If you can believe it, we’re no strangers to the charms of the minivan here at Speed:Sport:Life. Sure, our interests might lean heavily toward the performance end of the automotive scale, but that’s not to say we can’t see the value presented by a wholly functional vehicle. The right tool for the job, you could say. And if hauling five or more humans in comfort is a challenge that’s regularly presented to you (and you’re unwilling to part with the $50k+ often required by a top-of-the-line 7-seat SUV) then there’s little reason to look elsewhere: a minivan is what you need.
If Chrysler’s recently unveiled 5-year product plans are to be believed, fans of the current Dodge Caravan will need to snap one up quick, because it’s the Town & Country seen here that will solely carry the torch for Chrysler Group minivans moving forward. And though this platform has a good number of years under its belt, it still feels fresh enough.
We drove one of the ChryCo vans not so long ago – a Grand Caravan SXT Blacktop edition – and the equipment and driving characteristics are mirrored here almost exactly. Thanks to the installation of the 283-hp PentaStar V6 and six-speed automatic transmission a few years ago, it can still hang with the best in the class when it comes to power. It’ll also return 22.3 miles per gallon of regular for your troubles, even in mostly city conditions. Expect solid mid-20s on the highway.
It’s neither glamorous nor sexy, but for the duty with which it’s tasked, it performs admirably every single time. A comfortable interstate cruiser with the passenger and cargo space of a Nimitz-class supercarrier, the Town & Country looks set to solider on happily for the company that invented the modern minivan, hopefully for model years to come.
2014 Chrysler Town & Country S
Base price: $33,390
Price as tested: $35,235
Options on test car: SafetyTec Group (blind spot monitoring, rear park assist, rain-sensing wipers) – $1,845
Powertrain: 3.6-liter V6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive – 283 horsepower, 260 lb-ft torque
S:S:L-observed fuel economy: 22.3 mpg