The Chrysler Town and Country is a three-row minivan offering clever and versatile cargo solutions and a long roster of standard and optional features.
The Chrysler Town and Country has long appealed to families and empty nesters seeking a practical vehicle with a dash of luxury inside and out. Early T&Cs satisfied this desire with wood-grain decals, leather seats and a standard V6 engine, while the final model offered amenities such as a navigation system, tri-zone climate control and a power-operated liftgate. Since its introduction for 1990, the Chrysler Town and Country shared all of its mechanicals with its less upscale Dodge siblings, the Caravan and Grand Caravan.
Over its life, the Town and Country offered some ground-breaking amenities. The T&C offered Stow 'n Go, a seating system that provides fold-flat capability for both the second- and third-row seats, as well as in-floor storage compartments when the seats are occupied. It was also the first minivan to offer driver-side sliding doors. But in other aspects, the T&C's features list was often been a step behind the competition. It was among the last minivans to offer essential features such as stability control and a rearview camera. Reliability concerns were also perpetual, and 2016 was the final year for the Town and Country. It was replaced with the Chrysler Pacifica — generally praised as a major improvement over the aging T&C — for the 2017 model year.
Used Chrysler Town and Country Models The last (fifth-generation) Chrysler Town and Country was produced from 2008 to 2016. Substantial updates were made in 2011 as part of a midcycle refresh. 2008 to 2011 T&Cs suffered from cheap interior materials and poor build quality. The base engine was lethargic, and the other optional engines weren't much better. Driving dynamics were also lackluster, lacking the recalibrated suspension and steering of the current van. So though Town and Country minivans produced after 2011 are an appealing minivan choice, earlier ones from that generation are not recommended.
Prior to 2011, there were three trim levels: LX, Touring and Limited. Powering the LX was a 3.3-liter V6 that produced 175 hp and was paired to a four-speed automatic transmission. Touring models got a 197-hp 3.8-liter V6, teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission. The most appealing choice was the 4.0-liter V6 that powered Limited models. Paired with the six-speed transmission, the engine put forth 251 hp and endowed the van with respectable quickness.
Another notable difference between the current Town and Country and those produced before 2011 was the optional second-row Swivel 'n Go seating system. It consisted of second-row captain's chairs that turned 180 degrees to face the third row for card-playing, socializing and hiding from parents. It was a neat trick but drastically reduced the available legroom for both rows.
From 2011, the Chrysler Town and Country was available in four trims: Touring, S, Touring-L and Limited. Under the hood of all models was a 3.6-liter V6 that produced 283 horsepower. A six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive were standard.
Even the base Touring model was well equipped, with automatic headlights, a power tailgate, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, power-adjustable pedals and driver seat, Bluetooth phone and audio, a touchscreen stereo interface, and trailer sway control to improve the stability of towed trailers. The upper trims could be equipped with luxury items such as heated leather seats, navigation, a heated steering wheel and xenon headlights. There were also a number of special minivan features available, including rear window shades, a power-folding third row, and a rear-seat entertainment system with a Blu-ray player, HDMI input and USB ports for charging electronic devices.
Even after the refresh, materials quality wasn't perfect, but the T&C felt pretty luxurious regardless of trim level. Seating was generally comfortable, and headroom was plentiful in the first two rows but a bit limited for third-row passengers. Taller drivers might find legroom lacking in the front seats. The T&C also also featured Chrysler's unique Stow 'n Go seating system, which gave the van a leg up on the competition. It's the best solution for those who routinely need their van to serve double duty as a hauler of people and stuff. There's no need to physically remove seats. You just, as the name implies, stow the second-row captain's chairs in the floor and go.
In reviews, we found that the overhauled Chrysler Town and Country was a vast improvement over its predecessors. Despite its many advancements, though, we still found that other minivans were ultimately more appealing due to their more refined driving manners, eight-passenger capacity and better reputation for reliability. However, even if the T&C isn't our first minivan choice, it still offers a lot of content for the money.
The fourth-generation Chrysler Town and Country was sold from 2001 to 2007. It was offered in regular- and long-wheelbase sizes. From 2001 to 2003, the short-wheelbase vans were called Voyagers (following the demise of the Plymouth brand), but since then all Chrysler-brand vans have worn the Town and Country nameplate. Chrysler fiddled with the trim levels several times during this generation, so used-minivan buyers are likely to come across many different trim level nomenclatures.
Base models came with most of the essentials, though antilock brakes were optional. The midlevel trim was your ticket to the Stow 'n Go fold-flat seating system. Lower trims came with a 3.3-liter V6 with 180 hp; in editorial reviews, we noted that this engine moved the van adequately around town but felt breathless at highway speeds. A stronger 3.8-liter V6 good for 215 hp was offered on midlevel and premium trims, making these better choices for most buyers.
The Chrysler Town and Country was one of the few minivans with an all-wheel-drive option, but this was discontinued for 2005. This was also the first year you could get side curtain airbags; in previous years, only front seat-mounted side airbags were available. One negative aspect of the fourth-generation Town and Country model was its inconsistent reliability.
The third-generation Town and Country was sold from 1996 to 2000. Although reliability is again an issue on these vans, if you find one with a clean bill of health, it could still be a good source of inexpensive family transportation.
The third-gen T&C was sleeker and more refined than most minivans of this era. And, along with its Dodge and Plymouth siblings, it was the first minivan to offer a driver-side sliding door, which gave parents the flexibility to load up the kids from either side of the van. The best years to look at are 1998 through 2000, when an upgraded version of the 3.8-liter V6 (good for 180 hp) was available. Other than spotty reliability, safety was the major shortcoming on the third-generation Town and Country. Crash test scores were mediocre across the board, and side airbags were not available.