Full 2014 Chrysler Town and Country Review
What's New for 2014
The Chrysler Town & Country enters 2014 without any major changes.
At first blush, the 2014 Chrysler Town & Country seems like it should be the class of the minivan segment. Even the base Town & County Touring comes standard with a remarkable range of features, including a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, while higher-end models have enough goodies to rival those of luxury sedans. Although 2014 could be the current Town & Country's final year of production, the venerable Chrysler still checks most of the boxes for minivan shoppers. It's natural to wonder why this van doesn't get more respect.
But to get the full picture, you have to consider the current Town & Country's checkered past. Before the 2011 model year, when Chrysler unveiled extensive updates, both the Town & Country and its Dodge Grand Caravan sibling were frankly not competitive relative to the latest people-movers from Japan. And although those updates, including an interior overhaul and a new engine and transmission, restored the Chrysler twins to respectability, the van's basic design and structure remained intact. This explains why even the fancy Town & Country still goes about its business with a relative lack of refinement. There's only so much Chrysler's engineers could do with those pre-2011 bones.
For some minivan buyers, this might not matter all that much. All those standard and available luxuries are appealing, and the van's signature feature ? the Stow 'n Go seats ? are exceptionally handy when it's time for hauling cargo instead of passengers. Plus, the Town & Country's V6 engine offers a decent mix of power and fuel economy, even if it's not as well-mannered as we would like. To be clear, the Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna are better overall, and the Honda and Toyota also boast available eight-passenger seating. But despite its foibles, a 2014 Chrysler Town & Country may be worth considering at the right price.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Chrysler Town & Country minivan is offered in four trim levels: Touring, S, Touring-L and Limited.
The entry-level Touring model comes packed with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, automatic wipers, a roof rack, heated mirrors, dual power-sliding doors and a power tailgate. Inside you'll find an auto-dimming rearview mirror, triple-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), Stow 'n Go second-row seats, cruise control, full power accessories (including second-row power windows and third-row power vents), a conversation mirror, a rearview camera, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and a 115-volt AC power outlet.
Electronic features include a rear-seat DVD entertainment center with a flip-down screen above the second row, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice-command functionality, rear-seat USB charging ports and a six-speaker audio system with a 6.5-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, a USB/iPod interface, an auxiliary audio jack and 28 gigabytes of digital music storage.
The S adds black-painted 17-inch wheels; a darkened grille; a performance-tuned suspension; additional interior storage; black leather upholstery with unique cloth inserts; and a rear seat entertainment system with an HDMI input, a DVD/Blu-ray player and two flip-down screens (one each for the second and third rows).
The Touring-L lacks the S's sporty flourishes, performance suspension and standard DVD/Blu-ray system, but it adds rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection, auto-dimming outside mirrors, remote ignition, a power-adjustable front passenger seat and second- and third-row window shades.
The top-of-the-line Limited model goes all-out with xenon headlights, power-folding exterior mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, power-adjustable pedals, upgraded leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, driver memory functions, heated first- and second-row seats, a navigation system, a nine-speaker premium audio system and the S model's extra storage and Blu-ray entertainment system.
Some of the standard features found on the upper 2014 Chrysler Town & Country trim levels can be added to the lower trims via optional packages. Notably, the Limited's navigation system (which uses Garmin software) can be added to the others as an option; the Blu-ray system is optional on the Touring-L; and every Town & Country is eligible for the uConnect Web feature, which turns your minivan into a mobile WiFi hotspot. Other package options include a sunroof (Limited only), a towing package (with trailer sway control and an automatic load-leveling suspension that's also available via separate packages on Touring-L and Limited), fixed second-row seats (Touring-L and Limited) and a power-folding third-row seat (Touring-L and Limited only).
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Chrysler Town & Country is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 rated at 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The engine drives the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.
In Edmunds testing, the Town & Country accelerated from zero to 60 in 8.3 seconds, about a half-second slower than the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.
Standard on the 2014 Chrysler Town & Country are antilock disc brakes, stability control, active front head restraints, front seat side-impact airbags, a driver knee airbag and full-length side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is also standard. Blind-spot monitoring and a rear cross-path detection system are standard on the Touring-L and Limited. In Edmunds brake testing, the Town & Country came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet, an average distance for a minivan.
In government crash tests, the Town & Country received four out of five stars for overall protection, with four stars awarded for overall frontal-impact protection and five stars for overall side-impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the Town & Country earned the highest score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap, frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Town & Country's leather-lined cabin is nicely equipped no matter which model you choose. Although materials quality remains somewhat hit or miss, the vibe is undeniably a luxurious one -- a step up from the workaday ambience in other minivans.
Seat comfort is generally adequate in the Town & Country, although deeply reclined seatback cushions in the second and especially third rows can make for an odd seating posture. Headroom is sparse in the third row, too, though only adults are likely to notice.
One of the Town & Country's strongest selling points is the Stow 'n Go functionality of the second-row seats, allowing them to fold flat into the floor at the simple tug of a lever. The 60/40-split third-row seat also folds flat (power-folding capability is optional), and it can also be flipped backward to create handy chairs for tailgate parties. With all seats folded flat, the cargo area measures 143.8 cubic feet, a competitive figure for a minivan. With the seats in place, there are still a healthy 33 cubes behind the third row.
Edmunds.com editors of different heights have observed that the 2014 Chrysler Town & Country's pedals are mounted unusually close to the driver seat, and this, along with limited seat-track travel, restricts legroom and can make this minivan uncomfortable on longer trips. If you can find a good position behind the wheel, you'll find that the big Chrysler drives pretty well, with adequate handling for a minivan and good passing punch from the V6. There's ample engine noise under hard acceleration, however, and gearchanges from the six-speed automatic transmission can be abrupt and even rough at times.
We're not overly impressed with the ride quality, either. Compared with the competition, the Chrysler's ride isn't as composed or refined on rough roads. Finally, some drivers may find the steering effort on the heavy side, which is a bit incongruous in a family hauler.