Chrysler Town &
Country Review: After a trip like this, I ought to be exhausted.
It's 9:40 p.m. on a Sunday, and I just got home from a marathon
three-day jaunt to central Texas with my wife, three kids, including an
8-month-old baby, and two grandparents, with all of us packed into one
car. That's a formula for disaster that comes straight from the recipe
box of National Lampoon.
If you're ever in the
mood to be stressed-out, frazzled and just plain annoyed, you'll want to
lock yourself in a box with your family and launch it at 70 mph down the
Interstate. Only this time, even with a good excuse, I'm not frazzled at
all. I'm relaxed, calm and happy. Why? Our family box happened to be a
Chrysler Town & Country minivan.
Now I've driven a lot
of great road-trip cars in the past, ranging from giant Lexus barges to
soothing highway beasts like the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln
Navigator, but I've never driven another car that's so perfect for a
filled-to-the-gills trip as this particular Chrysler.
It helped that this
minivan came with all the bling that Chrysler could cram into it,
including two DVD screens in the back, a navigation system, satellite
radio, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, wireless headphones to
distract cranky kids, and a Thai masseuse packed in back by the spare
OK, it didn't come with
a masseuse, but only because labor laws wouldn't let Chrysler really do
All this gadgetry
brought the van's total cost to over $40,000, which is an awful lot
considering the base Town & Country van starts just under $26,000, and
can do 90 percent of what the pricey, luxed-up version can do. But all
the techno-lux certainly helped create some great highway heaven.
Why was it so perfect?
Simple, it could fit all our stuff, for starters. It easily held the
luggage for seven people, a big cooler, and the mountain of gear that
tiny babies require, like a portable playpen and stroller.
The much-touted Stow n'
Go storage system, which I once thought was a gimmick, actually proved
extremely useful when we discovered we could pack two full backpacks and
a picnic lunch underneath our feet. It's really is a brilliant idea.
This minivan was also
great for keeping the kids entertained. While Mommy and Daddy alternated
between Willy Nelson and opera music on the radio, the kids could watch
DVD movies in the back with wireless headphones. When they got tired of
that, they could watch the Disney Channel, Cartoon Network or
Nickelodeon on the satellite TV. And when they got tired of that, they
could easily fall asleep.
Getting in and out was
easy too, even for the adults, thanks to dual power sliding doors and
the rear power liftgate. Plus it could be started by remote control to
get the entire van cooled off in the hot Texas sun.
And even what I thought
was the biggest gimmick of them all, a rechargeable flashlight that's
mounted in the van's cargo area, actually came in handy. Our 7-year-old
had two splinters in her heel, and we couldn't have fixed the problem
without the bright light from that silly device. So much for my gimmick
argument, that flashlight turned out to be a lifesaver.
If there's a downside
to this van, it's got to be how cheap some of the parts feel. Whereas
you sit in a Honda Odyssey and get the feeling it could survive a
tactical nuclear strike, the Chrysler has some parts that feel flimsy,
like a center console that doesn't feel securely mounted in it’s place,
and bits of plastic that seem to be held on with wet Scotch tape.
On the flip side, no
other minivan offers something as smart as Stow n' Go. It's the kind of
feature that makes daddies drool and mommies squeal.
What was tested?
The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country Limited with a base price of $35,060.
Options on the test car: Navigation system at $1,300, the dual-screen
entertainment system for $2,020, power sunroof at $895, power folding
third-row seat for $595 and the safety sphere group for $515. The total
MSRP price as tested including the $820 destination charge: $41,205.
Why avoid it?
Some parts don't feel like the highest quality, particularly a removable
center console that never seems securely mounted in place.
Why buy it? It's
a brilliant design for big families, with plenty of storage space, and a
smart layout that makes it perfect for comfortably carting lots of
passengers and their gear.
It's even enough to
make a car nut change his habits. The last car I shopped for was a
two-seater Alfa Romeo convertible. My next one? Probably a minivan, and
I can't wait.
By Derek Price ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
The Bottom Line:
The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country still looks like a minivan, but now
it functions beautifully. It has plenty of interior space and smart
features like Stow n' Go storage under the floor, and a long list of
luxurious options that you'll wonder how you ever lived without. Now
it's gone a step further with separate middle-row seats that can swivel
to face backward that, when an optional table is installed, looks like
the cabin in a private jet.
Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
“Tony the Car Guy”
is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay
Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to
TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at
And remember: “ You Are
what you Drive ”
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Column Name: Chrysler
Town & Country is family-friendly
Topic: The 2010
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Chrysler Town & Country minivan
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Series #: 2010 - 23
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