Tracy: It's been 20 years since Chrysler introduced the Town & Country - an upscale version of the highly successful Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. These 3 minivans have rung up more than 12 million sales since then. Hi, I'm Tracy.
Jeff: And I'm Jeff, bringing you AutoTrader's new-car review of the 2011 Town & Country minivan.
Tracy: Even a long-time star like the Town and Country can benefit from fresh makeup. So, this year's model gets a new front fascia with projector-style fog lights.
Jeff: Plus curved rear glass, and a rear spoiler for better airflow. Also LED tail lights, and a chrome light bar.
Tracy: Up top is a new "Stow 'n Place" roof rack that folds into the side rails when not in use. That improves aerodynamics, which of course helps fuel economy.
Jeff: And although the actual miles per gallon stay the same at 17 city, 25 highway, the new 3.6-liter "Pentastar" V6 makes 32 more horsepower than Chrysler's previous 4 liter V6 - total output is now 283 hp.
Tracy: Let's look inside.
Jeff: There's a ton of space in here. And easy to get to, with dual power sliding doors. The second-row seats fold for quick access to the rear bench with almost 33 inches of legroom. In fact, this 7-passenger interior has between 156 and 163-1/2 cubic feet of volume, depending on how it's configured.
Tracy: The often imitated "Stow and Go" seating setup back here has been upgraded with larger and more comfortable second-row seats. And they also have a new function - A fold down feature that operates with just one touch.
Jeff: Both the Nappa leather and faux wood trim are good quality. Very convincing. I also like this new instrument panel. The design is really clean and easy to read.
You've got optional buttons for cruise control, audio system, and Bluetooth. Bluetooth also works off of your voice commands.
The center stack carries the air-conditioning controls and vents, and is topped by a traditional analog clock.
Or you can have the available "Super Center" with a large storage bin for front and 2nd-row passengers. This comes with integrated power outlets, and a pass-through space about large enough for a lady's purse.
Tracy: Don't forget the optional Uconnect system that gives you voice-activated navigation, multi-media, and cell-phone operation. It's not nearly as robust as Ford's Sync system but Uconnect does work well and is easy to use.
Jeff: Plus there's an optional web feature that transforms your Town and Country into a regular wi-fi hot spot however there is a monthly fee and getting this feature means your dealer will have to install some equipment.
Tracy: I think it's time for a ride.
Tracy: This is nice - fun to drive in spite of its size. The steering is firm and accurate, and there's plenty of power from this new V6.
Jeff: Quiet, too - almost no noise or flexing.
Tracy: There's a "Safety-Tec" package that comes with blind-spot warning, stability control, parking sensors, a rear-view TV, and more. That adds up to extra confidence when you're driving a mini-van.
Tracy: How about price?
Jeff: There are 3 models of the Town and Country. The "Touring" version, starting at $30,160. The "Touring L," at $32,160, and the "Limited" for $38,660. You can option up a top-of-the-line "Limited" to include the Uconnect media center, the DVD entertainment system, and a power sunroof for a total of about $43,000.
Tracy: Still not bad for all that you get? Know what I think?
Tracy: I think Chrysler means to re-gain the title of bestselling minivan that it lost to the Honda Odyssey, last year. And this is just the minvan to do it! I'm Tracy.
Jeff: And I'm Jeff.
Tracy: Thanks for watching AutoTrader's new-car review and test drive of the 2011 Chrysler Town & Country - Right here on AutoTrader, the Ultimate Automotive Marketplace.