By on April 23, 2014

bugs

I last wrote about my 2013 Town and Country S at the end of November when it was just three months old and had only 1500 miles on the clock. At that point the big van had yet to be used for anything more than ‘round the town mommy duties and a single jaunt up to Toronto in search of a Japanese supermarket, but I reported then that the van was performing flawlessly. Today, eight months later, and thanks in part to a whirlwind road trip that added slightly more than 2000 miles in just four full days of driving, the T&C’s odometer shows 6400 miles and I have greater insight into the vehicle’s true nature. Naturally, it’s time for an update.

I am a veteran road-tripper. I began as a child, riding in the back seat of one my father’s many Oldsmobiles and I can tell you from brutal experience what it is like to be locked in a car with your brothers and sisters for days on end. Fortunately, my Kodachrome-colored memories of the ‘70s have little in common with the way families travel today and the Town & Country S is a true product of a better, brighter era. Chrysler offers a great deal of technology on all their vans, sometimes standard and sometimes at an additional cost, and one of the particular advantages of the S model is that, among other things, it already comes equipped with a Blue Ray DVD player and two overhead flat screen monitors. To be honest, had the video system not been included as a part of the package that netted me a swankier interior and better looking wheels, it is not something I would have paid extra to purchase at the time, but now that I have it I can’t imagine living without it.

Back

DVD players in cars rival sliced bread for the title of the greatest thing ever invented. Unlike my childhood road trips where, other than fighting with my siblings, the sole form of entertainment consisted entirely of a game where you tried to make the alphabet out of the letters on other cars’ license plates, my kids were treated to a non-stop, four day long Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks animation film festival. Because I don’t mind listening to movies while I drive, I usually play the DVD audio tracks over the stereo system, but for those times I would rather listen to something else Chrysler was thoughtful enough to include two pairs of nice, wireless headphones that work with the DVD system, something that makes it possible for the kids watch movies in the back while the adults enjoy the radio up front. That to me is a real have your cake and eat it too kind of feature and all I can say is “Hooray for technology!”

While my precious, human cargo rode in comfort and silence, I was able to focus on the overall driving experience and my impressions are mostly positive. On the open road the T&C was strong and smooth and although there were no mountain passes upon which to test the vehicle’s climbing prowess between Buffalo and Kansas City, which we visited last week in preparation for our impending move, I found there was always plenty of power on tap whenever I put my foot down. Fuel mileage too was more than satisfactory thanks to the “Eco” mode and, at the end of our trip, the computer showed I averaged an impressive 28 miles per gallon despite the fact that I paid zero attention to maximizing our mileage.

This is the first time I have used the eco button and although I had read nothing about how the system works, I noticed right away that it affected how the van shifted. This was most noticeable on hills when the vehicle’s speed was being maintained by the the cruise control. Without fail, as we began to ascend any grade longer than a few hundred feet, our speed would fall off by three or four miles per hour and the engine would bog until the RPMs went so low as to force a downshift. Then, when the transmission finally kicked down into a lower gear, the engine would roar to life and send the vehicle charging furiously back up to speed before up-shifting yet again and starting the whole process over. This led to an odd sort of leap frogging effect where I would pass cars on the flat only to end up slowing down in front of them whenever we reached any kind of a hill. Then, when the other cars pulled out to pass, the van would downshift and we would end up tearing away again before they could get around us. Frankly, I found this effect annoying and I could tell by the way that other cars crawled right up my backside every time it happened that the drivers around me did too. Eventually, I solved the problem by using the gas pedal to force the engine to kick down sooner and that worked well enough but, truth be told, I would rather have set the speed and then not had to worry about it at all. It would be nice if Chrysler could adjust this with some sort of software update.

With power, economy and the kids all taken care of, the only other thing I can really report on is how the big van felt from the driver’s seat. The last time I drove west of the Mississippi I was in my 300M and the Town & Country compares more than favorably to Chrysler’s other high end offerings. The seats were comfortable and offered more than enough adjustability to ease the aches and pains that cropped up from time to time and I enjoyed spending time in them. Still essentially brand new, there were no annoying squeaks or rattles I can report and I also found that wind noise was non-existent at any virtually speed. I will say that different pavements introduced different vibrations and different tire noises into the cabin but never at a level that caused any real distraction so, overall, from a comfort standpoint, the T&C is great.

kids

Suspension wise the S model’s sport tuned suspension walks that fine line between firm and jarring in a way the sport tuned suspension on my 300M Special never could. The big van holds the road and inspires confidence without sacrificing comfort. Where the 300M had a tendency to follow tar snakes, ruts and other imperfections in the pavement, the T&C never leaves you fighting for control although, thanks to its higher profile, it is more affected by gusts.

At the end of our second day, with almost 8 full hours of driving behind us and a bare ten miles from our goal, the skies turned dangerously black and it began to rain absolute buckets. The roads turned into rivers and I quickly switched to local radio in order to hear any emergency weather bulletins. The news was not good and there, near the point of exhaustion, on strange roads and with limited visibility, I began to worry just a little for the safety of my family. But the big Chrysler simply shrugged off everything that nature could throw at it and, as the navigation unerringly guided us towards our destination, my fears quickly abated. The vehicle worked so well that there was nothing to take my attention away from the road and, I realized, there was simply nothing to worry about.

In the end, smooth, worry-free operation is what you want from a family vehicle and today, almost eight months after purchasing the Town and Country, I still find the van’s poise and confidence on the road to be utterly remarkable. It is joy to drive and this latest road trip has only strengthened my belief that I have chosen the right vehicle for my family. I simply could not want anything else at this point and, as I tend to keep my vehicles for many years, I am convinced that the T&C will carry us wherever we want, near or far, in style, comfort and safety for a long time to come.

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Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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55 Comments on “Town And Country Update: Road Trip...”


  • avatar
    andyinatl

    I’ve been resisting DVDs in my vehicles for long time. It seems to me that all these cars with slits for side windows (not so much the minivans, but most of the modern SUV/CUVs) and DVD players, are meant to turn kids into road trip haters. It’s encouragement of the “car as an A to B transportation” type of thinking, where what you see/encounter on the road trip doesn’t matter. This is why two of my current vehicles are 03 LX470 and Volvo V70, both cars with normal windows that a kid can see out of. All this rant aside, i realize that this is probably not making me popular with my kids, but oh well; hopefully it will work out in the long term :-)

    • 0 avatar
      noxioux

      I have to agree. Convenience is nice, but we’re all forgetting that coping with things that suck make us better people down the road. Maybe if kids had to make up games or entertain themselves, they might drive you crazy on those long trips, but they might not grow up as mindless little zombies.

      That being said, if I ever had to buy a minivan, I think it would be a loaded up Town & Country.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        noxioux: “Convenience is nice, but we’re all forgetting that coping with things that suck make us better people down the road. Maybe if kids had to make up games or entertain themselves, they might drive you crazy on those long trips, but they might not grow up as mindless little zombies.”

        +1

        We always took along pencils, paper, any homework necessary, books, Mad-Libs, small games and maps. They started looking at the map, figuring out what was ahead and working out what time we’d get there. The older ones would help the younger ones with the math. Mom and I controlled the stereo but Day 2 was the day we broke out the “Weird Al” tapes and, later, discs.

        I can’t imagine travelling with a DVD player. Nowadays, we empty-nesters save up “Car Talk” podcasts for a trip. Not sure what we’ll do with the grandchildren (if and when) but I don’t think DVDs will be involved.

        • 0 avatar

          You old farts sound like my dad…

          • 0 avatar
            thats one fast cat

            The above commenters must not have children, or not children that I have ever met.

            My three children, in our T&C Limited, shout “Viva la DVD!”

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            tofc,

            I’ve got 4. And, for a while, we were doing an annual car trip to visit the relatives of about 3.5K miles r/t. We also took some extra trips West, typically 4K miles r/t. And the kids were pretty good about the travelling.

            Thomas K,

            You, kids! Get off my lawn!

      • 0 avatar
        WildcatMatt

        I have a four month old, and I worry about the long-term effects of dependence on digital devices of all kinds, especially when it comes to young kids.

        I see the value of having some in-car infotainment options, especially for what I’d call “forced march” trips where you have to cover a large distance in a short period with minimal stops. When I was a kid my folks took the middle seat out of our Aerostar and played movies on the 12v TV and portable VCR while going Chicago to Miami in two days. This indeed kept everyone sane.

        But when I’m out running errands I frequently see parents who strap the kids into their car seats, jam headphones on them, and fire up the DVD player in one smooth motion — just for the 10 mile trip home from Target.

        Yeah, the ankle biters are kept quiet, but it creates an experience that’s supremely insular in nature. If this happens every time they get in the car, there’s no engagement with anything outside the little world fed by headphones and a screen. They’re not looking out the window, they’re not talking about what happened at school, they’re not making up games with their siblings, or even just sitting and letting their imaginations run. And if they come to expect being entertained in this fashion when they travel, then taking a trip by bus, plane, or train becomes excruciating for everyone because the kid won’t know how to cope.

        I try not to judge when I see this — for all I know the kids are homeschooled by a stay-at-home mom and the trip to and from Wegmans is the only quiet time she gets all day. And as the kids get older I also understand wanting to put on headphones and listen to what they want to as a mark of independence.

        TL;DR
        In-car entertainment is like any other technology. It has its uses but over-reliance upon it has unintended consequences which many people don’t consider.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Personally, I would pay any price when travelling on any form of transportation to have devices that keep children occupied and QUIET.

      I actually gave my tablet to some strangers brat on a plane once to shut the little monster up for a couple hours. I happened to have a couple kid appropriate movies loaded on it. Well worth the risk.

      No, I do not have nor will I ever have children of my own. My genes stop here. Probably best for the race. :-)

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        krhodes1: “I actually gave my tablet to some strangers brat on a plane once to shut the little monster up for a couple hours.”

        On behalf of those of us who have kids that are sometimes challenging to manage in public places, thanks. I think.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Both my daughter (12) and son (4) are car enthusiasts and we have a portable dual screen DVD player for long trips. It really is a good way to keep them entertained and they can still look out the windows when there is something interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      A friend of mine is one of those guys who first got married out of high school and had a coupe of kids almost immediately. His mom and her husband live in Minneapolis and he said that back then, he and his then wife would be so stressed out after driving there from Toledo, that he actually thought about suicide a couple of times. Flash forward 35 years, he has a different wife, an 8 year old kid, and an 8 year old half brother that his dad produced at the ripe old age of 79 that travel with him a lot (The kids are best buds), and his main issue is falling asleep from boredom. Those kids are basically hypnotized from start to finish, except for bathroom and food stops. When the DVD system went bonkers in his last T&C (After it was “fixed” from a bad wreck)he said the trip from Minneapolis to Toledo was like a trip back to the hell of his drives from the past. One time, we took my non DVD equipped car on a trip to look at an old car (’71 Roadrunner, and yes, he bought it) and the hour drive each way was a never ending stream of complaints from the back seat, and shock that my car didn’t have any DVD screens on the back of the seats. My dogs would have been the only ones watching them if I did get them. I wanted to slap the crap out of both of them by the time we got there. The ride back was slightly better as they were excited about the car their dad/brother was going to buy and they would ride in once in a while.

  • avatar
    C. Alan

    I have a 2011 Grand Caravan with the optional dual DVD player setup. I also have five kids ranging in ages from 2 to 11. We do long road trips at least once per year between Texas and California. When we replaced our last mini-van after 5 years of service, having a good rear seat entertainment center was pretty important to me. This is a battle I think Chrysler is winning hands down compared to Honda and Toyota. I love the dual screen setup with two DVD players. I can set up a movie for the older kids in the back row, with their audio going only to their headphones, and have something different running for the younger kids in the second row captains chairs, with their audio coming over the car speakers. It makes the 20 hour drive alot more bearable.

  • avatar
    Glenn Mercer

    Ah, the very rare Town and Coutry! A worthy rival to the Oyssey and the Siena (wait, that didn’t work, somehow…).

    Thanks for reading, you know I just LIVE to correct spelling erors. Off to the New Yrok Times website now….

    • 0 avatar

      Ah, the title – the one place spell check doesn’t work. You make the world a better place one correction at a time, Glenn.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Tom, a very late response here; I had a strong sense you were going to really like the T&C or GC & not regret your purchase once you started letting TTAC readers know the qualities and attributes you were seeking in a family vehicle.

        I’m very glad things seem to be confirming the soundness of your purchase thus far.

        I, for one, am really impressed with the value and quality of three Chrysler vehicles, in particular, as I do not believe any other manufacturer offers as much solidity, features and positive qualities (chassis rigidity, ride quality, quiet interior, transmission response and smoothness, and fantastic V6 PENTASTAR) for anywhere near the value: 1) Grand Caravan/T&C, 2) 300/Charger, 3) Dodge Durango (which I could see myself buying ultimately if I had to buy a new vehicle and went with an automatic for the 1st time in many years).

  • avatar
    dmchyla

    We own a 2013 T&C Touring (non-S), same color as yours. Coincidentally, we took a road trip from WI to the mountains of NC, near Asheville, last month. My impressions are much the same as yours. We didn’t have great traveling weather on the way down, but the T&C shrugged it off and inspired confidence on the road. I turned off Eco mode once we started getting into the hills through Kentucky and we still showed almost 27 mpg at the end of the day. We stayed overnight in Lexington on the way down and hit the mountains on the second day. The Pentastar had more than enough power to lug the van, 3 kids, a spouse, and what seemed like 1/3 of our belongings up and over the mountains. There was an 800′ vertical climb between the main road and the house we rented, and a narrow mountain road, barely two lanes, with plenty of switchbacks and dropoffs. This was no problem for the van, either. Having the Autostick up by the wheel was very handy. I got to push it a little the couple of times I was in the van by myself. Yes, I still wish I had a Miata to run those roads, but the van was no penalty box. The return trip was uneventful, we finally had some good weather, a 12-hour drive straight through was fine. I’m not really a MoPar fan, this is the first Chrysler I have ever owned, but I have to say, they did a great job on this van.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    The yo-yo effect I’ve seen on other normally-aspirated gasoline-engined vehicles programmed for maximum fuel economy. The problem is that a gasoline engine is most fuel efficient when operated at an engine speed well below its torque peak. So the speed control programming is programmed to resist downshifting which, while it will generate adequate power to move the vehicle at the chosen speed, uses more fuel doing it.

    One reason why people like diesels so much is that, at highway speeds, their engine is operating near its torque peak, so no down-shifting is required to supply additional power when needed. Just add fuel as needed.

    Turbocharged engines do pretty much the same thing. My old Saab 9-5 engine spins at a little less than 2000 rpm at 65 mph; but if you set the cruise control for that speed it just crams in more boost on upgrades rather than downshift out of top gear. You can see what’s going on with the boost gauge. By contrast, my normally aspirated Honda Pilot, whose engine develops almost the same nominal horsepower (but also is pushing a heavier, less aerodynamic vehicle pops out of top gear almost constantly at that same road speed. And it doesn’t take too much of a grade to have it pop down two gears, spinning the engine up to 3700 rpm. Fortunately, the cruise control programming favors maintaining a constant speed over fuel economy, so it doesn’t yo-yo.

  • avatar
    mjz

    The perfect vehicle if you can only have one. It does everything well.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    People diss these not-so-minivans, but if you have a family to haul, they are great, vastly better than any similar sized SUV or CUV.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Hey Thomas (or anyone else), do you know if a motorcycle would fit in the back of a T&C or Caravan? A Honda VTX to be specific.

    • 0 avatar

      The VTX 1800 is huge. I see on line that it is 99.1 inches long – that’s 8 feet 4 inches. You’d have a hard time getting that in the back of most full size pickups these days.

      My guess is that if you somehow got it in, you couldn’t get the lift gate closed. You could do what I did when I owned my K5 Jummy though, tow your bike on a trailer.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Eh, my dad bought a bike that is here, and needs to get it there (1400 kms away)… I was going to tow it to him, but apparently the Verano Turbo isn’t recommended to tow even class 1.

        I thought a 1 way minivan rental might work.

        Its a VTX 1300, btw.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          EDIT because the comment editor denied my edit request.

          1 way Cargo van rentals are available, but they charge mileage as well as fuel (based on my research so far).

          Minivans tend to have unlimited kms for roughly the same price, which is why I am exploring the option.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          Sounds like an opportunity for an adventure to me. i rode a Honda NT600 from Chicago to Brooks, Alberta, and then to Atlanta over a couple of weeks. You could knock out 1400 km in two days.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Sadly, that’s not really an option at the moment. Its a matter of both experience, and free time. Basically, I’ll drive it straight through, have a home cooked meal, then fly home. Or he will fly out, I’ll torture him with a home cooked meal, and he will drive straight through. Some sort of 4 wheel vehicle is in the cards.

    • 0 avatar
      dmchyla

      I doubt it, you would be short on both height and length, and there really aren’t any tie-downs that would be suitable. I doubt the cargo floor would stand up to a 600 lb bike.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Most bikes will be both too tall and too wide at the handlebars to fit in a minivan. Quite honestly, they’re too nice inside to put something like a motorcycle in them anyway, and there’s nothing good to use as tiedown points eiter.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    How accurate is the mileage computer?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    A friend back in the 1990′s set up a 12″ TV w/VCR built in. He used that for his family on road trips, and I suppose it worked good for him.

    Us? Our kids read books, looked out the window and slept. Our daughter for a few years after moving to Cincinnati kept a list of “red minivans” of the Chrysler type, because I wanted one during our many trips back-and-forth to STL. She also kept a list of road kill on a trip to Arkansas one year!

    Me? Back in the day, we listened to Cardinal baseball games on the car radio when we had one that worked, I looked out the window, stuck my head out the window like a dog to keep cool on hot summer Sunday drives with mom & dad before and during my early teen years. I never got bored, but we never took real long trips, either.

    • 0 avatar

      Back in the day we weren’t belted in and could move around. You could put your head out the window, spend time in the rear facing seat and switch out for a window in the middle row if you wanted.

      These days, kids are stuck there in the harness. Unless they have a bag full of activities in their lap there isn’t any recourse. Even if they have stuff, half the time it falls on the floor and is out reach. It has to be miserable.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        When I was a child, we used to take two long trips per year. Back then in-car entertainment was pretty much limited to AM radio, then later 8 track tapes. Out on the road, you’d burn through radio stations quickly, and you couldn’t carry all that many 8 tracks, so it got pretty quiet rather quickly. If you’re small, you can’t see out the window all that well, as those were pre-booster seat days. (pre-seat belt as well) Not that there was all that much to see, once you’ve seen 200 or so soybean and corn fields, you’ve seen them all. Also when you’re a child, time passes much more slowly, so those three or four hour legs passed indeterminately slowly. Needless to say, as soon as our children were old enough to travel, we got a portable VHS player, then a portable DVD player, then the built in system. Now that our children are older, they just take their iPads and phones and use them.

        If you’re wanting your children to become bright, engaged young adults, that process is going to happen when you are able to interact with them, in their schools, and in their activities, not while they’re parked it a car seat waiting to get somewhere. Don’t be mean, get them a DVD player.

      • 0 avatar
        jim brewer

        Good point. I hadn’t considered that. When I was a kid I remember on our 2,000 mile cross country trips, that we would immediately get on our knees and hang over the front seat listening to Mom and Dads’ conversation. I don’t know why it would have been so fascinating for an eight year old.

        Parents in those days would typically gather together a collection of coloring books and other playthings for the back of the station wagon, the floor of which would typically be covered with some foam rubber or some such into a kind of playpen. Easier to entertain kids when they aren’t wearing seat belts.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    ” I began as a child, riding in the back seat of one my father’s many Oldsmobiles ”

    You sat? I stood on the rear transmission hump of our ’59 Olds Super 88, so I could see over the front seats (I was 2 when it was purchased). I eventually wore out the carpet on the hump. No seatbelts back then of course, not until our ’64 Riviera. It was a different time.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, I was small enough I could wedge myself between the seatback of the rear facing seat in the very back (that folded out from the floor) and the second row seatback. There was a little triangle of space there and enough room for my neck to stick up in the gap between the seats.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Where’s Jackie B. to tell us that the PentaStar is simply one of the world’s best engines?

  • avatar
    wmba

    The Econo button generally only allows 40 to 50% of full throttle, thereby enforcing a milquetoast torque output from the engine. That’s what happens in my car. If the hills are so steep that the powertrain cannot supply the torque required to maintain speed with only 40% of maximum throttle, then the vehicle will slow down.

    Solution: turn off the Econo mode and return to normal, where full throttle can actually happen. If it slows down after that, then we can discuss whether downshifts are unnecessarily delayed.

    Seems pretty obvious. My owner’s manual suggests that Econo be used for flat highway runs and in town if you are trying to maximize fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      dmchyla

      That’s not quite what happens in the T&C. It does not change WOT behavior. It does change shift points and schedule. The PCM will try to hold a higher gear for as long as possible. It will also skip gears, so where accelerating to 40 mpg might normally go 2-3-4, in Eco mode it will go 2-4-5. It will also hold 6th with torque converter locked on the freeway for much longer.

  • avatar
    marmot

    I’m glad your van is doing well, but I want to caution your readers to check Consumer Reports before buying one of these for themselves based on your very limited experience. There are few choices that are worse. A used Sienna for the same price would be a far better buy when the long term is considered.

    • 0 avatar
      koshchei

      You need to provide some supporting evidence to back up your FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt). What should readers watch out for? What’s problematic? In what way do people need to worry about long term ownership? Provide supporting non-anecdotal documentation.

      I don’t claim to be impartial; we bought one this past summer. We cross shopped the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, and Nissan Quest. The Chrysler was a lot better than all but the Odyssey. Ultimately, Jack Baruth’s review and the fact that the T&C is made in Canada sealed it for us. So far, no problems whatsoever on our 2013. The only thing I’m not 100% thrilled with is that the transmission shifts harshly in -20 and colder weather. Other than that, couldn’t be better.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      When is a used Sienna ever the same price as a comparable Caravan/T&C? Isn’t there a big time Toyota/Honda minivan price premium? When I look at Autotrader, a used 2011 Odyssey with 80K miles is going for $3K more than a certified 2013 Town & Country Touring-L with 11K miles. Thats a lot less miles and money.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Right. I could sort of understand why a Honda or Toyota minivan would have commanded a premium over a Chrysler-branded one (and definitely Ford and GM minivans). The older ones felt like they were built to a price because of materials-quality and such. But there’s not really a gap these days. And the Chryslers certainly aren’t less reliable, even with the newer Pentastar engine. I suppose the refreshed Odyssey *does* now have dual infotainment screens, so that’s one feature advantage. But it’s mostly perceived image and durability. If there’s one thing Chrysler does especially well at, it’s the minivan.

      • 0 avatar
        C. Alan

        I think half the reason that used Caravans are so cheap is because the market is flooded with ex-rental units. I purchased one of about a year ago, and have been very happy with it.

        I think Toyota really dropped the ball on their last re-design. They really messed up the middle seat configuration, and put rails in the floor so you could adjust the middle seats. I took one look at it and realized those rail channel would become nothing but FOD traps.

        Are the Toyotas more reliable? They might be, but I don’t think that justifies the premium the dealers are asking.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Barkers

      Agree that you need to back this claim up with data (spare us the “I knew a guy…”). I’ve owned the fully loaded 13 Grand Caravan for just over a year now and it’s been fantastic. The true test will come in years 3 – 5, but so far so good.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Indeed, the Town & Country is a splendid vehicle. My only complaint is that projector-beam headlamps (if not necessarily HIDs) aren’t standard. It’s a feature that would help distinguish it further from its cheaper Dodge and Ram-branded sisters.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      I agree. Making leather standard (99% sure they did) is a great way to distinguish it from Dodge and something other brands (Buick) seriously need to do.

      • 0 avatar
        dmchyla

        Leather seats are standard. Leather steering wheel cover too. Mine is a “base” Touring model, the only option on mine is the towing package. Before we bought our T&C, we were at our local auto show, they had a Caravan SXT and a T&C Touring on the floor. My wife hated the Caravan but loved the T&C. The LED interior lighting, leather and touches of chrome really give it a premium feel.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Buick absolutely does need to make leather standard, especially in cars that are similar to their other GM brethren. The Regal and Verano might be suitably distinguished from their Chevy siblings just from styling and engine-choices, but there is little difference between the Encore and the upcoming Trax, or the Acadia and the Enclave.

      • 0 avatar
        koshchei

        I’m pretty sure leather is standard now. We had a devil of a time finding a bare-bones T&C with cloth seats (two Siberian Huskies combined with a loathing of the too-hot/too-cold nature of leather in our extremely variable climate).

        Not sure how I feel about projector headlamps – in terms of safety, both halogen and HID need to meet established safety regulations, so it’s a wash there. The only advantage is the snob appeal of blinding oncoming traffic at night and a more expensive looking apparatus during the day. Ultimately, the conclusion I reached was that a minivan is a rolling breadbox, and more expensive-looking headlights don’t do anything to change that, so not worth the added cost.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Hope they fix the dodgy cruise control, sounds very annoying. 28 mpg is pretty impressive for a vehicle with this cargo capacity and power.

    • 0 avatar
      EMedPA

      That mileage isn’t a fluke, either. I got the same schlepping 6 adults and luggage from Albany NY to Dover DE. The T&C devours Interstate miles like nobody’s business.

    • 0 avatar
      koshchei

      If you’re actually trying, you can break 8.0L/100km on highway. City seems to be in the 12-14L/100km range depending on snow tires and surface conditions.

      Eco mode is dreadful below 60km/h – shifts are choppy and performance is abysmal. It’s a positive godsend on highways though — it feels no different and seems to make a pretty significant difference in fuel consumption (~2L/100km).

  • avatar
    GST

    Long road trips in the 50′s and 60′s. For us it meant driving from where ever we lived to Wisconsin in the summer to visit the Grand Parents on both sides. Dad was in the Air Force and did all the driving, Mom always rode in in the right front seat (suicide seat). Dad did not run any A/C when we had it. The three of us kids sat in the back seat doing the alphabet from signs, reading Burma Shave signs, reading signs for Tiny’s apple stand in Cashmere, Washington and reading signs for 1000 miles for Wall Drug, and squabling. My sister, the youngest, had to sit in between my brother and I for obvious reasons. No SUV’s or TC’s, just your average four door cars.

  • avatar
    dont.fit.in.cars

    I’ve learned to respect the GRANDVAN. Long Island New York to Helen GA and back. Snow storm in NC. Throttle took a bit of getting use to but when mastered, enjoyed boxing out the beamers and noting a fellow traveler staring in disbelief a breadbox stuffed his transit line. That said at 31K miles the shocks were worn but overall good kit, comfortable and would rent another.


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