What's New for 2010
For 2010, the Chrysler Town & Country adopts active front-seat headrests and midway through the year, a new Touring Plus trim debuts.
The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country is an example of something that looks great on paper but is a letdown when experienced over some time in the real world. Before we took ownership of the Town & Country's corporate twin, the Dodge Grand Caravan, for a yearlong test of a 2008 model, we had high hopes for this luxury-themed minivan. After all, it offered many impressive, family-friendly features including a powerful 4.0-liter V6 engine, versatile seating and cargo configurations, and a comfortable interior. Although we thought some of the cabin's materials were lackluster, we felt we could live with that, given the van's other strong points.
However, our happy tune quickly changed to one of disappointment. Unless the Town & Country's fancy wood accents and analog clock somehow make a miraculous difference, both vans have gone from being top choices to resting at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to overall quality. In that long-term Grand Caravan we encountered a number of problems, ranging from a finicky radio and passenger sliding door to constant creaks and rattles. The build quality was disappointing as well, with one instance of the rear bumper plastic warping to the point where we couldn't open the tailgate. It wasn't just us, either; our consumer reviews of the Grand Caravan reveal many similar complaints.
As you've figured out by now, the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country is not exactly a paragon of the automaker's art. Yes, it has a number of unique and useful features such as Swivel 'n Go seating, Stow 'n Go seating, a dual-screen rear entertainment system and even Sirius Satellite TV. But sadly, in our opinion, none of that is enough to overcome its subpar build and materials quality. Competing minivans like the Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona and Toyota Sienna and full-size crossovers like the Buick Enclave and Ford Flex would be much better choices for a family-oriented hauler.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country minivan is available in three trim levels: LX, Touring, Touring Plus and Limited.
The base LX comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, full power accessories (including second-row power windows and third-row power vents), front and rear air-conditioning, cruise control, Stow 'n Go second-row seating, stain-repellent cloth upholstery, a tilt steering wheel, a flip-down kiddie mirror and a CD/MP3 player. The optional Power Convenience Group adds power-sliding doors, a power tailgate and a power driver seat. The LX's optional Entertainment Group 1 comes with a rear-seat entertainment system with two wireless headphones, satellite radio and a touchscreen stereo interface with 30GB of digital music storage.
The T&C Touring comes standard with the Power Convenience Group as well as a larger V6 engine, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, foglamps, power-adjustable pedals, overhead storage bins with mood lighting, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and satellite radio. The Family Value Group adds second- and third-row sunshades, a sliding front center console and remote ignition. The Media Center 430 package adds a touchscreen stereo interface, digital music storage and a rearview camera. The Touring's Entertainment Group 2 adds a third-row screen (swivels with Swivel 'n Go) to the Entertainment Group 1. Also optional are heated first- and second-row seats. The Touring Plus includes all this optional equipment standard.
The Premium Group available on both Touring and Touring Plus adds 17-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, automatic climate control, an iPod control, leather upholstery, a power-folding third-row seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and Bluetooth.
The T&C Limited is equipped like the Touring Plus with the Premium Group, but doesn't include the Entertainment Group items. You will, however, get 17-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels, xenon headlights, rear parking assist, an auto-dimming driver mirror, driver memory settings, rear climate control and a nine-speaker stereo. The Limited's optional Entertainment Group 3 includes Sirius Backseat TV in the Limited. This is a stand-alone option on the Touring trims.
Optional on all trims is an upgraded Media Center package that includes (if not already equipped) a touchscreen interface, navigation, real-time traffic, rearview camera, auto-dimming mirror, Bluetooth, iPod interface, digital music storage and satellite radio. Also optional on all trim levels is Swivel 'n Go seating with a fold-away table. If equipped with the latter, second-row integrated child booster seats are optional. Optional on all but the LX is a sunroof, and the power-folding third-row seat is a stand-alone option on the Limited.
Powertrains and Performance
The front-wheel-drive 2010 Chrysler Town & Country can be equipped with one of three V6 engine choices. The base LX trim gets a 3.3-liter V6 good for 175 horsepower and 205 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic is standard. Fuel economy for this engine is disappointing, given its meager output -- 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.
The Touring and Touring Plus come standard with a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 197 hp and 230 lb-ft of torque. Optional on the Touring Plus and standard on the Limited is a more modern 4.0-liter V6 making 251 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. Both of these engines come with a six-speed automatic. Despite their differing power outputs, they also get the same fuel economy at 16 city/23 highway and 18 mpg combined. The T&C Limited goes from zero to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds, which is rather quick for a minivan.
The 2010 Town & Country comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, active front-seat headrests and full-length side curtain airbags. Optional on all trims are second-row integrated child booster seats (requires Swivel 'n Go). Optional on all but the LX is the Security Group, which adds rear parking sensors (standard on Limited), a blind-spot monitoring system and Rear Cross Path. The latter feature aids drivers any time the vehicle is in reverse by warning of cross traffic in both directions to prevent the minivan from being T-boned.
In government crash tests, the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country scored a perfect five stars in all frontal- and side-impact categories. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Grand Caravan also scored the best possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Town & Country's design theme is rather utilitarian, although dollops of faux wood trim, chrome accents and an analog clock brighten things up. Audio controls are mounted up high for easy use and viewing (although the optional touchscreen and its menus can be cumbersome). The climate controls are located a little too low on the center stack and require a downward glance away from the road. As indicated earlier, the Town & Country's materials quality is worse than all its competitors, while build quality is shoddy at best.
Like all minivans, the Town & Country has its share of innovative convenience features. The most notable are the various second-row seating choices. Standard Stow 'n Go features a pair of captain's chairs that disappear into the floor (as does the third row) creating a perfectly flat load floor with no hernia-causing seat lifts. Unfortunately, due to their short seatbacks, the Stow 'n Go chairs aren't as comfortable as conventional chairs. Those offered by the Swivel 'n Go system feature higher seatbacks and are thus more comfortable. As the name suggests, these seats can be spun around to create a trainlike face-to-face traveling experience for second- and third-row passengers. Fittingly, a pole-mounted table can be placed between both rows with Swivel 'n Go.
Other innovative features include two rear video screens (one swivels), a power-folding third row, under-floor storage, Sirius Satellite TV, ambient cabin lighting, a pop-out cargo-area-mounted flashlight and a driver-door umbrella holder. With all the rear seating flat, the T&C can carry up to 140 cubic feet of cargo.
Minivans are not intended to be sports cars, so the T&C's handling is about what you'd expect and midpack for the segment. This Chrysler is easy to drive and park, but the overall driving experience hardly matches that of the highly refined Honda Odyssey. The interior remains quiet even at highway speeds, and the 4.0-liter V6 makes the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country Limited one of the swiftest minivans available. The 3.8-liter V6 delivers adequate, if not spectacular, acceleration. The 3.3-liter engine, however, is a slug and doesn't provide any significant fuel economy benefit.