2006 Town & Country New Car Test Drive
The Chrysler Town & Country is a luxurious minivan with an innovative seating design that adds greatly to its versatility. The Town & Country combines the practical features of the Dodge Caravan with a higher level of equipment and style. A choice of models is available, ranging from a short-wheelbase Voyager replacement to the leather-upholstered Limited, but all are powered by smooth, responsive V6 engines and all ride smoothly and quietly.
The flagship Town & Country Limited is in many ways a luxury vehicle, and it is in many ways a very intelligent choice of vehicle. The Limited model comes loaded with leather upholstery, GPS navigation, dual power sliding doors, and a power rear liftgate. DVD entertainment, hands-free communication and other convenience features are available by checking options boxes.
Standard in all but the base model is a system of second- and third-row seats called Stow'n Go that fold flush with the floor, perfectly flat, opening up more than 160 cubic feet of cargo space. That's substantially more than what you'll find in any sport-utility vehicle, including the behemoth Chevrolet Suburban. You don't even have to remove the headrests to quickly and easily fold the seats flat and out of sight.
Open the seats up, and they provide comfortable seating for up to seven people. Convenience and safety features abound in the Town & Country cabin. Storage bins and cargo nets assist with carrying groceries. Curtain air bags designed to provide full-length coverage for all three rows of seats are available, though they're not standard equipment.
Stow'n Go and other features and general competence make the Touring and Limited models a solid choice among the newer designs from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, GM and Ford. The Town & Country is certainly a more sensible choice than a sport-utility for moving people around. Properly equipped, it can tow up to 3800 pounds, enough for personal watercraft, an ATV, a light boat and other small toys.
After benefiting from significant revisions for 2005, the Town & Country forges into the 2006 model year with few changes.
The 2006 Chrysler Town & Country comes in four trim levels: base, LX, Touring, and Limited. Like all modern minivans, the Town & Country is built on a long wheelbase (119.3 inches, to be exact). The exception to this is the base model, a value-oriented variant built on a shorter wheelbase (113.3 inches).
Base and LX models are powered by a 3.3-liter V6 rated at 180 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque, while a more powerful 3.8-liter V6 comes standard on Touring and Limited models that develops 205 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. All models come with a four-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is not available.
The base model ($20,925) was designed to fill a void in dealership parking lots left by the now long-gone Plymouth Voyager, but it comes equipped with air conditioning, power windows, cruise control, tilt steering column, remote keyless entry, four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo, tire pressure monitor, 15-inch steel wheels and dual manual sliding doors. Upholstery is cloth. The clever Stow 'n Go seats are not included, however, and the second-row seat is a bench. Anti-lock brakes cost extra; rear drum brakes are standard.
The LX ($25,275) is built on the same wheelbase as the upmarket Touring and Limited, but is equipped similarly to the base model. Think of it as the long-wheelbase Voyager. The LX does, however, come with Stow 'n Go seating, heated power mirrors, four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS, and upgraded interior and exterior trim.
The Touring model ($27,755) is a Town & Country done proper, with dual power sliding doors, a power liftgate, three-zone manual temperature control, six-speaker AM/FM/CD cassette audio, upgraded interior trim, eight-way power driver's seat, improved interior lighting, overhead console with trip computer, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, universal garage door opener, roof rack, 16-inch aluminum wheels, and traction control.
The Limited model ($35,630) is the flagship, with leather-trimmed upholstery, heated seats, GPS navigation, automatic climate control with air filtering, 6CD/DVD changer with MP3 playback, a removable center console, fog lights, automatic headlamps, Park Assist, power adjustable pedals, and a memory function for the radio, driver's seat and mirrors.
Lots of options and packages should ensure buyers will be able to come up with the combination of features they want. For example, leather upholstery is available for the Touring model and comes packaged with three-zone automatic temperature control, heated seats with power for driver and passenger, and the deluxe overhead console ($2,100).
Side-curtain airbags are optional on all models, but we strongly recommend them as they are designed to provide head protection in a side impact or rollover; head injuries are the leading cause of death in side-impact collisions.
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