2008 Chrysler Town & Country
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Read more of Dave & Carolyn’s comments on the 2008 Chrysler Town & Country:
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4
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By Dave and Carolyn;
edited by Paul Williams

Arguably the inventor of the modern minivan in 1984, Chrysler is expected to be an expert in the conception and delivery of a modern family van. So far, our consumer reviewers Dave and Carolyn would agree with that: the all-new Town & Country’s amenities are numerous and effective; interior appointments are appealingly presented and features (like the DVD system) are easy to operate. Carolyn thinks the standard 3.8-litre V6 engine is not quite responsive enough. Granted, there is another engine option – the new 4.0-litre V6 – but that would add cost. Furthermore, www.Autos.ca’s Greg Wilson recently reviewed the same model Dave and Carolyn are driving, and he found its power sufficient. Potential buyers will have to decide for themselves.

One thing Dave and Carolyn don’t understand is why the power doors and liftgate won’t operate at a pull of the handle. They’ve encountered several situations where, arms full, this functionality would be appreciated.

Overall, however, both are finding the Town & Country a very stylish vehicle with superb road manners. A luxurious ride and a luxurious interior environment, making this vehicle, as Dave says, “a pleasure to drive.”

2008 Chrysler Town & Country – Dave’s Week Two impressions

2008 Chrysler Town & Country
2008 Chrysler Town & Country. Click image to enlarge

The Chrysler Town & Country remains a pleasure to drive. In particular, it’s a great highway cruiser (e.g., quiet and smooth). This van does not seem particularly thirsty re fuel usage. On the road, this van handles, corners, and stops well, and it’s very easy to park (the backup camera is very helpful when you are reversing in a busy parking lot, for example).

The sound system in this minivan is excellent and easy to control. The DVD player is very easy to use. When you want to play a movie you simply, and conveniently, insert the disc into the CD/DVD player located in the dashboard; rather than having to awkwardly turn around and insert the disc in the ceiling mounted DVD player behind you.

Because of the Town & Country’s “Stow ‘n Go” feature, the middle seats are noticeably much smaller and less plush in comparison with “typical,” middle row minivan seats. Of course, these seats have to be smaller to be able to fold flat, which is an excellent feature by the way, opening up the van to accommodate extra cargo. Also, the smaller seats actually facilitate moving around the inside of the van, and that can be seen as a “plus.” Just to test them out, we took some friends for a half-hour ride recently and they did not find the middle seats uncomfortable per se, but they did find them a tad too small and utilitarian for their liking. In other words, it’s a compromise, but I feel the benefits outweigh the costs.

2008 Chrysler Town & Country
2008 Chrysler Town & Country. Click image to enlarge

Of course, not unlike the other vehicles we have “tested” during this minivan challenge, I have discovered some odd/less appealing features about the Town & Country minivan. For example, without the remote control unit in hand, the power doors and power lift-gate can only be operated manually from the outside. On all of the other minivans we have tested the power doors can be opened and closed using the outside handle. This is very convenient when you are holding many things (e.g.,
a baby, groceries) and you do not have the remote control at hand.

The third row seats in this van are slightly more complicated to fold flat, or to put back up, in comparison with the other minivans we have tested. For instance, it’s a three-step process to fold the seats flat, versus a one-step process in the other minivans.

Because of the Stow n’ Go feature, the middle passengers do not have their own centre console. The console up front has been designed to slide back somewhat to compensate for this, but it does not slide back very far (i.e., the middle passengers have to reach forward quite a bit).

Also, while I’m in my critical mode, the front passenger seat does not fold flat; I cannot exaggerate how useful a flat folding seat is when you have to change your baby’s diaper! Further, not unlike the Pontiac Montana the storage compartments located on the back of the front seats are rigid plastic units which are not as useful as the flexible storage units found on the Entourage, Odyssey, and Sienna; perhaps this is a domestic design characteristic?

Lastly, a few words about customer service seem in order. As previously noted, the service we received when we took possession of the Town & Country was excellent (e.g., friendly, thorough overview provided), as was the service we received when the Montana was delivered to us. We did not request this service; rather, we waited to see how things unfolded “naturally.” The contact person at Mazda accompanied us to the vehicle and provided us with some useful information. When we picked up the Sienna and the Odyssey we were simply handed the keys by the person at the front desk. The Entourage was personally delivered to us, but no overview (etc.) was provided (Basically, it was “Here are the keys (two sets), please enjoy the vehicle.”) Of course, as soon as the information about customer service was included in our comments, other dealers had an “unfair advantage,” so to speak (our mistake). Nevertheless, service from the Pontiac and Chrysler personnel was excellent.

2008 Chrysler Town & Country
2008 Chrysler Town & Country. Click image to enlarge

2008 Chrysler Town & Country – Carolyn’s Week Two impressions

After driving this minivan for two weeks I remain impressed with how luxurious the interior is! The seats are very comfortable and the interior controls seem to be appropriately located and are easy to operate. To be very picky though I would say that climate controlled heating and air conditioning would be nice to have in this minivan, but you can’t have everything (we have a sunroof, DVD with dual display, power liftgate, etc.).

The exterior of the Town & Country is very stylish in my opinion. I am not a fan of the colour red for the exterior of a vehicle (this minivan is red) but I nevertheless really like the exterior styling of this minivan and I would likely just purchase it in a different colour. This minivan’s exterior is not too boxy or truck-like, and I think Chrysler’s done a good job in making a basic shape very appealing.

I have noticed that the remote lock on this minivan works even when the side sliding doors are not shut; this has resulted in me coming back to the vehicle only to find that I’ve inadvertently left one of the doors open, even though the other doors were locked! I believe that some of the other minivans that we have tested – if not all of them – had a feature that did not allow you to lock up the vehicle when one of the doors, or the liftgate, not fully closed.

While I’m definitely not a “speed demon” I do like get a move on when required, and I must say I find the 3.8-litre engine in the Town & Country Touring is less powerful than the other minivans I’ve driven. Specifically, it lacks the immediate and quick pick up when you are stopped, although it certainly seems to make its way up a steep hill without any unusual difficulty.

2008 Chrysler Town & Country
2008 Chrysler Town & Country. Click image to enlarge

Once up to speed, the Town & Country really shines, however, and offers an exceptionally nice, quiet and smooth ride. It feels very luxurious to be driving this minivan!

The audio system in the Town & Country is very easy to operate and the sound quality is excellent. And I love the green ambient lighting which you can turn on at night. It’s really handy to have; I can turn around from the front passenger seat and see my daughter’s face quite easily. It’s a really nice feature!

Click here to read reviews of all the minivans in the Minivan Challenge.


Read more of Dave & Carolyn’s comments on the 2008 Chrysler Town & Country:
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4
Read all the articles in the Minivan Challenge

Photo Gallery: 2008 Chrysler Town & Country

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