2014 Chrysler Town & Country Touring L Minivan (3.6L V6 FFV 6-speed Automatic)
Driven On 2/19/2014
From the creators of the contemporary minivan, the Chrysler Town & Country offers all the utility, convenience and features you expect in a modern people-mover. Though it lacks refinement in some areas, the Town & Country offers the most versatile interior in the segment. It deserves a look.
PerformanceDynamically the front-wheel-drive T&C is merely adequate. Though it does little that feels truly wrong from behind the wheel, it lacks refinement in its powertrain and suspension tuning relative to the Japanese competition.
At 8.1 sec. to 60 mph, the T&C lags just slightly behind rivals, though the 283-hp 3.6-liter V6 feels eager enough. The 6-sp automatic's manual gear selection, though awkward, is a nice feature.
The T&C's stopping distance of 120 feet from 60-0 is far better than its competitors. Pedal feel and response were awkward during panic stops, but not a problem in normal driving.
There's enough information available through the wheel to prudently guide this van. Weight and feedback, though not substantial, are appropriately on the lighter side.
Our instrumented testing showed the T&C to be on par with its competition. It's easy to handle, but far from what we'd call nimble. The stability control system can be intrusive.
We observed more gear hunting from the six-speed automatic transmission than what we're used to these days. Gas pedal is a bit jumpy, too, but these are minor nitpicks you can drive around.
At 3,600 pounds, the T&C's towing capacity is average for minivans. Light towing is expected in these vehicles.
ComfortThis is a big, plush minivan with enough comfort, amenities and handy features to easily tackle all-day drives with the family.
Seat comfort, especially in the first two rows, is excellent. The third row's seat bottom is tilted (high front, low rear) at an angle that might bother some occupants. Space is ample in every row.
Though it leans toward comfort, the T&C's suspension tuning proved awkward in some situations. For instance, large road irregularities revealed inadequate bump absorption from the rear suspension.
Road and wind noise are at segment standards. But the T&C's occasional rattle or accessory sound aren't present in the competition. Full-throttle engine noise is more obtrusive, too.
InteriorInterior flexibility is the T&C's biggest strength. Space, utility, storage and features are excellent in this van and are, in many cases, segment leading.
Primary controls, with the exception of the bizarre dash-mounted shifter, are all easy to use and reach. Secondary controls, too, fall readily at hand. Most storage and utility functions are intuitive.
The first and second rows offer average ingress/egress. Third-row access is very good thanks to second-row seats that fold, tumble and slide inward. Overall, it's hard to do better than this.
The T&C uses its space exceptionally well. Small-item storage, from the dual gloveboxes to the multiple bins, is abundant. The removable center console is also a nice feature and there's no shortage of cupholders.
Overall visibility is good, but rear-quarter views are marginally inhibited by the third-row headrests, though they can be flipped down.
Stow 'N Go second- and third-row seats are segment leading. Power operation of the third row is nice and there's massive storage in the second-row floor. Grocery-bag hooks are abundant.
ValueThe T&C's value proposition is mixed relative to others in the segment. Though its utility is unmatched, its quality, in some areas, could be better.
Build Quality (vs. $)
There's less attention to quality details in the T&C than in the Japanese competition. Some materials look/feel nice, but they're matched with large swaths of plastic trim. We observed some rattles.
A mix of highs and lows. The low-resolution touchscreen is dated. Our $38,000 tester lacked navigation but included heated first/second-row seats, a heated wheel and a dual-screen Blu-Ray DVD player.
Pricing for the T&C begins at $31,760, with the Touring L tested here starting at $35,160. If utility and features are your highest priorities, it ranks well. If quality is most important, look elsewhere.
At 20 mpg Combined (17 City/25 Highway), the T&C isn't the most efficient offering in the segment. We saw 21.4 mpg on our 116-mile highway-heavy evaluation loop.
Basic warranty for 3 years/36,000 miles with the powertrain and rust coverage at 5 years/100,000 miles. With the exception of the dated Kia Sedona, this is the best powertrain warranty in the segment.
Roadside assistance for the first 5 years/100,000 miles. Chrysler's reputation for quality, though improving, isn?t stellar. And the T&C has many complicated interior systems.
Fun To DriveFew minivans are truly fun to drive. Rather, the fun comes in their massive utility. The T&C has that portion of the equation covered easily.
Not many aspects of the T&C's driving experience are rewarding, but that's true of all minivans. Still, this is a comfortable and highly functional van. More so than most others.
Like a good pocket knife, the T&C is going to meet many needs with its vast swath of utility. Otherwise, it lacks the character of its competitors.
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