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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Chrysler Town and Country Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Chrysler Town and Country Overview

More Than Just a Minivan

There are vehicles out there that are designed to do one task and do it very well; take the minivan for example. It efficiently packages space into a two-box design (passenger compartment and engine bay), permits the greatest number of large access openings and has all the appeal of a breadbox on wheels. Let's face it; it's a minivan. But if there is one company that can turn a sow's ear into a silk purse it's the folks at Chrysler, and that's exactly what they have done with the splendid Town & Country.

The Town & Country works so well because all of the pieces required to break out of the minivan mold are firmly in place, beginning with the name. The Town & Country designate has been apart of the Chrysler line-up for almost as long as there have been Chryslers; it has always signified the top-of-the-line in family transportation, the best Chrysler had to offer. Today's T&C still comes through on this promise and includes features even some luxury vehicles do not offer.

The Chrysler mystique appears first in the Town & Country's sheetmetal. Notice how all the lines flow together and how the side panels and glass are completely smooth, devoid of hinges, door tracks and window molding; the Town & Country's appeal is heightened even more by its prominent winged badge showcased in a wide black grille opening.

When the time comes for your passengers to step inside the Town & Country, little is required of you except to push a button on the remote key fob. Fully-loaded Town & Country Limiteds—and let's be honest here, nobody buys one of these babies stripped—features electrically-sliding side doors and an electrically operated rear hatch. The doors open and close via the key fob or by using the dash-mounted switch; special sensors can detect when tiny hands and feet may be in the way and stop the doors from closing. Once you climb aboard, it's like reaching the minivan promised land. Room? The Town & Country has so much room you'd think they might consider changing the name to Town and Continent. Luxury? It's everywhere. Fine leather covers the steering wheel, seats and side door panel. You'll find second-row captain's chair seating with a moveable powered center console, a DVD-based entertainment system for the rear-seat passengers, automatic climate control, an Infiniti sound system, one-touch power glass sunroof, power seats, power rear vent windows, power adjustable foot pedals and the list goes on for days. We looked and looked for something that required manual adjustment and all we could find was the tilt wheel and the sun visors. Granted we are talking about a fully loaded Limited, but even the base trim levels, the eL and LX, are still nicely equipped.

One thing to note is that while the Town & Country's third-row seats are comfortable and provide adequate legroom for adults, they do not fold flat or stow away; obtaining extra cargo room requires you to remove the seats via the rear hatch and store them someplace.

The greatest impediment to purchasing a Town & Country may well be the overwhelming choice of models and trims. The big minivan comes in regular and extended version, front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and in eL, LX, EX, LXi and Limited trims. Each model features its own content level and powertrain with the base eL and LX models receiving a modest 3.3-liter V6 rated at 180 horsepower and the EX, LXi and Limited getting the much more potent 3.8-liter V6. At 215 horsepower, the 3.8-liter is much better suited to hauling around the Town & Country's less than featherweight body; buyers of the eL and LX can opt for the bigger engine without significantly increasing the price of their vehicle.

Get the Town & Country out on the open road and you'll understand why we really like the bigger engine. The 3.8 hums along with nary a complaint and its four-speed electronic transmission is seamless in its shifting duties. Though power is strong with this engine, fuel mileage is average, rated by the EPA at 17-mpg city and 24-highway.

You may also be surprised at just how agile the Town & Country feels, despite its vast size. The steering is linear without too much assist and the big van corners pretty well, though fast turns will still toss loose groceries from one side of the cargo area to the other. Still, no one but your teenage son drives a minivan like it's a sports car, so it is fair to say that in the realm of minivan handling, the Town & Country scores a near perfect 10.

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