2008 Town & Country New Car Test Drive
Chrysler has redesigned the Town & Country minivan for 2008. In addition to the popular Stow 'n Go seating arrangement, the new Town & Country offers Swivel 'n Go, which includes second-row seats that rotate 180 degrees to face a removable table that stores in the floor. With these improvements, Chrysler bills the Town & Country as the ultimate family friendly vehicle, and we agree.
In addition to the new seating arrangement, the 2008 Chrysler Town & Country gets a new engine choice, a 4.0-liter V6 that is more competitive with the V6 offerings from other manufacturers. The 4.0 moves the T&C nicely, while the carryover 3.8-liter V6 is adequate for around-town duty. The base engine is a 3.3-liter V6. With the redesign, Chrysler has dropped the short wheelbase body style.
On the road, the Town & Country offers a smooth ride and an SUV-like view of the road. The Town & Country is a big vehicle, however, and it is not nimble. It is prone to body lean in turns and the ride can feel floaty at highway speeds. The Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest are more car-like and sportier.
The Town & Country's entertainment and seating options, however, are the best in the class, matched only by the Dodge Grand Caravan. The available Stow 'n Go seating tucks the second-row seats nicely into the floor, and when those seats are up, the floor bins offer storage space. The rear seats fold into the floor on all models, allowing a perfectly flat, voluminous rear storage area that can accommodate items such as couches, 4x8-foot sheets of plywood, and most any other item you might need to transport. In addition, there is a handy well behind the third row that offers lots of storage space even with the seats up.
The new Swivel 'n Go option will be great for family trips. The second row turns to face the third row with a table in between. It will help keep the kids entertained with games of checkers, a place to draw, or any number of other possibilities. And if that's not enough, the Town & Country offers single and dual screen rear DVD entertainment systems, plus newly available Sirius Backseat TV with three kid-friendly channels. The dual screens allow different viewing options for kids that can't agree on what to watch. And for the adults up front, Chrysler's new MyGIG hard drive radio stores up to 1600 songs.
Overall, the 2008 Town & Country does what a minivan should. It is a great vehicle for families that need to haul kids and cargo on a regular basis. And the seating and entertainment options will prevent a lot of the fights that inevitably accompany road trips. Pricing can exceed $40,000 with all the options, so carefully consider which you'll need and use before you buy.
The 2008 Chrysler Town & Country is available in three models, base LX, well-equipped Touring and top-of-the-line Limited. The LX model comes with a 175-hp 3.3-liter V6 engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The Touring model has a 197-hp 3.8-liter V6 and a six-speed automatic transmission. The Limited upgrades to a 251-hp 4.0-liter V6 with the six-speed automatic. All have front-wheel drive.
The LX ($22,460) comes with Yes Essentials cloth upholstery that Chrysler says is stain and odor resistant, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, front bucket seats, front center console, second-row bench seat, third-row stowable split folding bench seat, power front windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo, conversation mirror, and P225/65R16 tires on steel wheels with wheelcovers.
The Touring model ($27,700) adds tri-zone manual climate control with rear controls, leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls, two additional speakers, cruise control, eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, power adjustable pedals, Stow 'n Go second-row stowable bucket seats, overhead storage bins, removable rechargeable flashlight, heated exterior mirrors, power rear windows, power sliding rear doors, power rear liftgate, trip computer, universal garage door opener, automatic headlights, fog lights, roof rack, and aluminum wheels.
The Limited model ($35,670) gets tri-zone automatic climate control with rear controls; interior air filter; leather upholstery; eight-way power passenger seat; heated first- and second-row seats; memory for the driver seat, mirrors, and pedals; 506-watt audio system with 10 speakers; Chrysler's MyGIG Multimedia Entertainment System with 20-gigabyte hard drive; Sirius satellite radio; removable, sliding front console; rear obstacle detection; remote engine starting; auto-dimming driver's side and rearview mirrors; outside-temperature indicator, compass; second- and third-row sunshades; xenon headlights; and P225/65R17 tires on chromed aluminum wheels.
Options start with Chrysler's new Swivel 'n Go Seating group ($495), which includes second-row bucket seats that swivel and a removable table that can be installed between the second and third seating rows. Also offered are Chrysler's MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment system ($1,300), which adds a rearview camera, Sirius satellite radio, Chrysler's UConnect hands-free cell phone link and a navigation system with real time traffic and voice activation to the MyGIG Multimedia Entertainment System. Three rear DVD entertainment systems are offered. The LX model is available with Entertainment Group 1 ($2,120), which has a single rear DVD screen, and also comes with Sirius satellite radio, a rearview camera, and the MyGIG Multimedia Entertainment system with 20-gigabyte hard drive. Entertainment Group 2 ($2,395) for the Touring model has the same equipment, plus a second rear video screen and a second rear DVD player. Entertainment Group 3 ($2,020) for the Limited model has two rear video screens with two DVD players, plus Sirius Backseat TV. A Trailer Tow Group ($795) includes heavy-duty engine cooling, trailer wiring harness, and load-leveling rear air suspension. Stand-alone options include two integrated child seats ($225) for the second row, UConnect cell phone link ($275), sunroof ($895), a power-folding third-row seat ($595), and Sirius Backseat TV ($495). Several of the higher line standard features are also available for the lower line models.
Safety equipment includes dual-stage front airbags, head-protecting curtain side airbags, tire-pressure monitor, ABS with brake assist, traction control, and electronic stability control. Optional safety features include rear park assist and a rearview camera.
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