged I4 and go from there. I bet you start seeing big improvements almost right away.

      There's the real problem with fuel economy in vehicles today: they're starting big and trying to cut back. Why not start with something smaller (like BMW is doing, for instance) and just make it perform better? :P
        • 6 Years Ago
        I assume with the BMW comment you are talking about the 1 Series?

        The only reason the 1-Series is around is because the 3-Series has become so bloated. The 1-Series is actually bigger than a 3-Series of just a few generations ago. It continues that way up the line as well.

        Is that really the direction you want every other manufacturer to take?

        Then again, most already seem to be doing that as it is anyhow.
          • 6 Years Ago
          Actually, BMW has said that it's going to switch many of its cars -- even the 3 series -- to 4 cylinder engines. They're backing off on V6 production and massively backing off on V8 production. Basically every car company is figuring out that turbocharging and direct injection is going to get you more for fuel economy than fiddling with that giant V6. :/


      • 6 Years Ago
      You can put lipstick on a pig...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Lipstick on a pig?

        Hey this is not a political blog, keep your views to yourself.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Wow, that's a really creative, original comment cardudeATL ! Where did you come up with that one?!?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like the picture--I love how clean the 2008-present Chrysler minivans look compared to the bulbous mess that was the 01-07 model.

      But, "loose"? Seriously?
      • 6 Years Ago
      How about the Europe only 2.8 CRD (yes the same one from the Liberty from a few years back) that gets 6.7 litres / 100 K (not sure what that works out to for those non metric among us) on the highway. That's the same mileage as a civic !
      GM Ford and Chrysler need to offer these kids of solutions to North America instead of a measly 2 MPG, give me a break....

      Andrew

      P.S. if any of the bog 3 want to hire me to fix their wows just drop me an e-mail.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Frylock:

        That's a different engine than the Liberty had. The GC has a 3.0L Diesel V-6 vs. the 2.8L 4cyl Diesel the Liberty had.

        It's a far better engine though, much more powerful, far fewer emissions etc. But, I think it's overkill for the minivans, that minivan doesn't need almost 400ft-lbs of torque. Plus, I don't think it can be adapted to FWD architecture.

        Would be nice to see VW, the recent king of diesel cars, offer a TDI option. But, being that they are using Chrysler's engines in the Routan, I doubt it will happen.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Their World of Warcraft broke? That's Unpossible!
        • 6 Years Ago
        More proof that government intervention in the economy does nothing but hurt us.
        • 6 Years Ago
        As I'm sure you're aware, the 2.8L CRD does not and will not pass current US diesel emissions regulations. That's why it's no longer offered in the US-spec KJ Liberty.

        That's also why our diesel options are few and far between here in the States.

        Yes, they most definitely need to offer those kinds of solutions here, unfortunately right now they just can't.
      • 6 Years Ago
      One thing i never understood was how come minivans are not on the forefront of the whole hybrid movement. I bet people who buy minivans would be much more interested in MPG than someone buying Aspen or Durango.

      Is it because Stow N' Go would leave no space for batteries?


      Great move by Chrysler, a step in the right direction, but do not stop here, try to get 2-3 more MPGs out of this van by the end of 2009.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The unfortunate reason is that the US automakers tried to put the hybrid in their cash cow SUVs instead of the low margin minivans.

        It was honda/toyota that went big first with the small car hybrids. Sure they could've done a hybrid minivan, but why when SUVs were still selling like hotcakes. They learned the hard way with the 440h and Highlander, but the domestics didn't get it (see Escalade, Durange, Aspen hybrids, etc)

        Would be a good idea though, since most minivans are used for in town trips (store/school/shopping etc).
      • 6 Years Ago
      eke not eek
        • 6 Years Ago
        eek is the platform name up through... 98? (eek = extended K)

        play on words more than typo?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Eek!!! (I eked out an "eek.")
      • 6 Years Ago
      "... no other minivan has better fuel economy."

      That's interesting Chrysler, but the EPA doesn't agree with you. If you go to the EPA website and go to "Search by EPA Size Class," the EPA classifies the Mazda 5 as a minivan - and 21/27 trumps 17/25. The Mazda 5 manual is even better at 22/28.

      http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/byEPAclass.htm
      • 6 Years Ago
      2 questionable mpg improvement and a very boxy ugly & sad design = no sale.

      We could use an upgrade but will be holding on to our '00 for as long as we can.

      I have driven an '08 GC for a week and really hate the very uncomfortable 2 & 3rd row seating, dislike the lack of a flat cargo floor, that cabin seats need to be moved very/totally forward for stowing the second row, flimsy bin covers, ...

      I don't mind the column shifter at all and some of the other little improvements. Second row windows that open are a plus.

      Deep trunk is welcome in a way though I'd much rather have a full spare. A loaded van with trailer on vacation gets a flat ... hello?!

      For overall design: What were they thinking?!
      The two previous generations were kinda round, but far more aerodynamic and elegant. This just is a basic CAD exercise and cheap looking vehicle as a result. I can't stand the back end. I keep thinking Kia Sedona every time I see one.

      Maybe by the time we are finally forced to upgrade we will have some more competition and some TD & Hybrid models to pick from.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You sure you didn't drive a Commander? The GC doesn't have a third row...
        • 6 Years Ago
        GC could also stand for Grand Caravan you know.

        I do see how it could be confusing, but considering the current subject, a little common sense should give you the right answer.

        Entering into a converstion about minivans and not having a great knowledge of them can be kind of dangerous as the majority of your comemnts here will attest. It is entertaining though if nothing else.

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