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The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country minivan is back again for a new model year, renovated from nose to tail with better styling cues and a much smoother powertrain than in the recent past.
It's still a near-twin to the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan, but this time around, Chrysler has a more principled approach to marketing and pricing the duo. The Grand Caravan is to be the automaker's minivan value leader, and wears price tags of less than $30,000. The Town & Country, meanwhile, goes where its name implies--straight to the $30,000 and over crowd where a more expensive minivan doesn't sound so indulgent.
Chrysler is betting that a more refined look inside and out will help the T&C's luxury message reverberate with minivan shoppers faced with new vans from Honda, Toyota and Nissan. The Grand Caravan remains a more upright, square-jawed vehicle, while the Town & Country comes up with a softer approach. There's a broad chrome band gussied up with the latest Chrysler logo, and a smaller grille than last year. New LED taillamps sit at the rear.Inside, a new interior has the same dimensions as before, but better materials, and more chrome bangles around groups of major controls guts the old, pervasive feel of cheapness. The new van is positively rich inside, down to the analog clock that's shaped like the van's grille. From the middle row of seats back, there's not much new to report, however.
The styling tweaks are the most noticeable change from the Dodge minivan. Otherwise the family wagons share a 283-horsepower V-6 and front-wheel drive. The new "Pentastar" powertrain feels fine for tugging a full crew around from shopping spot to shopping spot. The steering feels a bit quicker to respond, while the softly tuned suspension bounds more than the more keenly responsive Honda Odyssey. The new V-6 delivers better acceleration, but fuel economy is flat against last year's numbers.