What It Is
An extremely functional, no-fuss minivan that is available at a good price.
Seats are very easy to stow.
Road and engine noise comes through loudly into the cabin.
In terms of functionality, the Town & Country is hard to beat. But in other areas, it falls short.
This year marks the 30th birthday of the minivan, and the Chrysler Town & Country was the model that pioneered the segment. Over all these years, the Town & Country has stayed true to its roots, prioritizing functionality above all else. And while it still retains the same basic shape and look as what you may remember as a kid, it has evolved significantly on the inside.
There's no getting around it – the 2014 Chrysler Town & Country is part of a struggling segment. In a world of three row crossovers, large wagons, and much more, minivans have become less popular, even stigmatized. But at the end of the day, there are some functions a minivan can perform more effectively than other vehicles. And the Chrysler Town & Country is the perfect example of that.
What We DroveThe base Chrysler Town & Country goes for $30,765, a good price in its segment. But we drove the 30th Anniversary Edition, the second most expensive model in the Town & Country lineup.
This model, starting at $36,165, comes standard with amenities like heated front and second row seats with leather and Alcantara accents, Uconnect, power adjustable pedals, and easy fold seats. Our model also included the dual screen DVD system and a number of cosmetic upgrades. When adding in the destination charge, the total cost of the model we drove came to $37,855.
But how does the Town & Country hold up in an accident? The Town & Country earned an overall four stars in crash testing by the government. Safety features on the 2014 Chrysler Town & Country include blind spot detection system, electronic stability control, and driver knee/side curtain/seat-mounted side airbags.
The CommuteUnfortunately, the Town & Country fits the bill of how you might think a minivan drives. Although it is stable on the road, it takes its sweet time getting up to speed. You can even hear the van huff and puff when it tries to accelerate, even when the driver isn't moving that fast. Road and engine noise comes through loudly into the cabin, and we found this was a significant irritant. But maybe it's a blessing in disguise for parents, because at least it drowns out the noise coming from the kids in the backseat.
The Town & Country does well when it has to come to a stop, however. Braking is crisp and clean even at harsh stops on L.A. freeways in the mornings. Handling is about what you may expect in this class, and although it is not difficult to drive, it doesn't offer a particularly fun ride.
On our commute to the office, we also had a chance to test out the radio. The system delivers high quality sound, but we wish the screen was slightly bigger and had larger control knobs. Unfortunately, our model did not come with navigation, but it did have SiriusXM. Overall, we didn't have any problems figuring out the controls in this vehicle.
The Grocery RunPerhaps the most important part of a minivan is how much space it has and how easy it is to access that space. In the Town & Country, there is little extra room behind the third row for storage. But folding down this third row reveals a gargantuan cave. We were able to easily fit two 4 ft. by 4 ft. wooden boards in the back. Groceries for the family? No problem.
And folding down that third row couldn't be easier. With the push of a button, the seats can fold in whatever configuration you like. They can fold flat into the floor, crunched down, or can be oriented backwards in a tailgate style. And unlike competitors including the Honda Odyssey, the second-row seats are also easy to fold down. With Chrysler's Stow-N-Go seats, the second row also folds completely flat into the floor.
In terms of interior functionality, the Town & Country is hard to beat. Parking, however, is another challenge altogether. As you can imagine, this vehicle can be a bit hard to maneuver into tight spaces. Luckily, a rearview camera and park assist system helps in this matter.
The Weekend FunDriving the Town & Country through heavy traffic on Monday mornings is one thing, but how did the minivan hold up on longer drives? Over the weekend, we had the chance to really put this people-mover to the test.
The first thing we appreciate about this car is its comfortable interior. The 30th Anniversary Edition Town & Country features leather seats and Alcantara accents, which may be a bit over the top for what most buyers need. Nevertheless, the seats were supportive yet comfortable, even on the longest of drives. Passengers will enjoy this minivan because it doubles as a home movie theater. Our model came with two Blu-ray/DVD entertainment screens for the second and third rows, complete with remote controls and wireless headphones.
Unfortunately, filling up the Town & country is a less pleasant story. The Town & Country is powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 engine delivering 283 horsepower. Rated at 20 mpg in combined driving, the Town & Country ranks below the similarly-powered Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, and Nissan Quest. However, we managed to get slightly better than advertised fuel economy at 21.6 mpg.
SummaryAt the end of our test, we concluded that the Town & Country definitely had some unique advantages over other competitors. Its superior functionality, easy stow seats, and low cost make it an attractive option in its segment, and even gives it an edge against three-row crossovers. However, this vehicle's lackluster fuel economy, and particularly its poor noise insulation, will diminish its appeal for many drivers. We would recommend also taking a look at the Odyssey, which makes good use of space and achieves commendable fuel economy.
Spec BoxPrice-as-tested: $37,855
EPA City: 17
EPA Highway: 25
EPA Combined: 20
Cargo Space: can fit two 4-ft plywood boards Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Excellent
Child Seat Fitment, Third Row (if applicable): Excellent
Estimated Combined Range: 400 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Below Average