30 years ago, Chrysler introduced the minivan to the public. They were the first company to sell this type of vehicle in North America. They quickly outsold station wagons and became the vehicle of choice for families. The 2014 Chrysler Town & Country marks a big anniversary milestone for the vehicle, and they are celebrating by introducing the 30th Anniversary Edition.
It seems that people either love or loathe minivans. For the young male, a minivan could be a sign of settling down and being practical. They are utilitarian vehicles designed to haul kids and equipment to and from soccer practice. They aren’t designed to be a barnstormer at the traffic lights.
Minivans make a heck of a lot of sense. If you have two or more children, they are easy to load children into the safety seats, and they can bring along their friends on a journey and have enough room for all the strollers. Power sliding doors and a low ride height make it easy to get in and out of. Many have seating capacity for eight, have good fuel economy and drive really well.
30 years later, the 2014 Chrysler Town & Country continues this legacy. I drove a Touring-L version with the company’s 3.6L Pentastar V6. This motor makes an appearance in almost all Chrysler products. Powerful and reliable, it should have no problems surviving any family trip.
This version included the 30th Anniversary Package, which includes keyless push button start, heated first and second row seats, and power Stow ‘N Go in the third row. Also, 30th Anniversary badging and special paint tell others you’re driving a special minivan.
Hauling around a family means safety should be a top priority. The 2014 Chrysler Town & Country has an overall 4-star safety rating from government. It has a 5-star side impact rating, which would be the most important for children in the second row. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rate it well, but haven’t tested the vehicle in the difficult small overlap front test. There are safer vehicles out there, but it would be interesting to see how it performs in that last IIHS test before passing final judgements.
In addition to the power folding rear seats and capacious Stow ‘N Go storage bins, passengers can watch Blu-ray movies on the rear-seat entertainment system. The rear seat entertainment system with Blu-ray only runs $995. Systems like this used to cost thousands of dollars.
When driving the Town & Country you sit up higher than a car, but the electric power steering is light and responsive. The V6 gets along nicely, and I felt like I had enough power to overtake someone on the freeway without worrying.
The noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) was nice. I could carry on a conversation with my passenger without having to raise my voice. It felt solid and was easy to drive.
The version I drove did not have the fanciest version of the Uconnect system. The system in this car was the same that was in the Jeep Patriot that we drove awhile back. This one had Bluetooth available, but compared to the modern systems Chrysler sells, this one looked dated. If you like good infotainment like I do, you can get the big touch screen and digital dash as an upgrade.
The market used to be full of minivans, but there are very few remaining. Chrysler sells enough of them to make a good business case to continue making them. Minivans are a tool, much like a pickup truck. There really isn’t a better way to haul around children, strollers and sports gear. Minivans aren’t for everyone, but if you are thinking about one, go check the Town & Country out.
|Motor Review Fast Facts:|
|Model:||Town & Country|
|Fuel Economy:||17mpg city / 25mpg highway / 20mpg combined|
|Engine:||3.6L VVT V6|
|Horsepower and Torque:||283hp and 260lbs/ft|
|Price as Tested:||$37,855|
|Pros:||Spacious. Ease of access.|
|Cons:||Fuel economy. Infotainment.|
|Final Thoughts:||If you need a minivan, there’s no better one to look at.|
|Vehicle provided by manufacturer for review.|