If it were your wedding anniversary, the 30th would be celebrated with a pearl, or even a diamond. It's a little different in the car world. 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of Chrysler's minivan, so the automaker is celebrating with a uniquely trimmed 30th Anniversary 2014 Town & Country limited edition and a stylish version that joins the lineup.
With more than 13 million sales, 75 minivan-first innovations, and hundreds of awards, the automaker remains the leader of the pack that includes the Toyota Siena, Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest. On sale now, the 2014 Town & Country has 85 segment-exclusive new features.
We joined Chrysler's designers, engineers, marketers and a host of other staff at Chrysler's Proving Grounds, in Chelsea, Mich., where we were able to check out the stunning new 30th anniversary edition and drive the special version that slots in the lineup of Touring, Touring-L and Limited models.
Updated for 2014, this front-wheel-drive minivan seats up to seven and Chrysler says appeals to both Generation X professionals with two or more children and Baby Boomers who have no children at home. Base price begins at $29,995 for the Touring model, while Touring-L is priced at $33,145, and Limited at $39,650; the new S starts at $32,195.
All Town & Country's have standard dual power sliding doors, along with power and heated folding side mirrors. Inside, there's find beautiful craftsmanship and high-quality materials that are soft to the touch. Cool features include front and rear overhead consoles with an observation mirror and sunglasses holder, a removable sliding floor storage bin with cupholders and a power outlet in the back.
Interior trim includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel, with wheel-mounted audio controls; a segment-first heated steering wheel is optional, as is an integrated stowage system for the minivan's roof rails that reduce drag and bring better fuel efficiency when not in use.
The rear seats are reconfigurable, foldable and removable. Stow 'n Go seating has a one-touch fold down feature for easier access to the third row and the segment-first Stow 'n Place roof rack. Limited edition models come with second-row captain's seating, which is also available on the Touring L model.
Notable interior features are the great ergonomics, the use of updated, premium materials and the available super center console that has clever functionality and storage for CDs, DVDs, notepad and wallet and integrated power outlets, as well as easy driver/passenger access with a pass-through storage space for larger items, like a purse. We love the trim rings in the console that glow an ambient blue-green color, an aid in finding items at night.
Power comes from a 3.6-liter V-6 making 283 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque matched to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Chrysler says this Pentastar engine gets best-in-class horsepower and fuel economy of 17 miles per gallon in the city, 25 on the highway; the Fuel Economizer mode allows drivers to choose between standard and fuel-saving shift calibrations. Sixteen-inch wheels and four-wheel power-assist disc brakes with ABS are standard.
We drove the 2014 Town & Country S. It gets a trim that adds contrast to the minivan's typically bright exterior treatment, as a high degree of black interior and exterior treatments give the S minivan a classy look.
We drove the S on a test track located on the proving grounds. It has a variety of pavement surfaces and even areas of banking that help evaluate suspension. We first observed the quietness of this minivan, which has been improved for 2014, as well as its high-command seating and great visibility to all sides.
We had plenty of power on tap, with shifting taking place in a seamless format, and especially liked the tight-feel, well-weighted steering and the performance suspension that adds a higher level of handling dynamics and a comfortable ride. Motion is scrubbed smoothly with great brakes.
Of note are the available industry-exclusive Blu-Ray player, that comes with HDMI input for video game systems, navigation, SiriusXM Radio and SiriusXM Travel Link, plus leather seats and a sharper-resolution rear-seat DVD player that are standard on all models. The Town & Country is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick, with more than 40 available safety and technology features, like trailer-sway damping and SafetyTec, which bundles a collection of leading safety features like a ParkView rear backup camera, Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection.
2014 CHRYSLER TOWN & COUNTRY S
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 7-passenger FWD minivan
BASE PRICE____________________ $32,195 (as tested: $32,965)
MOTOR TYPE___________________24-valve V-6 w/SMPFI
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 283 at 6400 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)________________ 260 at 4400 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 6-speed automatic
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 202.8 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb)___39.1 ft.
CURB WEIGHT__________________ 4,652 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 20.0 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway