For 2005, Chrysler’s upscale Town & Country minivan comes with the company’s new Stow ’n Go seating, a revolutionary idea that will undoubtedly be cropping up shortly among the competition. The second and third rows of seats flip and fold completely into deep wells, presenting a completely flat floor without removing any of the seats. When the seats are up, their wells can be used for storage. Because of the re-engineering necessary to fit the under-floor wells, all-wheel-drive is no longer available.
Also new for 2005 are a third-row easy-entry system, where pulling a strap tumbles the second row forward; outboard break-away cupholders, which release the cupholders and leave them intact when the seats are stowed; an overhead rail system with three standard movable or removable overhead storage bins and room for three optional ones; a door alert signal that turns on the hazard flashers when the sliding doors are opened; a driver’s side inflatable knee blocker; and available curtain air bags for all three rows of seats. As well, there are new exterior and interior colours, new headlamps, new instrument cluster graphics, an enhanced seat belt reminder system and available hands-free communication with Bluetooth wireless technology.
The Town & Country comes in two trim lines, both of them long-wheelbase (the short-wheelbase version available in the U.S. isn’t sold in Canada), and both powered by a 3.8-litre V6. The Touring includes three-zone automatic temperature control with rear air conditioning and rear heater, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, power locks, dual power sliding doors, power liftgate, power-adjustable pedals, automatic headlamps, power heated mirrors, rear backup warning system, rear seat DVD system, six-CD/cassette stereo with eight speakers, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, power windows with power rear quarter vent, variable intermittent wipers, black roof rack, and leather interior with heated power front seats.
The Limited adds woodgrain accents, buffed stainless steel roof rack, memory system for two drivers, premium leather seats, eight-way power driver’s seat, four-way power passenger seat and tire pressure monitoring system.
The Town & Country is the luxury version of the Dodge Caravan, offering a considerable number of standard features, including a rear DVD and leather interior, which are optional on most competitors. The 3.8 is enough to pull this heavy van around, although it’s not quite as refined as offerings from such competitors as the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna; the ride is extremely smooth, to the point that you may long for a bit more road feel. Still, should you be looking at bringing home that must-have antique armoire you didn’t plan on buying, the Stow ’n Go system will overcome any driving deficiencies the Chrysler may have against the competition. Until they catch up, Stow ’n Go rules.
The Town & Country is built in Windsor, Ontario.