2010 Town & Country New Car Test Drive
Minivans offer roominess, convenience, versatility and fuel efficiency. There is no more sensible choice for a family with more than a couple of children. Chrysler was the first into this market and, long after other manufacturers have left it, Chrysler remains, with the Chrysler Town & Country and the Dodge Caravan. Of the two, the Town & Country is generally more upscale, and Chrysler bills the Town & Country as the ultimate family friendly vehicle.
The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country is offered with three V6 engines. The base engine, a 3.3-liter V6 or 175 horsepower, doesn't offer much in the way of either power or fuel efficiency. The 3.8-liter V6, with 197 horsepower, is adequate for around-town duty, but the best choice is the available 4.0-liter V6 and its 251 horsepower. This engine is more competitive with the V6 offerings from other manufacturers, and it moves the T&C nicely.
The Chrysler Town & Country offers a smooth ride and an SUV-like view of the road. But it's a big vehicle, however, and is not nimble. There will be noticeable body lean in the turns and the ride can feel floaty at highway speeds. The Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest are more car-like and sportier to drive.
On the other hand, the Town & Country's entertainment and seating options are the best in the class, matched only by the Dodge Grand Caravan. The standard 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. In addition, there is a handy well behind the third row that offers lots of storage space even with the seats up. The Swivel 'n Go option is great for family trips; the second row turns to face the third row with a table in between, making it an activity center for the kids. There are also many entertainment choices.
For 2010 there are only minimal changes: The driver and front passenger seats have active head restraints, a rear obstacle detection display is in the Vehicle Information Center, and the 4.0-liter V6 has a revised final-drive ratio which improves fuel economy.
The Town & Country is a great vehicle for families that need to haul kids and cargo on a regular basis. It's also easier to drive and maneuver than a full-size SUV, will fit in the garage, and is reasonably fuel-efficient.
The 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. Standard on the Limited, and optionally available on the Touring, is a 251-hp 4.0-liter V6 with the six-speed automatic. All have front-wheel drive.
The LX ($25,175) comes with cloth upholstery, air conditioning with three-zone manual control, tilt steering wheel, front center console, stowable third-row split folding bench seat, power first- and second-row windows, power door locks, power exterior mirrors, remote keyless entry, four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo, conversation mirror, and P225/65R16 tires on steel wheels with wheel covers.
The Touring model ($28,425) adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls, two additional speakers, Sirius satellite radio, eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, power-adjustable pedals, overhead storage bins, 115-volt power outlet, heated exterior mirrors, power sliding rear doors, power rear liftgate, universal garage door opener, automatic headlights, fog lights, roof rack, and aluminum wheels.
The Limited model ($35,060) 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 UConnect Tunes 30-gigabyte hard-drive radio; removable, sliding front console; rear park assist; remote engine starting; auto-dimming driver's side and rearview mirrors; second- and third-row sunshades; mirror-mounted turn signals; rain-sensing wipers; rearview camera; xenon SmartBeam self-dimming headlights; and P225/65R17 tires on chromed aluminum wheels.
Options include Chrysler's Flexible Seating (Swivel 'n Go) 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 UConnect Multimedia Suite ($1,300) with a rearview camera, Chrysler's UConnect Phone hands-free cell phone link and Chrysler's UConnect GPS, which adds a navigation system with real-time traffic and voice activation to the UConnect Tunes 30-gigabyte hard-drive radio. 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 a 115-volt power outlet. Entertainment Group 2 ($2,200) for the Touring model has two 9-inch rear video screens, UConnect Tunes hard-drive radio and a rearview camera. 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 ($600) 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, a sunroof ($995), 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 as options.
The Limited is available with a Safety Group that includes Rear Cross Path and Blind Spot Alert systems, along with UConnect phone, an iPod control, and auto-dimming mirror ($825). The Touring's Security Group includes those features, plus mirror-mounted turn signals and rear park assist ($1,445).
Standard safety equipment for all models includes dual-stage front airbags, head-protecting curtain side airbags, ABS with brake assist, traction control, tire-pressure monitor, traction control, and electronic stability control.