2010 Chrysler Town & Country Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
December 26, 2009

With innovative features, families that need spaciousness and practicality should look at the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country—with plenty of entertainment and storage features, the only real downside is the isolated drive and some cheap-looking plastics on the inside.

TheCarConnection.com researched the latest reviews of the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country to bring you the best aggregate review, focusing especially on how well it fits in as an everyday family hauler. The experts at TheCarConnection.com have also driven the Chrysler Town & Country and present their own opinions and observations here in this Bottom Line summary.

The efficient, space-saving one-box minivan design of the Town & Country remains as practical as ever for 2010, especially thanks to the innovative features found inside. For a long time, Chrysler has focused on improving its family-friendly offering in the hopes of drawing buyers away from new entries by the likes of Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia, and with just minor changes to the product this year, it seems they are confident in the Town & Country.

This latest generation of Town & Country that first debuted two years ago represents a significant departure from the rounded, Clorox-bottle shape of the previous-generation Chrysler minivan. 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 and is unlikely to turn many consumers off simply because of its styling—although it probably won't impress anyone from the outside.

The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country isn't especially fun to drive—or even memorable—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 Chrysler's decent six-speed automatic, a fuel-saving and performance-enhancing feature. For 2010, Chrysler improves fuel economy in the range-topping 4.0-liter V-6 engine—in fact, this engine's fuel economy of 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway is slightly better than the smaller V-6 engines available in other vans.

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Seating and interior design are among the 2010 Town & Country's strengths versus other models. Front seats are extremely comfortable, and Stow 'n Go seating in back allows the third row to fold flat into the floor. Available Swivel 'n Go brings captain's chairs for the second row that can be rotated 180 degrees and slide fore and aft to face the third row. The arrangement even includes a fold-out center table. Interior materials are a step behind much of the competition, though, and the most affordable trims of the Town & Country feel especially plasticky.

In terms of safety, the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country does well, and this year's addition of active head restraints on all models for the driver and passenger should only see things improve. Safety features carried over from last year include both Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path systems, which help ease the stress of navigating crowded parking lots and cluttered driveways. SmartBeam headlamps have also been supplied for the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country, and they automatically switch from high to low beam when the system detects an oncoming vehicle. Crash testing shows that these features are helpful, with five-star results from the federal government and "good" ratings from the IIHS in both frontal and side impacts. It’s not all top marks, though, as the IIHS gives the Town & Country a "marginal" rating in its seat-based rear-impact test—despite the fact that all rows feature side-curtain airbags.

While fuel economy is a big factor in auto purchases these days, buyers of the Town & Country will be more interested in what's on the inside—and the Chrysler doesn't disappoint in terms of features. 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 entertainment system includes big nine-inch screens for the entertainment system, as well as an iPod interface.

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2010 Chrysler Town & Country

Styling

The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country returns to its 1980s styling roots on the outside but features a little too much plastic on the inside for some reviewer's tastes.

As Motor Trend indicates, minivan purchasers generally rate exterior appearance as a secondary factor to consider when purchasing a vehicle. Compared to the previous generation of Town & Country, however, the recently upgraded model does well to steer away from complete boredom and actually proves acceptable in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, if not overly pleasing.

As was the case last year, the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country minivan is available in three trim levels, states ConsumerGuide, which reports that "LX, Touring, and topline Limited models are offered." The exterior differences between the trim levels are minimal, but still noticeable. Cars.com reviewers note that "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— and according to Forbes, this approach is "preferable to minivans disguised with visual gimmicks." Kelley Blue Book says that 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.

The interior of the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country remains virtually unchanged from last year's model. 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." Others, however, were offended at the Chrysler's overuse of certain materials—Cars.com reminds consumers that "there's an endless array of cheap plastic panels" and "in many places they look downright tacky."

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2010 Chrysler Town & Country

Performance

The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country offers a good compromise between comfort and handling—just avoid the base V-6 and four-speed shifter.  

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.

For 2010, the same three V-6 engine options are available, 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." While the numbers reveal that none of the engines is really blistering (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"), the Cars.com reviewer is impressed by the 4.0-liter V-6 engine, stating that it "imbues the Town & Country with confidence at any speed, and it has a muscular snarl in situations where the 3.8-liter V-6 starts wheezing." 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 disagrees, reporting that the 3.8-liter engine boasts "sufficient power for around-town driving," although they concede that the 3.3-liter is "overwhelmed by the Town & Country's approximately 4300-pound curb weight." Kelley Blue Book agrees, advising that they would "look elsewhere in the segment before settling for the 175-horsepower base V6."

Two different transmissions are offered for the three trim levels, and all models except for the base Town & Country come with a six-speed automatic transmission. Additionally, all Town & Country vans come exclusively in front-wheel drive. 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." Although the four-speed is nothing special, ConsumerGuide is suitably impressed with the six-speed, finding it "is 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 2010 Chrysler Town & Country offers respectable fuel economy—especially in its range-topping variant that offers decent power and 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 compared to the previous generation of Town & Country models.

Out on the open road, reviewers are impressed with the composure and handling of the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country, although its soft suspension can make the drive seem a little isolated and distant. Cars.com reviewers praise the steering, noting that it "delivers a natural, well-weighted feel at higher speeds." Kelley Blue Book says "you might appreciate the Chrysler minivans' balance between highway comfort and around-town responsiveness." Stopping power is equally impressive, with Kelley Blue Book noting "much-improved...braking response" for the Chrysler Town & Country—although Forbes finds that "the annoyingly squishy pedal feel of Chrysler vans remains." The suspension also impresses ConsumerGuide, which remarks that the Chrysler Town & Country has "impressive road isolation, with even large bumps taken with poise."

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2010 Chrysler Town & Country

Comfort & Quality

Considering the relatively high prices being charged, buyers may be disappointed with the materials on their $40,000-plus 2010 Chrysler Town & Country. On the other hand, interior storage is just as good as Chrysler claims.  

As mentioned earlier, if there's one area where the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country comes up short in comparison with its competitors, it's in terms of interior quality—a trait that this 2010 model shares with its older siblings. Despite the poor material decisions, 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 observe that the "standard occupant count is seven" on the 2010 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." One of the biggest features that sets the Chrysler apart from the competition is its Stow 'n Go storage arrangement and its Swivel 'n Go seating arrangement. Cars.com explains that with Stow 'n Go, 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 fore 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." Edmunds agrees, remarking that the "Stow 'n Go seats aren't very comfortable." Overall, Car and Driver best sums up the two different seating options as a "trade-off," where you "have to choose between Swivel 'n Go's table and plusher second-row seats that do not stow and the functionality of Stow 'n Go."

While the seating arrangements can prove to be a disappointment depending on your requirements, one area where the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country excels is in terms of its cargo capacity. With the same cavernous interior as last year's model, reviewers from ConsumerGuide are thoroughly impressed by the "vast space available" and note that the "available power-folding 3rd-row is a marvel of convenience"—in fact, they give the Chrysler minivan a 10 out of 10 rating in terms of cargo room. Edmunds is also impressed with the ample cargo space, stating 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, and Cars.com points out the availability of "numerous storage nooks, pockets and bins throughout the interior, including a dual glove compartment." AutoWeek also finds that thirsty passengers will be pleased by the fact that "there are cup holders galore."

Unfortunately, despite its many redeeming qualities in terms of storage and comfort pluses, the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country is once again a serious disappointment in terms of quality. Edmunds is particularly offended by the Town & Country, claiming that the "materials quality is worse than all its competitors, while build quality is shoddy at best." This rather harsh view is tempered by ConsumerGuide, which finds that "interior assembly is mostly top notch"—although even they agree 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."

The design of the instrument panel is criticized in a few instances. AutoWeek finds the climate controls in the Town & Country "a little low, and the small buttons required taking our eyes off the road longer than we liked."

While Edmunds and ConsumerGuide have a hard time agreeing on whether the Town & Country's build quality is, respectively, "shoddy at best" or "top notch," a good indicator of this factor is 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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2010 Chrysler Town & Country

Safety

The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country posts great, but not perfect, safety scores, along with all the equipment that families expect.

The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country gets high ratings for safety, and this year's addition of active head restraints on all models for the driver and passenger should only see things improve.

The Town & Country excels in both government and independent crash tests, earning the highest possible scores from both NHTSA and the IIHS in several categories. 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 of "good" in both the frontal offset and side impact tests. It’s not all top marks, though, as the IIHS gives the Town & Country a "marginal" rating in its seat-based rear-impact test—despite the fact that all rows feature side-curtain airbags.

Safety features include both Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path systems, which help ease the stress of navigating crowded parking lots and cluttered driveways. SmartBeam headlamps have also been supplied for the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country, and they automatically switch from high to low beam when the system detects an oncoming vehicle.

In a nod toward the available safety gear on the 2010 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 an] 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. Edmunds says that the Rear Cross Path system "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." Chrysler also observes that a new feature for 2010 is that the rear obstacle detection display is located in the Electronic Vehicle Information Center.

With glowing crash-test results and a number of high-tech features to help drivers figure out what’s behind the car, the fact remains that it can be difficult to see out of the rear view in the Town & Country. ConsumerGuide observes 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 the back.

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2010 Chrysler Town & Country

Features

With a smorgasbord of features, the 2010 Chyrsler Town & Country will keep all passengers entertained for the long haul. In the minivan world, Chrysler still has the most to boast about.  

The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country carries on minivan tradition of cramming as many features as possible into the largest available space for a family—and few companies do features quite like Chrysler. TheCarConnection.com's research has turned up numerous references to the high-tech, kid-friendly features that abound inside the new generation of Town & Country. The 2010 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 enough entertainment features for the Detroit News to surmise that the Town & Country could be parked in a driveway and used as a home drive-in cinema.

Stepping up to the Touring trim, ConsumerGuide says that shoppers will find an "8-way power drivers seat with lumbar adjustment, power-adjustable pedals, satellite radio, [and] power sliding rear doors," while the range-topping Limited variant includes "heated front and 2nd-row seats, 8-way power passenger seat...hard drive, rearview camera, [and] remote engine start."

The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country offers a number of desirable standard features, but the real fun (and wallet-lightening) 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)." In fact, there are a number of Group options available, including security-specific and safety-specific packages, as well as a Mopar exterior styling package.

Other features carried over from last year's model in the 2010 Chrysler Town & Country include rain-sensing windshield wipers, while 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 features available on the Town & Country, and Cars.com is impressed by the MyGIG navigation system featuring real-time traffic monitoring.

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