NEW YORK — An unconventional limousine stopped at the curb of my Manhattan hotel, but I climbed through the right-side sliding door anyway, and slipped laterally into one of two back-seat buckets on the second of three rows.
Settling in for a traffic-bound trek to the airport, I took in the profusion of plush interior elements, smooth ride, and zippy acceleration as we took on the Queens-Brooklyn Expressway to reach LaGuardia by the quickest means possible.
In retrospect, what struck me as unusual about the cushy trip was that my run in limousine luxury defied the stereotypical image of a big conventional sedan and instead substituted that box-on-wheels icon of suburbia car poolers, the minivan.
Give credit to Chrysler's stretched Town & Country minivan — or more specifically, to its new ultimate leather-lined luxury edition, the T&C Limited. What a superior luxury car this minivan makes, refined with fancy comforts, obviously liberated with exacting handling mechanisms and enthusiastic with its power.
The ultimate evolution
It was Chrysler, of course, that minted the first minivan, really a tall station wagon with three rows of seats for seven riders, all in a boxy package that resembled a van but emulated the driving manners of a conventional family sedan. Chrysler did it first, and for a long time, it did it best.
A dramatic remake of Chrysler's minivan for the 1996 model-year produced stunning improvements with new people-pleasing features, including dual sliding side doors, and in 1997, a version appeared with optional all-wheel-drive traction capacity. Today, the same basic minivan shows up under Dodge and Plymouth labels by different names. But it is with Chrysler's Town & Country badge that this minivan reaches its peak in all aspects of performance, paraphernalia and power.
1999 Chrysler Town & Country Interior
The Limited Chrysler minivan offers the luxury you’d find in a limousine – except the nifty champagne flutes.