2012 Town & Country New Car Test Drive
The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country features revised styling, a new engine, an upgraded suspension, and a reworked interior. This represents an extensive mid-cycle update for the 2011 models, improving them substantially over previous models.
The 2011 Town & Country lineup offers just one engine, replacing three different V6s offered for 2010. The new engine is a 3.6-liter V6 with considerably more power. This brings Chrysler in line with the fine V6s offered by the competition. Fuel economy remains steady with an EPA-estimated 17/25 mpg City/Highway.
The 2011 Town & Country sits lower than before and its suspension has been stiffened to make it more controlled. The ride is still quite smooth, and the wallow and float we noted on the previous model is gone.
The interior is improved for 2011. While the dashboard is still mostly plastic, so are those in most rivals, including the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. The look is more elegant, the materials are richer, the gauges look better, and there are now soft-touch door tops.
Town & Country's entertainment and seating options are the best in the class, matched only by the Dodge Grand Caravan. Improved Stow 'n Go seating with better second-row seats is standard. These seats tuck nicely into the floor, and when they're up, the floor bins offer storage space. The rear seats fold into a well behind them, allowing a perfectly flat, voluminous rear storage area. With the third row up storage well offers space for groceries and other small cargo. There are also many entertainment choices, including rear TV, two DVD players, a powerful stereo and iPod connectivity. A couple of features have been dropped for 2011, notably FloTV and Swivel 'n Go seating.
The Town & Country is a great vehicle for families that need to haul kids and cargo on a regular basis. It has always offered a lot of interior utility, but the 2011 changes make the environment more pleasant, the handling more controlled, and power and fuel economy better. It is priced higher, though, so customers looking for more affordable alternatives should look to the Dodge Grand Caravan or other worthy competitors.
The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country is available in three models, Touring, Touring L 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 ($30,160) is well equipped with cloth upholstery, air conditioning with three-zone automatic climate control, interior air filter, cruise control, 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, power windows, power heated mirrors, remote keyless entry, power adjustable pedals, auto-dimming rearview mirror, conversation mirror, trip computer, six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, Sirius satellite radio with 12-month subscription, auxiliary audio input jack, 6.5-inch touchscreen, 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, removable/rechargeable flashlight, rain-sensing wipers, fog lights, automatic SmartBeam headlights, and P235/60R16 tires on alloy wheels.
Town & Country Touring L ($32,160) adds leather upholstery, 8-way power front passenger seat, heated front seats, remote starting, second- and third-row manual sunshades, power folding exterior mirrors, auto-dimming driver's side mirror, security alarm, and P225/65R17 tires.
Town & Country Limited ($38,660) is loaded with Nappa leather upholstery with suede inserts, Garman navigation system, 506-watt, 9-speaker audio system, USB port, keyless access and starting, HID headlights, UConnect hands-free phone, Bluetooth telephony, heated second-row seats, heated steering wheel, auto-dimming mirror with in-glass turn signals.
Option packages include a Trailer Tow Group ($620) with heavy duty engine and transmission cooling, load-leveling rear suspension, and a trailer wiring harness; Mopar Exterior Appearance Group ($940) with body-color running boards, bright door sills, premium floor mats, and splash guards; Entertainment Group 1 ($1,300) with a second-row 9-inch DVD entertainment screen and wireless headphones; and Entertainment Group 2 ($2000) with second- and third-row DVD screens and wireless headphones.
Standalone options include keyless access and starting ($295), Garman navigation system ($695), load-leveling rear suspension ($290), remote starting with an alarm ($395), second- and third-row sunshades with heated second-row seats ($595), body-color running boards ($700), Sirius Backseat TV ($525), power-folding third-row seat ($595) and a sunroof ($995).
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, and electronic stability control. It also adds rear park assist, Blind-Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path, and a rearview camera.