The idea of a luxury minivan is one that should appeal to any family tired of having to put function over form - and comfort - in order to transport their growing brood. The 2012 Chrysler Town & Country steps into the premium void in the minivan segment and offers buyers the chance to get behind the wheel of a people mover that makes more than just token concessions to offering luxury equipment. On top of its high end image the also Chrysler Town & Country manages to make a compelling case in terms of day-to-day practicality.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2012 Chrysler Town & Country.
The 2012 Chrysler Town & Country comes with three rows of seating, each of which can easily accommodate full-size adults even on medium-to-long trips. The second row is made up of two buckets while the third row is split 60/40, offering enough space across the bench for three children to sit comfortably. With the rear hatch open, the final row flips over to provide what Chrysler calls "Tailgate Seating," a bench that faces out the back of the vehicle which can be used to take shelter from the elements while attending a barbecue, watching a soccer game from the sidelines or simply having a rest stop picnic on the side of the highway.
The 2012 Chrysler Town & Country can easily move from transporting human cargo to swallowing a surprisingly generous amount of luggage or other gear. With the vehicle's rear seats out of the picture a whopping 143.8 cubic feet of space opens up, and the tall roofline and wide rear opening make it easy to stuff oversized items into the Chrysler Town & Country. Even with the second row still in place just under 90 cubic feet of room can be taken advantage of, a measurement which is enough to shame many sport-utility vehicles in terms of practicality. Throw in the Chrysler Town & Country's power hatchback and dual power sliding side doors and the minivan becomes an even more appealing hauling option.
Part of what makes the 2012 Chrysler Town & Country so versatile is the ease with which the minivan can be converted back and forth from utility-focused van to comfortable passenger cruiser. Chrysler's Stow 'n Go feature is standard equipment on the Town & Country, and this innovative system allows for the quick and simpler folding of the second row of seating flat into the floor. A power folding third row seat is also available in order to provide a long, completely flat load floor that doesn't require owners to wrangle heavy bench seats in and out of the vehicle.
On the outside the 2012 Chrysler Town & Country displays the most distinguished iteration of the brand's famous minivan profile. Although enough remains in the Chrysler Town & Country's profile to link it to the original mid-80's models that helped to define what become one of the hottest vehicle categories in the United States, the vehicle is still distinctly modern. The judicious use of chrome accents and a broad chrome grille help the Town & Country stand out from the crowd of usual minivan suspects, offering a presence that is atypical in its segment and which serves to highlight the vehicle's design rather than conceal its practical nature.
There was a time when Chrysler Town & Country buyers were presented with a bewildering array of drivetrain options, but the 2012 model has made that a thing of the past. The 2012 Chrysler Town & Country now offers a standard Pentastar V-6 engine that displaces 3.6-liters while churning out a healthy 283 horsepower and 206 lb-ft of torque. This motor is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission that offers the ability to choose between standard mode and economy-oriented programming that reconfigures the vehicle's shift points to allow for less aggressive fuel consumption.
The 2012 Chrysler Town & Country features an EPA fuel economy rating of 17-mpg in stop and go driving and 25-mpg on the highway. These numbers are actually better than the four-cylinder edition of the Toyota Sienna minivan on the highway (and match the Sienna V-6's highway figure), despite the engine offering considerably more power than the smaller Sienna mill. The Chrysler Town & Country also equals the highway fuel economy of the value-oriented Kia Sedona minivan, providing that luxury doesn't have to come at the expense of efficiency or acceleration - the Chrysler van comes through with authoritative passing power even when loaded with a full complement of passengers.
The 2012 Chrysler Town & Country starts out in Touring trim, which offers a long list of standard equipment that includes automatic windshield wipers, leather seats, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, a rearview camera, an entertainment system for second row passengers and a touchscreen sound system. The Town & Country Touring-L ups the ante with a remote start feature, parking assistance, front heated seats and rear sunshades, while the Limited grafts on HID headlights, heated seats for those riding in the second row, a navigation system and an extra LCD display for the final row of accommodations.
Several options packages can be added to the 2012 Chrysler Town & Country, depending on which trim is selected. The top-of-the-line Limited can be accessorized with the Luxury Group package, which adds a power folding third-row seat, a load-leveling suspension system and a power sunroof. The Touring-L's Premium Group package adds the same seating and suspension features while also upgrading to unique 17-inch polished wheels, and the Dual Screen DVD Entertainment System package steals from the Limited model to include 9-inch LCD screens for second and third-row passengers as well as an extra DVD player to help avoid arguments over who wants to watch what while out on the road.
The previous model year's refresh has left the 2012 Chrysler Town & Country riding lower and stiffer than ever before. The improved suspension tuning and more responsive steering that come with the Town & Country ensure that the vehicle finally handles more like a sedan than its size would at first indicate. Chrysler has been careful to balance the minivan's sportier platform with a comfortable and connected ride that doesn't divorce drivers from the feel of the pavement but still manages to insulate them well from road noise, harsh vibrations and the occasional pothole.
The 2012 Chrysler Town & Country has been rated an IIHS Top Safety Pick, which indicates to buyers that the minivan is a vehicle that they can entrust with protecting their families in an accident. The Chrysler Town & Country exceeded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's requirements for roof crush strength, and it also ranked "Good" in front, side and rear crash performance. The vehicle comes with front and side airbags for forward occupants as well as side-curtain airbags for all three rows of seating. Buyers can also choose to equip the Town & Country with a blind spot monitoring system and rear-facing radar that detects when vehicles are about to cross into the minivan's path while it is reversing out of a driveway or parking spot.