By KBB.com Editors
Although it was temporarily overshadowed by the SUV as the symbol for family transport in third-millennium America, as recently as 2007 almost a million families opted for the arguably more functional minivan. Chrysler is widely credited with inventing the modern minivan and will soon be the only domestic manufacturer left in the game, as GM and Ford effectively replace their slow-selling minivans with three-row crossover SUVs. Fresh from last year's complete redesign, the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country – and the less chromed and woodgrained Dodge Grand Caravan – refine the segment by offering attractive seating and entertainment options clever enough to remain competitive with rival minivans from Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai and Kia.
With features like an available Swivel 'n Go setup that configures into a table for four people and dual, independent video monitors that can display DVD movies, video games or satellite-based SIRIUS Backseat TV, Chrysler's fifth-generation minivan is the obvious choice for satisfying rear-seat riders.
While the Town & Country's ride and handling are well-balanced, you may prefer the softer Toyota Sienna or the more eager Honda Odyssey. Also, while the Town & Country's interior has been greatly improved versus its predecessor and feels more sophisticated than the Grand Caravan's, we feel there's still room for improvement.
Both the LX and Limited receive more standard equipment. LX trims now feature three-zone air conditioning, second-row power windows and third-row power vent windows as well as a combination temperature/compass/trip computer gauge. New options include a Blind Spot Monitoring system, dual 9-inch DVD view screens with swiveling third-row screen and the Rear Cross Path system, which warns drivers backing up of objects approaching them.
Driving Impressions If you've found the ride and handling of other minivans too soft or too firm, you might appreciate the Chrysler minivans' balance between highway comfort and around-town responsiveness. We also...appreciated the surprisingly competent steering and braking response, and found the 4.0-liter V6 and six-speed automatic transmission combination that's exclusive to the Town & Country Limited model especially responsive and plenty powerful. The 3.8-liter V6 engine that we tested in the Grand Caravan is also satisfying, but the more powerful 4.0-liter version delivers identical EPA fuel economy. We'd look elsewhere in the segment before settling for the 175-horsepower base V6. The Chrysler minivans aren't as nimble in parking lots as the exceptionally tight-turning Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.
In addition to the comprehensive uconnect gps infotainment system up front, Chrysler's newest minivan offers dual, independent rear video screens that allow second- and third-row passengers to watch two different DVD movies, play video games or even watch the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network Mobile via SIRIUS Backseat TV.
Swivel 'n Go Seats
Although not without legroom challenges, the Swivel 'n Go seating option that comprises swiveling second-row captain's chairs and a hideaway, removable table takes the concept of the rolling family room to a new level. The fold-flat Stow 'N Go seating system introduced on the previous generation is also available.
Sharing sheetmetal, powertrains and all but a few features, the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan are most differentiated by unique interior styling. Whereas the Grand Caravan's sportier gauge cluster and heavier use of black suggest a more athletic nature, the Town & Country combines wood-like and bright trim in conveying a more sophisticated persona. Available conveniences include Stow 'N Go and Swivel 'n Go second-row seating, integrated child booster seats and a class-exclusive power-folding third-row seat. Loading and unloading is predictably easy and the accommodations are comfortable.Exterior
After more ovoid third- and fourth-generation models, the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country now appears more in-line with the boxier roots of the first couple of iterations. The latest sheetmetal and increased use of available chrome give the new model a look that's both bold and sophisticated. Body-colored trim and steel wheel covers on the LX are substituted with more brightwork and aluminum wheels on the Touring and Limited trims, which also feature power sliding side doors and a power liftgate.
A base 2009 Chrysler Town & Country LX includes three-zone air conditioning, power windows and locks, cruise control, remote keyless entry, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system, stain-resistant cloth seating, woodgrain trim, second-row bench seat, 60/40-split fold-flat third-row seat and 16-inch covered steel wheels. Standard safety equipment includes electronic stability and traction controls plus front-impact and three-row side-curtain airbags.
The Town & Country's most sophisticated option is a hard-drive-based uconnect gps system that offers navigation with real-time traffic information and features MP3/WMA music and JPEG image uploading, auxiliary audio input, voice-recognition, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity and more. Other notable options include back-up sensors and a rear-view camera, Blind Spot Monitoring system, Rear Cross Path system, power liftgate, power sliding doors (LX), power-folding third-row seat and high-intensity-discharge headlamps. Second-row seating options include fold-flat Stow 'N Go or rearward-pivoting Swivel 'n Go seats, integrated child booster seats, power windows and manual sunshades. A comprehensive entertainment system offers two nine-inch independent video displays.
We wouldn't want to regularly haul around full loads with the base powertrain, comprised of a 3.3-liter V6 and four-speed automatic transmission, especially for very little improvement in fuel economy. The 3.8 is a much more reasonable choice, but it's the 4.0-liter V6 that offers the best combination of power and fuel economy. Both the 3.8 and 4.0 also come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission.
175 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
205 lb.-ft of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (gas), 11/16 (E85)
197 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
230 lb.-ft of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23
251 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
259 lb.-ft of torque @ 4100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25
By puffy on Monday, February 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Drives like a Brand New Car!!!"
Cons: "Needs NOTHING!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"If a person is LOOKING for a really LOW Mileage LOADED Minivan for a GREAT PRICE this is it! The Original sticker was $42,000!! We are the Original owners and this car has been meticolously maintained also!! Even has Disney TV through Sirius."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By Rob on Sunday, February 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,329overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "kids like the rear video system"
Cons: "Poor quality"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Since I purchased the vehicle new in 2008, I have had to replace the brakes 4 times and the rotors 3 times during those repairs due to cheap materials that wear prematurely. The front hubs are also an issue with this vehicle. I have replaced the driver front hub twice and the passenger front hub once. Currently it sounds like the driver side hub is failing again. Only a couple of these repairs were covered in the first 36,000 miles. I have never owned a vehicle with this many mechanical issues in just over 5 years of ownership."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Chuck D on Saturday, February 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "power, overall design and feel"
Cons: "no side door overide,touch screen radio"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Overall design is nice. Has a classy look on inside. Automatic 3 zone heating and air conditioning works great. Power doors and lift gate are good as are the stow and go seats. Wish there was a total manual override for side doors. Engine has plenty of power and perhaps too much off the line. Would have preferred less power and better gas mileage (getting 15.5 in suburban driving). Wish there was more engine braking when lifting off gas. Touchscreen radio cannot be operated with gloves and the steering wheel controls for it are not intuitive. Chrysler's quality record concerns me but no problems yet."
By goaskal on Friday, February 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "reliable comfort"
Cons: "cheap details like floormats"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"No major problems in 52K miles. Needed brakes at about 44K miles and just scheduled service beyond that. Cheap floor mats make poor first impression but seats overcome that deficiency. Gas mileage equals or betters EPA sticker. Plan to drive it for at least another 100 - 200K miles and see no reason to doubt that I can. Engine is Very powerful."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Kyle on Tuesday, February 11, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Going down hill FAST
Pros: "Cheap, lots of luxury features."
Cons: "A break down waiting to happen."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Let me start by saying that we fell in love with the car initially for all the creature comforts and extras it had for much cheaper than its competitors. The motor had lots of power, and the ride was smooth. The interior is well designed and very comfortable. About 70,000 miles in, it started burning oil very rapidly. The drivers side power sliding door failed along with the window, and the heated seat. While in drive, stopped, foot on the brake, the car would shake probably a lot more than it should at idle. Sometimes when we would go to start it, it would take a good five seconds of turning over before it would fire, usually followed by a grinding noise under the hood for a second. When we would crank the wheel all the way left or right it would always give a weird, loud chirping noise. Looking around I found that none of these problems are unique to the car, bad purchase, should have done more research. I likely won't be buying a (newer model) Dodge/Chrysler anytime again soon."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By jj on Sunday, February 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "110,00 miles - no problems. Stow and go very handy"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my 4th mini van. (all chryslers). Planning on buying a new one. The stow and go seating feature is so very handy on lots of occasions. Can handle 7 passengers/ or loads of lumber and full sheets of plywood/sheetrock."
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful