Chrysler loaned us a 2014 Town & Country 30th Anniversary Edition Minivan for a family road trip. All opinions are based on our personal experiences.
I am NOT a minivan Mom. We are not a minivan family. I felt strongly about both statements, and then…. we drove the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country 30th Anniversary edition. From the moment it arrived in our driveway, I was in love with the granite crystal color and striking aluminum wheels with Satin Carbon pockets. No, I’m not saying that our family road trip to San Antonio in the swanky minivan convinced me to trade in my SUV for a “mommy-mobile”. My kids, on the other hand, experienced a “love at first ride” phenomenon, and are waging a campaign to convince us we “need” a minivan.
Their faces lit up as they pulled down the sunshades, and I think they squealed a little when they discovered the DVD player had a remote they could use. My daughter was surprisingly disappointed when I told her, not only was it too hot to use the heated second row seat, but she wouldn’t feel it in her booster seat. Were they just delirious from the new car smell that was intoxicating? Or could it be they were in love with being able to close their own doors with the push of a button? Either way, the final tipping point was when I told them there were two DVD players, and they could each watch their own movie. Yep, for five minutes I had “Mom of the Year Award”. Within seconds, they were both declaring how cool this van is, and asking “Can we keep it?”
Chrysler leads the minivan market with 78 firsts like the industry-exclusive Stow ‘n Go seating and segment-leading Blu-ray rear-seat
Did you know Chrysler minivans have won over 320 awards the last 30 years?
And, well, maybe they have a valid point. Instead of our usual packing wars before a trip, our suitcases, laptop bags, toys, shoes, and- well let’s just say 50% of our house fit into the cargo space on the first try. That might not sound like much to you, but anyone that has witnessed my husband and I packing, re-packing, and playing our own twisted version of Jenga with our luggage in the back of our Tahoe, understands! Plus, it was fun telling the hubs, “You don’t need your bulky inverter, because this van has two USB ports and a 115-volt AC outlet in the back.”
So far, so good. The kids were happy. Our gear was loaded. The only real question that remained: how will the 2014 Chrysler Town & Country handle the road? One of the things I don’t like about cars, and minivans, is the feeling that I’m riding low, like on the ground. So, the first thing we did was use the 8 way adjustable power seats to get a better vantage point, while moving the adjustable pedals closer.
After finding a comfortable place, I admired the black leather-trimmed seats with Alacantara suede inserts with light graystone stitching. The special 30th Anniversary edition design touches give the van a more upscale, almost hipster vibe. Thank you Chrysler for understanding we may need a Mom van, but it doesn’t have to look and feel Mom-ish.
Behind the wheel, on I-10, we were rolling down the road, until we hit the brick wall known as Houston traffic. It immediately became clear our three hour drive, would be closer to 4.5 hours. I cranked up the SiriusXM® Satellite Radio, while the kids watched “Planes” with the wireless earphones. It was almost, and I stress almost, like I had the van to myself! Stop and go traffic, was followed by an afternoon shower. I was actually thrilled to see rain drops hitting the windshield, because it gave us a chance to see the rain sensitive wipers on action. Total geek moment, and I liked this feature even more than the auto high beam control.
One of many reasons I’ve been against owning a minivan, is my opinion they are big and handle like a small bus. My mind was changed after seeing how easy it was to navigate the Target parking lot. When I first told friend we were driving the Town & Country to AdventureCon, a few said, be aware “people will treat you differently.” I didn’t notice anything along those lines, but I felt a little different behind the wheel. Something about driving the van made me feel like Super Mom. So, I cruised the aisles of Target buying snacks, mini bags to organize the snacks, band-aids, sunscreen, and new water bottles. Too bad I didn’t have my GoPro snapped on- I could have filmed a “Mom in a Minivan on a Mission” commercial.
The power folding mirrors and blind spot monitoring system made it easy to park in tight spaces. And, yes, the sliding doors and extra space made changing my son’s pull-up, and outfit in a Whataburger parking lot, a hassle free situation (as hassle free as an unplanned wardrobe change can be).
Something that baffled both my husband and myself: why did Chrysler have the 6.5-inch touchscreen display with UConnect, but no navigation system? For some reason this really bothered both of us, even though, we use our phones for nav over 90% of the time.
My husband also had a chance to co-pilot the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country on our AdventureCon trip to San Antonio. He says: “I thought the van handled very well. It could have used more power, but I’m a guy…everything needs more power. I was surprised by all of the power ports with places to plug all of my stuff into. Nice touch. My wife appreciated the blind spot monitoring feature more than I did, but it was nice being able to avoid accidentally running someone off the road. Normally when I’m in my truck and make that mistake people will still move when I slide over, but boy do they get upset. All in all, it was a great trip and the Chrysler Town and Country Minivan made all of the difference. Can they make one that looks like a truck?”
J.D. Power named Town & Country tops in the minivan segment in their recent 2013 Initial Quality Survey (IQS), where owners were surveyed about their first 90 days of ownership
No, the kids haven’t convinced us to go shopping for a minivan, not yet anyway. While I definitely loved all the extra room and conveniences, improved gas mileage, and dual DVD players, there’s still an association with a minivan I’m trying to avoid. It makes me feel old, or too much like June Cleaver. Oh, but if buying a van meant I never had to hear the words “Are we there yet?” from the 2nd or 3rd rows, we’d be on a Chrysler lot, right now!