This is a great van to have for the family vacation or even for just an extended ride somewhere. As an everyday driver, this van lacks good fuel economy and has problems that seem to be very common with other 1996 Chrysler T&C's.
This car no doubt is the best car I've owned in 40 years with the exception of a 63 Dodge 440 with a 318cid. I bought this van used with 70,000 miles and I've put another 148,000 more miles on it before it was totaled in a car wreck. I've used this vehicle for sales trips, hauling goats in the back, hauling animal feed, groceries, pulling a camper to the east coast and back, trip to Florida, daily half hour commutes, pulling a fishing boat to remote lakes and getting the rig home again, hauled 4 X 8 sheets of building materials, etc. It had already had its tranny replaced at 40,000 miles and I never had two minutes trouble with mine! What a great vehicle--the best I've ever owned.
I never considered a mini-van until I test drove one. Now I am spoiled to the ride. I paid $6,500 cash for it. Most problems were normal wear, tear & maintenance. I have only had to replace the AC compressor, the radiator and the fuel pump during the time I've had it. Currently I have a minor transmission leak and a slow oil leak as well as the dash lights on the radio & AC controls blink until after driving for a while. I recently experienced a problem with the ignition getting hot. Not sure what that is about. I'll have to get it checked out. Overall, it has been a great vehicle. My van will still ride like new after I fix what's wrong & I'll get another 100,000 miles or so.
We bought this vehicle because we had baby on the way and wanted a larger space. The sliding doors easily accomadate the ease of installing and removing the baby seat. The captains passenger seats are easy to remove, but that rear bench is a killer. We have intermittant trouble w/ the wipers as well (seems mostly to occur at cold temps). This is true with the transmission as well. Transmission does not seem to engage in "Lock Up" in colder temps. "Lock Up" directly locks the transmission to the engine crankshaft via the torque converter to reduce slippage and increase MPG. HVAC only works on high fan speed. All of these are electrical in nature.
I never thought such a lemon could exist. I am on my 3rd transmission, little did I know Chrysler's 4sp automatic only lasts about 60k miles. I found out what a crappy tranny it is from 5 co-workers with Chrysler minivans, some of whom were on their 5th transmission. Little wonder that Daimler changed the trans when they controled the company. If you doubt me, check the internet for people with Chrysler minivan trans problems. Edmunds should be ashamed to rate the transmission problems as minimal.