Chrysler Town & Country Performance
Two of the 2008 Chrysler Town & Country's engine options are strong choices, with only the base engine inadequate to the vehicle's weight. "Smallest engine feels underpowered," says the, "but larger powertrains and six-speed transmission offer plenty of pep and sacrifice little on fuel economy."
Acceleration and Power
The Town & Country LX's base 3.3-liter FlexFuel-capable V6 engine leaves reviewers relatively underwhelmed, though Forbes reports it "has improved get-up-and-go with 205 pound-feet of torque tuned for better response." But the says, "The smallest engine isn't enough for heavy loads." The Environmental Protection Agency has rated this engine at 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 miles per gallon on the highway when using gasoline and 11 city/17 highway when running on E85 (85 percent ethanol fuel).
The 3.8-liter V6 in the Touring model fares better. "We drove the heftier 3.8," says the Cars.com gives this engine a mixed review: "The 3.8-liter V-6 hustles the minivan along when needed," the review reads, "but it can run out of steam on the highway, especially if you're gunning for the passing lane." The EPA rates this engine at 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway., "and found it plenty powerful. It was smooth in passing, used its 230 lb.-ft. of torque to easily climb out of farming valleys and down to the sea."
The 4.0-liter V6 in the Limited is rated highly. "It's the most powerful V6 in a minivan today," says Forbes, "and compares well with the Odyssey's 244-hp V6 and the 235-horse V6 in Nissan's Quest." Consumer Guide says, "Both the Touring's 3.8 V6 and the Limited's 4.0-liter engines offer sufficient power for around town driving, with the 4.0 providing much needed extra boost for merging and highway passing." And Edmunds says, "With the 4.0-liter V6, acceleration from the 2008 Chrysler Town & Country is impressive." The EPA rates this engine at 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
The LX comes with a four-speed automatic transmission, but reviewers like the six-speed transmission in the Touring and Limited models. Forbes says "shifts from the six-speed automatic transmission were smooth." Consumer Guide isn't quite as happy with either automatic: "With both these V6s the transmission is quick to shift as needed," it notes, "but can change gears harshly at low speed."
Handling and Braking
The 2008 Chrysler Town & Country has good handling that many think is as much like a car as like a minivan. "Despite their overall size," says Consumer Guide, "these big vans are little more difficult to drive than a midsize sedan, though lean in corners is fairly pronounced." MSN says, "The new van handles well for its size, feeling more like a car than a truck." Still, drivers shouldn't expect a sporty experience: "The Town & Country drives the way you'd expect a high-end minivan to drive," says BusinessWeek. "Its ride is on the soft side, and steering and handling are in no way sporty." More than one reviewer compares the handling unfavorably to the Honda Odyssey. "Handling still isn't as precise, sporty and satisfying as the Honda's," says Forbes. And Edmunds says, "Those who appreciate the handling standard set by the Honda Odyssey might be a bit disappointed by the Town & Country. Although it intentionally places comfort over sportiness and is quiet on the highway, the Chrysler's slower responses don't promote much driving enjoyment."
The suspension and the smoothness of the ride get fairly good reviews. Consumer Guide reports, "Impressive road isolation, with even larger bumps taken with poise." And MSN says, "A smooth ride and comfortable seats make extended time behind the wheel much more tolerable." But Cars.com says: "The rear employs a low-tech, non-independent twist-beam axle rather than the fully-independent setup most competitors use, and it shows. Potholes and speed bumps have an unnerving effect, with too much rebound in the wheels and a lot of flexing and creaking in the cabin." There's more than one comment concerning road noise. "Save for an intermittent whistle that seemed to emanate from between the exterior sheet metal in crosswinds," says Forbes, "and some wind noise by the outside mirrors, the Town & Country tester rode quietly, with nary any road noise from the tires."
The Town & Country's rack-and-pinion steering is good but not perfect. "The steering wheel feels slightly heavier (meaning there's less power assist) than most minivan," says Cars.com, "and SUV drivers will expect. It's by no means overly stiff, and it delivers a natural, well-weighted feel at higher speeds." But the says, "The steering felt firm and balanced, and the body felt well-planted on the road." The four-wheel antilock disc brakes perform acceptably. Forbes says, "Brakes delivered decent stops, although the annoyingly squishy pedal feel of Chrysler vans remains." Cars.com agrees: "The pedal feels spongy and elicits plenty of forward suspension dive, which is typical for a minivan."