What's New for 2001
Chrysler's top-of-the-line minivans are all new for the 2001 model year, with new gewgaws such as a power liftgate and a removable center console with three power outlets.
Elegance and expressiveness. Grace and grandeur. Welcome to the Town & Country. Oh sure, you get the same fresh shape and interior space in a lower-priced Grand Caravan, 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. That's enough to attract a fair share of extra customers to the Chrysler end of the minivan spectrum. But be prepared to pay extra for all the goodies, as there's a widely divergent features list between the different trim levels.
For 2001, Chrysler will offer seven extended-wheelbase minivans: the front-wheel-drive Town & Country LX, Town & Country LXi, Town & Country Limited, and their all-wheel-drive counterparts, plus the new value-packed Town & Country EX. What sets them apart are the powerplants sitting under the hood, all of which have been refined from last year. The LX and LXi front-wheel-drivers come standard with a 3.3-liter V6 producing 180 horses (up from 158 last year), but the LXi crowd can opt for a 3.8-liter V6, which gets a 35-horsepower boost to 215, or they could just go ahead and buy the all-wheel-drive model in order to get the 3.8-liter V6 as standard equipment. Limited and EX models score the 3.8-liter as standard equipment.
Still with us? All varieties are hooked to a four-speed automatic transaxle, but only the front-wheel-drives wear four-wheel ABS with discs and drums, while the all-wheel-drives have ABS and discs at all corners. The LXi and EX have low-speed traction control, which the Limited gets as standard, but this is relevant only for the front-wheel-drive versions.
Get the base LX and you'll receive little more than a dressed-up Dodge Caravan with power windows and wood grain trim. Step up to the LXi and you'll be treated to a standard overhead trip computer, HomeLink, three-zone air conditioning, CD player, remote keyless entry, and power adjustable seats. Leather and heated seats are optional, as are power sliding doors and a power liftgate.
The EX trim comes with the power liftgate as standard equipment, along with 16-inch alloy wheels, a removable center console with power outlets and a roof rack.
At the top end is the most luxurious, most prestigious minivan available today, the Chrysler Town & Country Limited. For 2001, Town & Country Limited offers even more features, including dual power sliding doors; heated leather memory seats; a four-disc, in-dash CD audio system; a three-zone automatic temperature control system; and side airbags. Town & Country Limited aims to offer all of the comforts of a luxury car along with the convenience of a minivan. But you gotta pay to play, and there's still no stowable third-row seat, which the Venture, Odyssey and MPV all offer.
Safety has also been addressed with an all-new structure utilizing advanced crumple zones, dual-stage front airbags, the aforementioned side airbags, and energy-absorbing interior materials.
As the self-proclaimed king of all minivans, the upscale Town & Country is sure to make people think twice before renting a stretch limo. Oscar attendees can use the extra space to tote all those golden statuettes.