Town & Country -
2008 Minivan of the Year
by Martha Hindes
Touts Town & Country Minivan of the
any parent how to best travel with kids,
and you're likely to get a similar answer
â€” keep them occupied. Creating
this peace while on the road is a key
factor for families and the evolution
of the minivan. Throughout the years,
minivans have offered an adaptability
and resilience found in few other vehicles.
a minivan can offer more to make travel
pleasurable, it has to bode well for the
future of family driving. And when one
has more to offer than ever before, it
must be the 2008 ICOTY winner. Those are
reasons, ICOTY judges chose the next
generation Chrysler Town & Country
as the 2008 ICOTY Most Compatible Minivan
of the Year.
T&C continues to offer a laundry list
of features and amenities. However, tops
is the new Swivel 'n Go seating system,
one of three available versions that also
include earlier Stow 'n Go fold-into-floor
second row seats.
'n Go has two second row bucket seats
that swivel towards a removable table
and third row. This creates a small family
room on wheels. The system's independent
"quad" seats make it easier to get in
and out, or to secure a second row infant
seat. The vehicle also offers an optional
integrated child seat.
Seats are available in a stain and odor resistant cloth or leather, and both first and second row can have heated seats. The third row can be folded into four positions electronically including the popular tailgate party mode. Door width map pockets, a dual level glove box, second row seat mesh pockets, overhead bins and a driver's umbrella holder adds even more storage space. A dual DVD system can tap into a SIRIUS back seat TV that plays three cartoon channels for fidgety children. Second row riders can also plug games into a 115-volt inverter, skipping the need for a converter kit. The voice activated, touch screen MyGIG entertainment system has a 20-gig hard drive that can store about 1,200 songs.
Dodge Grand Caravan
While the Chrysler Town & Country took top mininvan honors, its cousin, the Dodge Grand Caravan, is a close second. While minivans have almost always had the three main characteristics of sliding side doors, flat low load floor and front row pass through, Dodge parent Chrysler has figured out a way to add even more variety. There'a a choice of consoles between front seats holding four of the vehicle's 13 cupholders. Multiple storage areas and a 12-volt outlet are in the removable premium console that can slide back 21 inches in separate levels to serve smaller passengers in the second row. The standard center console has dishwasher safe cupholders and a storage bin.
Both vehicles have 4.0-liter (251-horsepower) or 3.8-liter (197-horsepower) V-6 engines with a minivan-first six-speed automatic, or 3.3-liter (175-horsepower) four-speed flex-fuel V-6. Prices begin at $20,000 for a basic bench seat model to nearly $40,000 for the well-loaded top models. Chrysler claims the 35 innovations in its minivans have put the "fun" back in function. We have to agree.