2014 Town & Country New Car Test Drive
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.
The 2014 Chrysler Town & Country comes in four models: Touring, Touring L, S, and Limited. All use a 283-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine that drives the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Town & Country Touring ($30,765) is well equipped with leather-trimmed upholstery; air conditioning with three-zone automatic climate control and an interior air filter; cruise control; a tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; 8-way power driver's seat with lumbar adjustment; Stow ‘n Go second-row bucket seats with underfloor storage; split-folding third-row seat; power-sliding side doors; power locks and windows; power heated mirrors; remote keyless entry; auto-dimming rearview mirror; rearview backup camera; 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/DVD/MP3 stereo; SiriusXM satellite radio with 12-month subscription; auxiliary audio input jack; 6.5-inch touch screen; 30-gigabyte hard drive with music storage; power rear quarter windows; universal garage door opener; 115-volt power outlet; roof rack with stow-in-place crossbars; power rear liftgate; fog lights; automatic SmartBeam headlights; and P225/65R17 tires on alloy wheels.
Town & Country Touring L ($33,995) adds an 8-way power front passenger seat, remote starting, second- and third-row manual sunshades, power folding exterior mirrors, auto-dimming driver's side mirror with in-glass turn signals, blind-spot assist, parking assist, security alarm, and rain-sensing wipers.
Town & Country 30th Anniversary Edition ($34,165) is similar to Touring L, but adds special fender badges, black Alcantara suede seat-upholstery inserts with Nappa leather bolsters, third-row power folding seats, a driver's convenience group, and 17-inch aluminum wheels with polished faces.
Town & Country S ($31,195) includes heavy-duty all-disc brakes, a sport performance suspension, black chromed grille, automatic headlights, manual-folding mirrors, and 225/65R17 tires on polished aluminum wheels with black pockets.
Town & Country Limited ($41,295) is loaded, featuring such extras as Nappa leather upholstery with suede inserts; a navigation system; a 506-watt, 9-speaker audio system; USB port; keyless access and starting; high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights; heated front and second-row seats; heated steering wheel; and an auto-dimming mirror with memory in-glass turn signals.
Option packages include a Trailer Tow Group ($895 or $995) with heavy-duty engine and transmission cooling, load-leveling rear suspension, and a trailer wiring harness; Entertainment Package for Touring L ($995) with a second-row 9-inch DVD/Blu-Ray entertainment screen, USB port, 115V outlet and wireless headphones; and Media Center 430N ($895 or $995) with Garmin navigation, SiriusXM Travel Link, a 40GB hard disc drive, CD/DVD/HDD/NAV radio, and 6.5-inch touch screen. Entertainment Group 1 ($1,300) is specifically for the S model. A Driver Convenience Group ($430) for Touring L includes heated first- and second-row seats, power-adjustable pedals, a heated steering wheel, and remote proximity keyless entry. A Safety Package for Touring and S ($1,695) includes rear park assist, rain-sensitive wipers, automatic high-beam control, a tire-pressure display, and Blind-Spot/Rear Cross Path detection.
Standalone options include a sunroof for Touring L ($995), second-row bucket seats ($320), load-leveling rear suspension ($290), UConnect Web ($650), and second- and third-row sunshades ($100).
Safety equipment includes dual-stage front airbags, head-protecting curtain side airbags, front side airbags, active front head restraints, ABS with brake assist, traction control, tire-pressure monitor, traction control, a rearview camera, and electronic stability control. Also available are rear park assist, Blind-Spot Monitoring, and Rear Cross Path detection.
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