The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country is an upscale version of the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan (Base MSRP: $23,995 to $30,695). Luxurious, spacious and family-friendly, the Town & Country is always a top seller in this segment. The Town & Country's base price is similar to that of its main competitors, the 2011 Honda Odyssey (Base MSRP: $28,075 to $43,250) and 2011 Toyota Sienna (Base MSRP: $25,060 to $40,570), but even at its most expensive and option-laden the Town & Country is a relative bargain. Still, Edmunds.com thinks the Chrysler "lacks some of the refinement found in the Honda and Toyota."
Every vehicle in this segment underwent a signifiant overhaul for the 2011 model year, and the Town & Country's evolution is evident. While the minivan has gone structurally unchanged, the exterior design has been heavily revamped, the suspension is improved and a new V6 engine powers all trim levels. The aesthetic and tactile differences make for what Scott Burgess of the Detroit News calls a "makeover as thorough as they come" that gives the Town & Country the "look and feel of something special." Motor Trend editors say the updates are good enough to make the Chrysler a game changer. The minivan "feels significantly more refined and responds more crisply" than its predecessor, they say, calling it "a player again."
Chrysler's updates to the 2011 Town & Country's mechanicals improve the driving experience. Edmunds.com editors say the "nicely calibrated suspension" is a welcome change, while Motor Trend likes the steering feel, noticing a "nimble turn in that's superior to some of Chrysler's sedans."
The interior also receives praise. It is "much improved in appearance and material quality," notes Motor Trend. Edmunds.com editors say the new design and ugraded materials on the dashboard, doors and consoles make the cabin feel richer and "downright posh." Cars.com's Mike Hanley thinks the Town & Country is more luxurious than the Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest. Also notable inside the minivan are Chrysler's signature Stow 'n' Go second-row captains chairs, which fold flat into the cargo floor. They're also more comfortable for 2011, reviewers say.
The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country is available in three trim levels. Touring models start with 16-inch wheels, automatic lights and windshield wipers, cloth upholstery, a six-speaker stereo, a backup camera, touch-screen media center and satellite radio. Touring L variants upgrade to 17-inch wheels and include auto-dimming headlights, remote start, leather seating surfaces, heated front seats and second and third row window shades. Top-of-the-line Town & Country Limited models add xenon headlights, keyless entry and ignition, upgraded leather, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, rear seat DVD entertainment system with two screens, Sirius Backseat TV with 30 channels and a nine-speaker audio system.
Some upper-level standard equipment is available on other trims as optional equipment. Dual sunroofs and a power-folding third row are range-wide options. The third-row seats can also be arranged to serve as tailgating chairs, which pleases several editors. Second-row seating is spacious enough for adults, but the rearmost seats should be reserved for tinier folk.
Chrysler unified the engine choice on the 2011 Town & Country (as well as the Dodge Grand Caravan), and Motor Trend says the new combination is quieter than the outgoing configurations. The only available powerplant is a 283-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. The V6 is flex-fuel compatible and will run on gasoline or E85 ethanol. On gas, the Chrysler minivan achieves an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. Drivers who fill the tank with E85 will only see an estimated 12 mpg city, 18 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined.
The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country will most likely see much family-toting duty, so safety is a big concern. Standard equipment on all trim levels includes antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front airbags for front-seat occupants, a driver side knee airbag, curtain airbags for all three rows, a blind-spot warning system and rear cross-path detection, which alerts the driver when a vehicle is crossing the van's path from either direction as it's backing up. A rear-view camera is also available with one of the higher-spec touch-screen radios. The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country hasn't been tested under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's more stringent crash-test regimen yet. It does earn the best rating of Good in front- and side-impact tests at the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. IIHS has not yet evaluated the Chrysler van's roof strength.
AOL Autos is a good bet for detailed information on specifications, available equipment and trim levels. Edmunds.com and Cars.com both offer thorough and straightforward reviews and succinct rundowns of the Town & Country's various iterations. Motor Trend provides an enthusiast's perspective on the minivan experience and opinions on day-to-day Town & Country livability. A Detroit News review explains the ups and downs of minivan ownership. Government fuel-economy estimates and crash-test results are available at FuelEconomy.gov and SaferCar.gov, respectively. Several comparison tests that include the 2011 Chrysler Town & Country are also included in the sources for ConsumerSearch's full report on minivans.
1. AOL Autos
AOL Autos has a handy and intuitive interface that allows shoppers to compare several different vehicles based on their options, pricing and equipment.
Review: 2011 Chrysler Town & Country, Editors of AOL Autos
Edmunds.com editors' always-credible reviews are simple but complete, covering everything from trim levels and specifications, to new features and driving impressions.
Review: 2011 Chysler Town and Country, Editors of Edmunds.com
3. Motor Trend
Motor Trend's review of the 2011 Town & Country is heavy on comparison -- both with previous Town & Country models and with its current in-class competition.
Review: First Test: 2011 Chrysler Town & Country Touring, Kim Reynolds, Dec. 28, 2010
4. The Detroit News
Scott Burgess writes about the general draw of the minivan segment and then segues into his opinions on the Town & Country, which are overwhelmingly favorable. The revamped Town & Country "has the feel and look of something special," says Burgess.
Review: 2011 Chrysler Town and Country, Scott Burgess, Jan. 6, 2011
Mike Hanley's review focuses on the Chrysler Town & Country's comfort level and proclaims its more expensive rivals from Honda and Nissan to be less luxurious overall.
Review: 2011 Chrysler Town & Country, Mike Hanley, March 2, 2011
The government's mileage ratings for the 2011 Chrysler Town & Country's 3.6-liter, flex-fuel V6 are 12 mpg city, 18 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined when running on E85 ethanol and 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined when burning gasoline.
Review: 2011 Chrysler Town & Country, Editors of FuelEconomy.gov