By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.9
Thirty years ago the Chrysler Group created the modern minivan, and five years later it introduced the first luxury one – the Town & Country. Fast-forward to today and the Town & Country retains its mission of being a minivan with maximum amenities. Chrysler's 7-passenger hauler carries a higher base price than competitors such as the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Nissan Quest, but when considering that it comes with niceties like leather seating and a DVD entertainment system to keep the kids occupied, its cost make more sense. Practical and safety features also abound to ease the burden on Mom and Dad, such as Stow `n Go seating and blind-spot monitoring. Add in surprising horsepower, and the Town & Country becomes a minivan you actually want to drive – with or without the family.
If you want the ability to easily load and carry a family and their gear without sacrificing your or the kids' desire for creature comforts, all should find something to like in the 2014 Town & Country minivan. Fathers might find a different joy in boasting about the 283 horsepower under the hood.
If budget considerations take priority over bells and whistles, consider the Dodge Grand Caravan, Kia Sedona or Nissan Quest, which start several thousand dollars below the Town & Country. If you need to carry more than seven people, check out 8-passenger versions of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.
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To celebrate 30 years of making minivans (starting with the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager), Chrysler Group is introducing anniversary editions with special badging and features like Alcantara suede accents.
Driving Impressions If you haven't driven a Town & Country since its 2011 revamp, we recommend some time behind the wheel. The improved suspension offers excellent road manners, and when combined with...... precise steering and minimal body roll equates to a velvety ride. Chrysler's highly respected 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 has power in reserve and can easily move a fully-loaded Limited model. The engine and 6-speed automatic transmission work fairly seamlessly, never feeling overburdened or indecisive, and the dash-mounted gear selector is easy to master. The minivan is quiet enough to make conversation easy among passengers in all three rows. Faults are few in Chrysler's upscale people mover, but among them are a touch-screen audio system that requires quite a reach and a somewhat-wide turning radius that makes the Town & Country feel less nimble in parking lots, especially when compared to the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.
In addition to Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system, every Town & Country comes with digital entertainment in back to keep the kids occupied. Base models boast a DVD player, video screen and wireless headphones, while top-line versions have dual DVD/Blu-ray players with 2nd- and 3rd-row screens. All models have an HDMI input for auxiliary video and gaming devices.
When carrying cargo as precious as kids, safety is the highest priority. Standard on higher trims and optional on lower variants is the SafetyTec Group, which includes blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert to complement the backup camera standard on all Town & Country models.
The 2014 Town & Country has seating for seven across three rows. The second row consists of two captain's chairs and the third row is a 3-passenger bench. Both rear rows feature Chrysler's ingenious Stow 'n Go Seating and Storage system that enable the seats to fold entirely into the floor, resulting in a flat cargo area. The 3rd-row seats can also be flipped outward for tailgating. Premium touches include soft-touch trim, chrome-trimmed instrumentation and standard leather on the first two rows. The standard power front seats are supportive yet supple, and top-line trims have power-adjustable pedals that enable drivers of various heights to find a better fit.Exterior
Conservative lines distinguish the Town & Country from rivals such as the blocky Nissan Quest and Honda Odyssey with its "lightning bold" window treatment. Here, rounded lines and wide glass panels prevail. Power-operated side doors and liftgate simplify loading passengers and cargo. The standard roof rack features clever Stow 'n Place crossbars that fold into the side rails when not in use. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard across the lineup, with the S model features black-painted pockets for a slightly more aggressive look. Still, a tough Chrysler 300 this is not. Models with the 30th Anniversary package feature commemorative badging and polished aluminum wheels.
The Town & Country is available in four trims for 2014: Touring, S, Touring-L, and the top-line Limited. Even at nearly $32,000 a base Touring model offers quite a bit for the money. Along with leather-trimmed seats and a DVD rear-seat entertainment system, this model includes tri-zone climate control, a rearview camera to aid backing up, power front seats, and the Uconnect infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen and 6-speaker audio with a 30-gig hard drive. Top models add features like navigation, a 506-watt sound system, heated 1st- and 2nd-row seats, blind-spot monitoring, and power-folding side mirrors. All models also include seven airbags and a 5-year/100,000-mile roadside-assistance program.
Options and packages for the 2014 Town & Country vary by trim, with some, such as navigation, standard on the top model but optional in lower ones. Others offerings include Mopar's Uconnect Web, which turns the minivan into a Wi-Fi hotspot with Internet access, a sunroof (sadly, still not included as standard equipment even on the $42,000-plus Limited model), a power-folding 3rd-row seat, keyless entry, and a blind-spot monitoring system. Packaged options include the 30th Anniversary Group on Touring-L models, the SafetyTec Group, and a towing prep package that adds load-leveling and height-control suspension along with heavy-duty engine cooling.
A 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission is the sole drivetrain offered on the 2014 Chrysler Town & Country. The Pentastar is easily Chrysler's most enjoyable V6 to date and leads the class in terms of horsepower. All Town & Country models are front-wheel drive (the Toyota Sienna is the only current minivan to offer all-wheel drive). When equipped with the Trailer-tow Prep package, Chrysler's minivan can pull up to 3,600 pounds. In addition to accepting regular unleaded gasoline, the Town & Country's engine is Flex Fuel-compatible, meaning it can run on a combination of gasoline and E85 ethanol.
283 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg (gasoline), 12/18 mpg (E85)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a 2014 Chrysler Town & Country runs from just under $32,000 in base form to roughly $43,000 for a loaded Limited version. When compared to the $21,000 Dodge Grand Caravan or sub-$27,000 Nissan Quest, the entry-level Town & Country Touring model may seem overpriced, but it comes with considerably more standard equipment. To make sure you get the best deal, be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price. Regarding resale value, we expect the Town & Country's residual value to be average, lagging behind the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey.