This week, we’re driving the 2015 Chrysler Town & Country “minivan,” which I now put in quotes as today’s minivans are anything but “mini.” In the case of the Town & Country, it now rides on a 121.2 inch wheelbase, sits seven adults comfortably and boasts a curb weight of over two and a half tons.
Additionally, with all due respect to Volkswagen’s 23-window Microbus we all loved back in the Fifties and Sixties, Chrysler receives my nod as the first ever to introduce a modern “minivan” thanks to its 1984 Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager entries, which, in alliance with the Dodge/Plymouth K-Cars, literally saved Chrysler from a second and what would have been final bankruptcy.
The 2015 Chrysler Town & Country offered today is a vehicle built in Ontario, Canada, in alliance with corporate giant Fiat. Starting at just $21,795 for the Dodge Grand Caravan SE and $29,995 for big brother Chrysler Town & Country LX, both rely on the exact same mechanical footprint consisting of a 3.6-liter, 283-horsepower Pentastar V6 hooked to a well-built six-speed automatic transmission. With this in mind, consumers can choose from three Grand Caravans and six Town & Country models to correspond to budgetary guidelines. Our Platinum Town & Country came with a $39,995 “out the door, fully loaded” base price, with $995 delivery resulting in the $40,990 retail list.
Additionally, those shopping the minivan market should always consider what I term as the “almost new” program car value, where up to $8,000 or more off the retail price is the norm if you don’t mind a Chrysler or Dodge with 8,000 to 15,000 miles on the odometer. These off-lease and rental units deliver mechanical freshness and the remainder of the Chrysler/Dodge 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. All current buyer incentives, both new and program cars, await you at your area Chrysler-Dodge-Ram-Jeep dealer.
Our Town & Country Platinum tester is all about luxury, although even the entry LX includes more standard premium features than any other minivan. Included on our tester are leather seats, sunroof, power sliding doors, power liftgate, heated steering wheel, power folding third row seat, all the powers and so much more. All Town & Country vans are seven-passenger vehicles with third row seating, the latter which automatically folds down with the push of a button.
Inside, leather seating comes heated in the first two rows while a high-tech media center underlines SiriusXM Satellite, nine-speakers with subwoofer, 503 watt HD 430N Radio/Stereo/CD/MP3/Garmin NAV and 6.5-inch touchscreen display. Yes, it’s all standard fare on the Platinum.
Want more? How about Platinum’s standard Blu-ray entertainment feature for your second and third row passengers? It features overhead nine-inch VGA video screens and wireless headphones that await whatever game or BluRay DVD your passengers would like to indulge in while traveling.
Then, when it comes to cargo, up to 143 cu. ft. await your every need thanks to the Stow & Go second and third row seating arrangements. Add to the equation Town & Country’s government crash safety ratings of four-and five-stars, and you’ve got a modern minivan that is tough to beat.
Notable safety features include all the air bags, ParkSense park assist, BlindSpot and CrossPath detection, ParkView rear back up camera, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, 17-inch tires on alloys, electronic stability with traction control and brake assist, keyless entry, and remote start.
Under the hood, the aforementioned Pentastar V6 delivers 17 city and 25 highway EPA numbers, which are good for its size. These highway mileage numbers could perhaps get a boost if Chrysler installs its new nine-speed automatics.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 121.2-inches, 20-gallon fuel tank, up to 143 cu. ft. of cargo space, 3,600 lb. tow capacity and 4,652 lb. curb weight.
Chrysler minivans are downright good looking while maintaining the heritage it started 31 years ago. These minivans are tough to beat, as they all drive well, look good and offer outstanding value.
Entry Price: $29,995
Price as Tested: $40,990
Stow n’ Go seating
Lots of cargo room
City fuel mileage
Lack of Chrysler’s new nine speed automatic gearbox