Luxury and "minivan" seem an oxymoronic pairing, but the Chrysler Town & Country minivan puts the lie to that notion. Having undergone a total transformation for the 2011 model year, the 2012 Town & Country is stuffed with features like its Stow 'n Go seating, impressive rear-seat entertainment systems and diffused ambient lighting.
You'll Like The 2012 Chrysler Town & Country If...
If you refuse to accept life's necessities like family transportation and versatile utility without a generous helping of luxury and style, the 2012 Chrysler Town & Country's impressive standard and available features will likely satisfy your needs as well as your desires.
You May Not Like The 2012 Chrysler Town & Country If...
If maximum resale value and an untarnished reputation for bulletproof reliability are your top priorities, you should probably forgo the frills and head to your Honda or Toyota dealer. Only time will tell if Chrysler has mended its ways as much as this minivan's initial impressions suggest.
Heavily revised for 2011 with new styling and the class-leading horsepower of Chrysler's new Pentastar V6, the Town & Country edges higher in refinement for 2012. Leather seating and rear-seat DVD entertainment are now standard on all trim levels.
Chrysler minivans have long been a showcase of innovation, and now the Town & Country offers the refined appearance to match. Soft-touch trim and chrome-trimmed instruments' elegant LED lighting complement standard leather on the first two rows of seats as well as the manually tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Standard power front seats are supportive yet supple, and Chrysler's Stow 'n Go second-row bench remains the industry benchmark, with easy folding and under-floor storage when the seats are in use. The third row can be flipped 90 degrees for tailgate-party seating. It's easy to lose count of the many bins, cubbies and power ports, though a 115-volt household-style outlet is a standout.
Sparkling chrome with sparks of innovation continue to make the Town & Country shine. Its 2011 makeover added the new wave-form chrome grille and jeweled headlights, and 17-inch alloy wheels are standard across the board. All six side windows, the liftgate and both sliding doors are power-operated, with the slider rails concealed between the rear side windows and chrome trim, a styling lesson Honda should learn. The standard roof rack features clever Stow 'n Place crossbars that fold into the side rails when not in use.
If you haven't driven a Town & Country since its transformation in 2011, it's worth some time behind the wheel. The revamped suspension provides excellent road manners, with precise steering, minimal body roll and a velvety ride. Chrysler's new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 has power in reserve and can move a fully loaded Limited model without making you wish for a HEMI V8. The engine and transmission work fairly seamlessly, never feeling overburdened or indecisive, and the dash-mounted gear selector is easy to master. Noise levels inside the Town & Country are quiet enough to make conversation easy among all three rows. Faults are hard to find in the Town & Country, but it's something of a reach to use its touch-screen audio system, and a somewhat wide turning radius makes it feel less nimble in parking lots, especially when compared to the exceptionally tight-turning Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.
The 2012 Chrysler Town & Country Touring has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting close to $30,000; the price will climb to about $42,000 for a fully loaded Limited model. These prices might seem steep when compared with other minivans, but the Town & Country comes very well equipped and offers features not found on its competitors. We expect our Fair Purchase Price to reflect real-world transaction prices – before any available incentives – to be right around sticker price. Despite its relatively new design and improved appeal, the Town & Country does not tend to retain resale value as well as the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.
Chrysler's entry-level 2012 Town & Country Touring comes well-furnished, with 8-way power front seats, power-adjustable pedals, and 3-zone air conditioning. Power windows are featured in all three rows, the rearmost being flip-open vents. The CD/DVD/MP3/SiriusXM audio features a large touch screen, a hard drive and steering-wheel controls, and there is a rear DVD system with a 9-inch screen in the second row. The smooth 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard safety systems include 3-row side-curtain airbags, front side-impact airbags, a driver's knee airbag, electronic stability control, Brake Assist and a rearview camera.
Navigation, proximity keyless entry, a heated steering wheel and a SafetyTec package including Rear Park Assist and Rear Cross Path Detection are among the few options available on the Touring model. Stepping up to the Touring-L adds chrome mirrors and the SafetyTec package as standard, while option choices expand as well, including second-row bucket seats, a third-row DVD screen and a power sunroof. The top-line Limited adds power first- and second-row seats with fancier leather, a power-folding third-row seat, the third-row DVD, xenon headlights, a heated leather-and-wood steering wheel, and the UConnect media system with Bluetooth phone and audio, iPod connectivity and navigation.
In addition to the comprehensive Uconnect infotainment system up front, Chrysler's flagship minivan offers dual, independent rear video screens that allow second- and third-row passengers to watch two different DVD movies, play different video games or even watch the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network Mobile via SiriusXM Backseat TV.
Heated Steering Wheel
A feature offered on no other minivan, this small convenience is greatly appreciated on mornings when the thermometer dips into single digits.
Under the Hood
The Chrysler Town & Country offers a single drivetrain configuration: the new-for-2011 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 teamed with a 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. The Pentastar is easily Chrysler's most enjoyable V6 to date and may even rank as one of the best V6 engines on the market. Smooth, powerful and fairly fuel-efficient, its 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque are a welcome improvement for the Town & Country, allowing it to finally compete with the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. In addition, the Pentastar is Flex Fuel compatible, meaning it can run on a combination of gasoline and E85 ethanol.
283 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (gasoline), 12/18 (E85)
Like the Chrysler Corporation itself, the Town & Country underwent a substantial transformation in 2011, with new front and rear styling, a new engine and suspension, and a vastly improved interior. One of the oldest nameplates in production, the Town & Country name has long evoked fine living, from the jaunty convertibles with real wood body trim in the 1940s and 1950s to the yacht-sized wagons last seen in 1977 to the woody-effect K-car wagons and convertibles of the 1980s. Reborn as a luxury minivan in the 1990s, this is the status the Town & Country holds today, and it retains the class to itself. From its big rear-seat entertainment system to its innovative cabin amenities, the 2012 Chrysler Town & Country remains a standout choice for fine family living on the go.