Reviews

2014 Chrysler Town & Country Walk Around

The Chrysler Town & Country is offered in one long-wheelbase body style, and its size is comparable to that of several competitors. Cargo room is comparable as well. Each model comes with two power sliding side doors and a power rear liftgate, all of which are easy to open for moms with armfuls of kids and groceries.

The Town & Country's styling is somewhat boxy, with a pronounced front end that offers a hint of an SUV-like appearance. The roof is wide at the top, also contributing to the boxy look.

Recent styling revisions made it look a little better. Up front, the hood was new, as was the grille and front fascia, which added a chrome strip above the lower air intakes. The grille adopted a new corporate look that also appeared on the Chrysler 300 sedan. Along the sides, the Town & Country got new chrome moldings and available bright polished 17-inch wheels with a different design and painted pockets. At the rear, the glass had more curvature, and a standard roof spoiler aided aerodynamics. The rear added LED taillights, a bright metal step pad, and a chrome trim to strip echo the front end. Visually, the Town & Country has not changed much since those revisions took place.

Each Town & Country includes a roof rack with crossbars that stow in place, to aid aerodynamics when not in use. S editions get a black chrome grille, Chrysler winged badges, black rear steps, 17-inch aluminum wheels with polished faces, and blacked-out headlamp bezels.

Interior

Town & Country's competitive advantage can be found mainly on the inside, where it contains many thoughtful features. Though the interior is attractive, hard plastic still makes up much of the dashboard; but that's the case with almost all vehicles in this class. The dash has a somewhat integrated, flowing look. Door tops are padded, and the materials have a rich look and feel.

Gauges are large and easy enough to read. They use black faces with white numbers and chrome trim. Fully calibrated, the instruments feature nice red pointers and light blue outside markers.

A simple information display sits between the speedometer and tachometer. The instrument panel positions a trip computer between the tachometer and speedometer, which helps make for a useful design.

Mounted on the upper dashboard, the shifter is a bit of a reach. It has a gated design, and take a bit of effort to operate.

The radio/entertainment/navigation system is mounted high on the center of the dashboard for easy access. With any of the systems, the controls are easy to use, but those on the right side are a bit of a reach for the driver. The CD/DVD changer sits low, making it a possible distraction if trying to use it while driving (never a good idea, of course!). The gearshift is easily accessed without taking up room, as it's mounted between the radio and instrument panel.

All radios come with a 30-gigabyte hard drive to hold music files plus GraceNotes music identification. The base radio can hold about 6700 songs, while the higher-end radio can hold about 4250 songs because some of the space is devoted to navigation map information. The first step-up navigation system is an integrated Garmin unit, and the high-end nav system has voice recognition, Sirius Travel Link and Sirius Traffic. Songs can be ripped from CDs, and music and pictures can also be downloaded from thumb drives via a standard USB port.

The steering wheel contains controls for the trip computer, phone, audio system, cruise control, and, when ordered, navigation system. The trip computer controls are especially welcome. The steering wheel telescopes as well as tilts, making it easier to find an ideal seating position. You can even order a heated steering wheel, which is welcome on cold winter mornings.

The center console is integral instead of removable. It has a deep storage area, a pair of cupholders and a covered shallow tray. A higher-end version has a tray that can be opened from the rear, allowing parents to pass items back to kids. Bottleholders are built into each front door.

Front-seat room and comfort are typical for a minivan. The front captain's chairs afford an upright driving position with an SUV-like view of the road. Headroom is plentiful, and leg space will only be lacking for the tallest drivers. The driver's seat is comfortable, though its cushion is on the harder side, compared to some.

Space also is bountiful in the second row, which is reasonably comfortable, though not as appealing as the buckets in most competitive minivans. The second-row bucket seats don't slide forward and back, but the back folds forward and the seat tips up to allow access to the third row, all with the pull of a lever.

The third-row seat will fit three kids or two adults with room that's par for the class. The third row folds into a well behind it, either manually or by power, to create a flat load floor. With the seat up, the well provides great storage for groceries, with 33 cubic feet of space. Overall interior and cargo volume is class competitive. With all the seats down, Town & Country has a spacious 143.8 cubic feet of cargo volume and can accommodate a 4×8 sheet of plywood. There's still 83.3 cubic feet with the rear seat folded.

Finally, the Town & Country has a number of entertainment features in addition to the radios. It offers single and dual rear DVD entertainment options. The single screen is located in the second row. The dual-screen version adds a screen for the third row. With the dual-screen system, one screen can be tuned to TV while the other can play a DVD or video game. Front passengers can listen to the radio while rear occupants watch a DVD or TV. For additional connectivity, Chrysler offers Uconnect Web, a mobile wi-fi router, as a Mopar accessory.

* The advertised price does not include sales tax, vehicle registration fees, other fees required by law, finance charges and any documentation charges.

* Images, prices, and options shown, including vehicle color, trim, options, pricing and other specifications are subject to availability, incentive offerings, current pricing and credit worthiness.

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