2013 Chrysler Town and Country Review:
The 2013 Chrysler Town and Country can change minds faster than enhanced interrogation.
Take the subject of dream cars. In that category, I suspect most folks rate minivans somewhere above a Yugo GVX but below a Chevy Vega.
Ahhh, but then one of these people-haulers shows up in the driveway early Thanksgiving week, just as a cross-state family junket looms, and you find that it effortlessly accommodates your 2-year-old granddaughter in her child safety seat, the kiddo’s mom and dad, grandpa and grandma, everyone’s luggage, various and sundry other stuff, plus a medicate-daily cat who has her own list of must-bring paraphernalia and a digital piano, bench and stand for those banished-to-the-garage jam sessions at our Kansas City destination, and suddenly this Town and Country gets your mind right. With its seven-passenger seating and myriad seat-folding configurations, everything and everyone fits – with ease!
This thing is a dream car.
Available in Touring, Touring L, S and Limited trim, every Town and Country is powered by Chrysler’s nifty 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, which, via a six-speed automatic, channels to the front wheels 283 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque.
True, no one buys a minivan for hot performance, but acceleration is peppy enough in town and adequate at-speed.
During cruising, the cabin remains surprisingly quiet considering that a minivan, when you get right down to it, is an aircraft hangar on wheels. Meanwhile, in light of how loaded we had this guy, we were pleased with the 23 mpg it returned in 530 miles of motoring, all but about 30 of which were on the interstate.
For the record, official mpg figures are 17 city/25 hwy/20 combined.
We drove a Limited and enjoyed an embarrassment of luxuries: soft-touch surfaces for elbows and hands; leather, wood and bright-chrome cabin trim; endless power perks (seats, sliding doors, liftgate, mirrors, locks, sun roof and, optionally, even our 70/30-split third row’s folding function); 13 cupholders (at least!); and such standard entertainment features as a satellite radio head unit and two rear DVD video screens.
Regarding that last item, I’m here to tell you, a 2-year-old finds exploring with Dora a lot more interesting than gazing out the window at Missouri’s lovely rolling hills. She can appreciate those later. We appreciated the peace for now.
Only Town and Country’s slightly stingy driver leg room (power-adjustable pedals notwithstanding), moving-van rear styling and lazy cruise control that, depending on terrain, swings as much as 4 mph above or below the set speed, detracted from the overall good vibes.
But if you need to haul people and stuff in convenient comfort, this minivan is a dream car. Who needs a Viper?
(Did I just say that?)
2013 CHRYSLER TOWN AND COUNTRY
TYPE: Seven-passenger minivan
DRIVE FORMAT: Front-wheel drive
BASE PRICE: Touring: $30,990; Touring L: $34,290; Limited: $40,995; S: N/A
PRICE AS DRIVEN: $43,435; Limited with $1,795 Customer Preferred Pkg. 29X (moon roof, power-folding third row, overhead consoles, load-leveling/height-control suspension, more), $650 Uconnect infotainment
ENGINE: 3.6-liter V-6
HORSEPOWER: 283 hp at 6400 rpm
TORQUE: 260 lb.-ft. at 4400 rpm
RECOMMENDED FUEL: Regular
TRANSMISSION: Six-speed automatic
SUSPENSION: Front: independent/Mac struts; rear: twist beam axle/coils
AIR BAGS: Front, front side, all-row side curtain, driver knee
BRAKES: Four-wheel disc with ABS, Brake Assist, electronic stability/traction control
EPA MPG: 17 city/25 hwy/20 combined
WHEELBASE: 121.2 inches
LENGTH: 202.8 inches
CURB WEIGHT: 4,652 lbs.
FUEL TANK: 10.6 gallons
CARGO (behind 3rd row/2nd row/1st row): 33 cu. ft./83 cu. ft./144 cu. ft.
TOWING MAX.: 3,600 pounds
WHERE BUILT: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer living in St. Louis. He also is a regular automotive contributor to Fox 2 KTVI-TV St. Louis. You can e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.