2010 Chrysler Town & Country Limited Review


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2010 Chrysler Town and Country

SEE ALSO: Compare Specs and Prices - Chrysler Buyers guide

THE AUTO PAGE
By
JOHN HEILIG

SPECIFICATIONS:

Model: 2010 Chrysler Town & Country Limited
Engine: 4.0-liter V6
Horsepower/Torque: 251 hp @ 6,000 rpm/259 lb.-ft. @ 4,100 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with manual mode
Wheelbase: 121.2 in.
Length/Width/Height: 202.5 x 76.9 x 68.9 in.
Tires: P225/65R17
Cargo volume: 32.3/82.7/140.1 cu. ft. (behind 3rd row/ behind 2nd row/maximum)
Fuel economy: 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway/16.1 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 20.0 gal.
Fuel Option: Chrysler T and C is also Available in a Flex-fuel Version
Sticker: $41,415 (includes $820 destination charge and $5,785 in options)

The Bottom Line: The first of the minivans is still the king of the minivans. With a ton of useful features, combined with a size that approaches mid-size, rather than mini, the Chrysler Town & Country has so much to offer it's almost worth it's $41,415 sticker price.

I have often bragged that the Heilig family had a full-size van as our "family car" from Brownies through college. Each one of our girls found that the van was ideal for toting camping equipment all over the country as well as carrying "milk crates" to an assortment of colleges. We miss that van so much that all three girls now have minivans of their own.

Minivans as a class didn't exist when we bought our 1978 van. Chrysler began the craze in the spring of 1989 (as a 1990 model) with the first T&C, and hasn't stopped since, ever improving. While that first T&C had a small 3.3-liter V6 (Plymouth Voyagers could be had with a 4-cylinder engine), the current generation can be had with a 4.0-liter V6, offering a healthy 251 horsepower driving the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission that has a (to me useless) manual mode. I liked the power available, but sometimes the engine was noisier than I would have hoped for on acceleration. Under normal driving circumstances however, the engine noise was tolerable. The shifter is on the dash, which took some getting used to.

But most minivans are pretty generic - three rows of seats, captains chairs in the first two rows and a bench in back. We had that back in 1978. But Chrysler's innovation makes the second row seats rotatable, so that they can face the third row. And then you can put a post and table in there so the occupants can play games or have a table on which to eat.

In addition, the second row seats, as well as the third row, are removable, converting the luxurious T&C into a cargo carrying monster with 140 cubic feet of storage.

But that's not all. With the seats in place, there's Chrysler's Stow 'n Go, which is a small cargo area in the floor in front of the second row seats. there's also a deep floor behind the third row seats. If you don't want the third row seats in place, you can stow them in the well.

Second row seating is surprisingly tight, but it's okay. Third row seating offers more knee and leg room. There are 12V and 110V outlets behind the second row. Small storage is covered by a segmented tray in each front door (with a square cup holder) plus a small additional door tray by your elbow. It's hard to get at but it can be useful. The center console has four cup holders and a central compartment that slides back to reveal a deeper storage console. The sliding doors may be operated from the roof console, but they also have their own power switches on the B-pillar.

Behind the third row seat back are five grocery bag hooks, another practical addition. For entertainment, we had Sirius Satellite radio, a 30 GB hard drive media center with iPod control, a dual screen DVD entertainment system (the screens are for the second and third rows), wireless headphones, etc. etc.

To keep an eye on the kids, there's a "spy" mirror on the sunglass holder. I wish we had one of those on our `78 to let us know what was going on behind us.

The package drives great, much better than our `78. It has smooth and decent handling for a van with the high aspect ratio.

The Town & Country is a very nice package with seating for seven with a flat floor. It has all the amenities of a full-size van. It's also large enough to carry a Christmas tree back from the farm.

2010 The Auto Page Syndicate

SEE ALSO: Compare Specs and Prices - Chrysler Buyers guide

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