2009 Chrysler Town & Country Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Trevor Wild Trevor Wild Author
June 3, 2009

Families that need spaciousness and practicality should definitely look at the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country, which offers an array of useful storage and entertainment features.

TheCarConnection.com researched the latest reviews of the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country to bring you some highlights. The experts at TheCarConnection.com have also driven the Chrysler Town & Country and present their own opinions and observations to aid clarity where other reviews differ.

The efficient, space-saving one-box minivan design that is so prominent on the Chrysler Town & Country becomes even more practical for 2009 with the addition of Stow 'n Go second-row seats on all trim levels.

At a time when two of the three major domestic automakers have abandoned the minivan market, Chrysler has focused on improving its family-friendly offering in the hopes of drawing buyers away from new entries from the likes of Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia. The 2009 Chrysler Town & Country continues with a few noteworthy additions this year, as it saw a complete redesign last year.

The body style of the Town & Country that debuted last year represents a significant departure from the rounded, Clorox-bottle shape of the previous generation. The new Town & Country is characterized by a more squared-off look, especially when viewed from the rear. Despite the changes, the Chrysler Town & Country is still one of the more inoffensive cars on the road, unlikely to turn many consumers off simply because of its appearance.

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The 2009 Chrysler Town & Country isn’t particularly memorable to drive in any of its configurations, but we recommend skipping the base 3.3-liter V-6 and four-speed automatic and opting for one of the larger V-6 engines. Both the 3.8-liter and 4.0-liter V-6s provide more power and are matched to the minivan market's first six-speed automatic, a fuel-saving and performance-enhancing feature.

Of greater importance to the target audience of the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country is what can be found on the inside, and those features are still desirable. The quiet cabin is packed with tech tidbits, including available Sirius Satellite TV, twin LCD monitors in the second and third rows, and Swivel 'n Go seating.

The 2009 Chrysler Town & Country does well with respect to safety, with five-star results from the federal government and "good" ratings from the IIHS in frontal and side impacts. It’s not all top marks, though, as the IIHS gives the T&C a "marginal" rating in its seat-based rear-impact test. New safety features make this minivan an even more appealing choice for families, as the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country now offers both Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path systemsto help ease the stress of navigating crowded parking lots and cluttered driveways. SmartBeam headlamps have also been added to the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country, and they automatically switch from high to low beam when the system detects an oncoming vehicle.

Highlights of the new-for-2009 interior offerings include nine-inch screens for the entertainment system, an iPod interface with the uconnect phone, and a trip computer as standard on the base Chrysler Town & Country LX.

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2009 Chrysler Town & Country

Styling

The 2009 Chrysler Town & Country returns to its 1980s styling roots on the outside but boasts modern and upscale touches on the interior.

If you've seen one minivan, you've seen them all, since it's hard to do anything very exciting or innovative within the constraints of a box intended for modern family transportation. However, the new shape of the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country steers away from complete boredom and proves acceptable in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, if not overly pleasing.

The 2009 Chrysler Town & Country minivan is available in three trim levels, according to ConsumerGuide, which states that "LX, Touring, and topline Limited models are offered." The exterior differences are minimal, but noticeable, and Cars.com reviewers note "Touring models add body-colored moldings, fog lights and 16-inch alloy wheels," while the "Limited models get chrome moldings and 17-inch wheels." Otherwise, the exterior is pretty much what you would expect—Kelley Blue Book says the Chrysler Town & Country "now appears more in-line with the boxier roots of the first couple iterations," although their descriptions of a "bold and sophisticated" minivan might be stretching the terms. Cars.com commends the "upright windshield, blocky headlights, [and] no-nonsense tail," which "will go over well with minivan traditionalists."

The interior of the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country received some styling upgrades when the model was redesigned for 2008, but little has changed in the last year. The overall impression of the interior is positive in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, with ConsumerGuide remarking that the "large dials and gauges are simple to locate and easy to read," and "most controls are plainly marked and work as expected." Edmunds says that the Chrysler Town & Country's "design theme can be described as appropriately plain and utilitarian, although dollops of faux wood trim, chrome accents and an analog clock brighten things up." Kelley Blue Book also appreciates how the Town & Country "combines wood-like and bright trim in conveying a more sophisticated persona" than its Dodge Grand Caravan sibling.

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2009 Chrysler Town & Country

Performance

Speed is relative, but for those used to the typical minivan sluggishness, the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country will provide significantly more driving excitement.

Minivans aren't exactly known for being road rockets, but reviews read by TheCarConnection.com list potent acceleration right alongside the comfortable ride when it comes to the Chrysler Town & Country's performance attributes.

The 2009 Chrysler Town & Country is available with three different engine types, which Edmunds lists as "a 3.3-liter V6 good for 175 horsepower and 205 pound-feet of torque," while more powerful options include "a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 197 hp and 230 lb-ft of torque" and "a more modern 4.0-liter V6 making 251 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque." None of the engines is blistering, but Edmunds says that the 4.0-liter can propel the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country "from zero to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds, which is rather quick for a minivan." Motor Trend adds that the biggest V-6 moves the Town & Country "with relative authority when the gas pedal is buried on the floor." ConsumerGuide reports that the 3.8-liter engine boasts "sufficient power for around-town driving," although the 3.3-liter is "overwhelmed by the Town & Country's approximately 4300-pound curb weight." Kelley Blue Book agrees, commenting that they would "look elsewhere in the segment before settling for the 175-horsepower base V6."

The transmission offerings on the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country are pretty straightforward—all Town & Country vans come exclusively in front-wheel drive, with transmissions specific to each engine. Cars.com reports that "both uplevel engines have six-speed automatics," while the base V-6 is stuck "with a four-speed automatic—a weak combination for a two-ton minivan." ConsumerGuide is suitably impressed with the six-speed, finding it "quick to shift as needed but can change gears harshly at low speed." Car and Driver simply calls the four-speed "regrettable."

For a heavy minivan, the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country offers respectable fuel economy. Official EPA estimates for the Town & Country are that the 3.3-liter V-6 will get 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway, while the 3.8-liter offering returns 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, and the 4.0-liter gets an impressive 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway. Overall, Motor Trend reports an "8 percent increase in fuel economy" for the Chrysler Town & Country lineup.

Out on the open road, reviewers are impressed with the composure and handling of the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country. Kelley Blue Book says that "you might appreciate the Chrysler minivans' balance between highway comfort and around-town responsiveness." The suspension is a superstar as well, according to ConsumerGuide, which remarks that the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country has "impressive road isolation, with even large bumps taken with poise." Cars.com reviewers praise the steering, noting that it "delivers a natural, well-weighted feel at higher speeds." Stopping power is equally impressive, with Kelley Blue Book observing "much-improved...braking response" for the Chrysler Town & Country.

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2009 Chrysler Town & Country

Comfort & Quality

Buyers may be disappointed with the materials on their $40,000-plus 2009 Chrysler Town & Country, but interior storage is just as good as Chrysler claims.

If there's one area where the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country comes up short in comparison with its competitors, it's in terms of interior quality. Otherwise, reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that the Chrysler Town & Country offers generous storage space and a relatively high degree of passenger comfort.

Cars.com reviewers state that the "standard occupant count is seven" on the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country. Kelley Blue Book reports that "the accommodations are comfortable," and ConsumerGuide adds that the front seats offer "wide, comfortable chairs [that] contribute to long-haul comfort." Edmunds, however, presents a differing opinion, remarking that the "Stow 'n Go seats aren't very comfortable." Speaking of Stow 'n Go, it's one of several seating styles available in the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country. Cars.com says that the seats "fold into the floor," creating extra storage space, while the optional Swivel 'n Go seats are "second-row captain's chairs that independently rotate 180 degrees and slide for and aft to face the third row. There is also an included stowable center table that can be positioned between the rows." While this feature sounds interesting at first, Car and Driver warns that when the seats swivel backward, "you'll find legroom fit only for two-dimensional paper cutouts."

One area where the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country excels is in terms of its cargo capacity. The cavernous interior rates a 10 out of 10 from ConsumerGuide in terms of cargo room, and those reviewers rave about the "vast space available" and note that the "available power-folding 3rd-row is a marvel of convenience." Edmunds adds that, "with all the rear seating flat, the [Town & Country] can carry up to 140 cubic feet of cargo." Interior storage is exceptional as well, with Cars.com pointing out the availability of "numerous storage nooks, pockets and bins throughout the interior, including a dual glove compartment."

Unfortunately, despite its many storage and comfort pluses, the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country is a serious disappointment in terms of quality. Edmunds in particular rails against the Town & Country, claiming that the "materials quality is worse than all its competitors, while build quality is shoddy at best." ConsumerGuide disputes the build quality claim, finding that "interior assembly is mostly top notch," but agrees that "hard plastic surfaces and low-grade materials dominate the cabin and disappoint at these prices." Car and Driver reviewers also note that the "cheap-looking plastics of the new van's interior are disappointing."

One area where poor build quality becomes evident is in interior noise levels, and based on this assessment, it seems that Edmunds might be mistaken in slamming the build quality of the Chrysler Town & Country. ConsumerGuide says that the Town & Country, "along with the similar Grand Caravan...are possibly the quietest minivans. Wind noise is impressively muted." Even Edmunds concedes that "the interior remains quiet even at highway speed."

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2009 Chrysler Town & Country

Safety

The 2009 Chrysler Town & Country posts great, but not perfect, safety scores, along with all the expected equipment.

Perhaps the single biggest selling point for a family-oriented vehicle is overall safety, and in this category the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country is a true standout. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com invariably mention the long list of standard and optional safety features on the Chrysler Town & Country, as well as its perfect crash-test scores.

The 2009 Chrysler Town & Country excels in both government and independent crash tests, earning the highest possible scores from both NHTSA and the IIHS. In NHTSA tests, the Chrysler Town & Country scores five stars in both frontal impact categories, as well as five-star ratings in the two side impact categories. IIHS results are just as promising, with the Chrysler Town & Country earning the highest possible rating, "good," in both the frontal offset and side impact tests. About the only thing that the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country doesn't earn from these two institutions is an IIHS Top Safety Pick award.

In a nod toward the available safety gear on the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country, USA Today reports that the "vans rightly have the array of bags and electronic nannies you associate with safety for your loved ones." ConsumerGuide states that "curtain side airbags...cover all seating rows," while "ABS, traction control, [and] antiskid system" are all included on the Chrysler Town & Country. The Chrysler Town & Country can also be equipped with "a sonar ParkSense, which sends an audible alarm when things are behind the van, and the ParkView rearview camera," according to Cars.com. 2009 also witnesses the introduction of a pair of optional safety features, which Edmunds lists as "a blind spot monitoring system and Rear Cross Path. The latter item aids drivers any time the vehicle is in reverse by warning of cross traffic in both directions to prevent your minivan from being T-boned."

The only major safety concern on the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country, according to ConsumerGuide reviewers, is that "the rear view is seriously compromised when both screens of the Dual DVD entertainment system are in use." Otherwise, they report that "visibility is very good in all directions," and the available rearview camera and parking assist systems should mitigate any visibility problems in back.

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2009 Chrysler Town & Country

Features

In a field defined by available features—especially family-friendly ones—the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country continues to rise above the competition.

Aside from the available safety options, features really set apart competing minivans, and few companies do them like Chrysler. TheCarConnection.com's research turns up numerous references to the high-tech, kid-friendly features that abound inside the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country. The 2009 Chrysler Town & Country is loaded with items that meet the needs of on-the-go families who can genuinely use the underfloor storage, multiple 12-volt outlets, grocery bag hooks behind the front seats, power sliding doors, and all its unique features.

The standard features on the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country vary somewhat across the three trims, but ConsumerGuide reports that all Town & Country vans feature "tri-zone manual climate controls (including rear controls), tilt steering wheel, cruise control, cloth upholstery...AM/FM/CD/MP3 player," trip computer and full power accessories. Stepping up to the Touring trim, ConsumerGuide says that consumers will find an "8-way power driver seat w/lumbar adjustment, power-adjustable pedals, satellite radio, [and] power sliding rear doors," while the Limited includes "heated front and 2nd-row seats, 8-way power passenger seat...hard drive, rearview camera, [and] remote engine start."

The 2009 Chrysler Town & Country offers a few desirable standard features, but the real fun begins when you start checking off the various options boxes. Among the more impressive optional features are "live satellite TV for rear seats" and "9-inch overhead dual DVD screens with swiveling third-row monitor," according to Cars.com. Edmunds reports that even the base Chrysler Town & Country LX can be optioned with an "Entertainment Group [that] comes with a rear seat entertainment system with two wireless headphones, satellite radio and a touchscreen stereo interface with 30 GB of digital music storage (known as uconnect Tunes)." Other new features for the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country include rain-sensing windshield wipers, and Kelley Blue Book mentions the available "voice-recognition [and] Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity." Car and Driver lists an "optional AC power outlet" as one of the last features available on the Town & Country.

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