What's New for 1999
The top-of-the-line trim level is now called "Limited," and it offers more standard equipment (hence less options) than any other Chrysler minivan. Leather upgrades, steering wheel-mounted stereo controls and a center armrest in the rear bench are new this year, and the exterior features such details as 16-inch 15-spoke chrome wheels and chrome door handles.
Elegance and expressiveness. Grace and grandeur. These are the words that describe Chrysler's posh rendition of the Dodge/Plymouth minivan.
Oh sure, you get the same fresh shape and interior space in a lower-priced Caravan or Voyager, the same car-like ride and handling qualities, the same practical virtues as a people and cargo hauler. What Chrysler adds to that mix is luxury, and plenty of it , and that's enough to attract a fair share of extra customers to the Chrysler end of the minivan spectrum. In fact, Chrysler has sold almost 300,000 of these luxury vans since 1990.
In the past, Town and Country customers have had three distinct models to choose from: the LX model, an "ultimate" LXi that promises features ordinarily found only on luxury cars, and the short-wheelbase (113.3-inch) SX version. This year, the highest trim level is called "Limited." Don't let the name fool you: they'll make enough to go around.
All-wheel drive is available on the TandC. Since these minivans only have five inches of ground clearance, they aren't meant for serious off-road adventure. They do, however, give drivers the security of knowing that their traction is improved when driving on slippery surfaces. They also make piloting the extended-length minivans a little more fun by evening out the weight distribution and providing some rear-wheel motive power. Chrysler's AWD minivans also replace the standard rear drum brakes with discs.
All Chrysler minivans feature seven-passenger seating, with an "Easy-Out" rollaway back seat. A recently revised 3.8-liter V-6 offers 180 horsepower and 240 foot-pounds of torque. This engine is standard in the Limited, and optional in its mates, which otherwise come with a 3.3-liter engine. Both engines drive a four-speed automatic transmission, which delivers neat and smooth gearchanges. Minivanners who do lots of highway cruising and Interstate hopping might be happier with the bigger engine, which lets the TandC pass and merge into traffic with greater confidence and briskness.
Extras in the new Limited edition include dual zone control heat/air conditioning, eight-way leather trimmed driver and passenger seats, plus a memory for both the seats and outside mirrors. A body-colored roof rack is standard on the Limited, and optional on the others. If you want luxury and spaciousness, but you just can't abide the thought of a boxy Volvo wagon or lethargic Audi A6, drop by your local Chrysler store and try the Town and Country on for size.