Monday, December 17, 2012

Used Car Review - Chrysler Town and Country (2004-2008)

Eight days to go and Myk Belmonte hunts the steed that Santa needs for the big day. He spots a certain minivan popular in the streets of America and Canada, and asks if its a good choice. It is a good thing that the guy who brings the joys to kids asked your ultimate used car guide for advice.

2004-2008 Chrysler Town and Country

If there was to be the Santa Claus of the automobile industry in America, it would be Lee Iaccoca of Chrysler. Why do I say so? Chrysler had been in debt when asked for a bailout during the 80's, the company was able to pay their utang earlier due to the sales success of their minivans, named the Dodge Caravan and the Plymouth Voyager. So to conclude, these minivans are the gifts to the American and Canadian motorist since their Christmas wish is to have one parked at their garages.

Chrysler had the Town and Country in 1989, five years later than the Dodge and the Plymouth versions. It was positioned as the luxurious one among the three (with the Plymouth relegating at the budget conscious buyer while the Dodge fits smack in the middle). Three generations after, the Town and Country you see in this page is the fourth generation, introduced in 2001. Interestingly enough, the long wheel base version is named as such while the short wheel base variant is named Voyager (Plymouth was put to rest in 2000) but after 2003, it ditched the name in favor of its bigger brother. A refresh in 2004 had the addition of what could be an innovation, the Stow'n Go seat folding system. It was sold worldwide until 2008, with the fifth generation replacing it.

There are two distributors of the Town and Country in the Philippines, first it was Norkis Automotive (they used to distribute Chrysler vehicles before) for a brief period then in 2005, CATS Motors went in and provided better service. It was a hit among the affluent people and you'll see them being driven by diplomats in upscale residential areas. Sales stopped in the middle of 2008 to make way for the fifth generation model. Those who had the money can choose between the cheaper Touring or the upper end Limited.

Value and Costs
With the perception that American vehicles consume more fuel, you can acquire a Town and Country for between P500,000-P750,000. As the usual rule, high mileage units would be priced lower while those taken care of but having low clicks commands a higher price. It would be a wise decision to pick-up an example at the certified pre-owned section of CATS Motors since a limited warranty is available on their units.

It is nice to have electronic gadgets such as the power-adjustable front seats, any of the power sliding doors, and the power rear liftgate; but have them broken and expect a hefty bill for repairs since more electronics means more expenses and more worries. Before driving that van home, better check these electronic items if they perform well if not, have the previous owner fix it.

Exterior and Interior
At first glance, there is no mistaking that this minivan is American, since this type of vehicle originated in that country, particularly in Detroit. Let's not delve more about the exterior.

Honestly speaking, while the interior is functional (it does not defeat its primary purpose) it does look dated since it this generation was introduced way back in 2001, so 90's era bits are evident. While the leather seats , dashboard layout, and the transmission stick behind the steering wheel scream Clinton era; the Stow'n Go feature which allows the second and third rows be folded deeply with the result a wide, open, and flat area useful for placing anything on it. Santa's gifts for the children around the world would perfectly fit in there. If the jolly good old fellow isn't busy he can tag along six more people for a hop to the bar.

For the US Market, two engines can be configured to their Town and Country's, a 3.3 EGA and a 3.8 EGH. But for the Philippine domestic market, we get the latter engine that is a EGH 3,778cc V6 with 215hp at 5,000rpm and 332Nm at 4,000rpm. One fact, this engine had powered the previous generation minivans at produced in 1990 until it bowed out in 2011. The engine has a sufficient amount of power to move this vehicle around. You say it is not American if fuel economy is poor and that is true with the Chrysler, so drive prudently if possible to avoid your child's daily allowance to be spent for fuel.

Driving Impressions
The 3.8 engine sounds American and it encourages you to stomp on it that yields poor fuel figures, not good in the prices of unleaded gasoline that is equivalent to a bar of Magnum ice cream. But if there is one thing to praise this minivan is the comfort afforded by it, since you can sleep soundly on long trips. However, the suspension can get at its worst point when driven on bad objects that the road can offer. Except for the nibble, your spines would want to thank this van.

12 million units sold worldwide since launch is not a huge joke, since Chrysler's Lee Iaccoca did his job well. Santa Claus granted the American family's wish of having a minivan on their homes but do you think it would do well as a temporary sleigh? Would it capture the hearts of second hand car buyers wallets? If you drive in the city most of the time, this is not for you. Having out-of-town excursions? Consider this one since it fuel economy won't suffer.

Santa Says
This vehicle is a dream! I might want to have one as my sleigh since the space is good, especially when I put down the seats. Whenever I want to go around, comfort is the word and it fits the description. But fuel consumption is a concern since I wouldn't want to spend more on gasoline. If this minivan has a diesel version, I could have bought one instantly but there's none, its time to reconsider.

The Good:
  • Flexibility inside
  • All the power goodies
  • Your spine would thank this car
The Bad:
  • Fuel bills won't leave you money for more gifts
  • Good luck of these electronic gadgets fail you
  • No diesel engine
The Pick: Any well maintained unit would do

Engine: 3,778cc EGH V6 gasoline
Power: 215hp @ 5,000rpm
Torque: 332Nm @ 4,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 4-6km/L (city), 7-11km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent double wishbone, rear rigid axle, semi-elliptical leaf springs

Price (New): P1,950,000-P2,250,000 (range from 2004-2008)
Price (Now): P500,000-P750,000
Rivals: Toyota Previa, Chevrolet Venture, Kia Carnival, Mitsubishi Grandis, Nissan Serena
On Sale: 2004-early 2008

CATS Pre Owned - 784-5004

Photos courtesy of

1 comment:

  1. Extremely amazing car! This car is very amazing and cool for family outing and business trip. This is the best car for me and for my family. I hope I can buy like that car for us, thank you for posting such article. It's great to see such eye opening post.