Driving Impressions

By November 10, 1999

The 1996 redesign included a retuned suspension, so the Town & Country handles much more like a sedan than the minivans of yore. Plus, the substantial torsional rigidity means the vehicle feels firmly planted. That's definitely a benefit in the Town & Country, which, at 68.7 inches, still tends to lean a bit on freeway cloverleaf ramps and during quick turns at medium to high speeds. Even when it leans, however, the Town & Country feels solidly planted on terra firma.

Some of the credit, of course, goes to the power rack-and-pinion steering, which made the LXi just as responsive during abrupt lane-change maneuvers. The smaller base-model SX will likely be even more light-footed.

Last year, designers improved the Town & Country's ride quietness. As a result, the Town & Country sounds as quiet as many sedans.

The Town & Country offers two engine options–the 3.3-liter V6, which is standard on the SX and LX, and the 3.8-liter V6, which is optional on the SX and LX and comes standard on the LXi. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard on the SX and LX. A four-speed automatic with all-wheel drive is optional on the LX and LXi.

Our LXi test model was powered by the 3.8-liter V6. We recommend this engine for the LX and LXi because they are heavier and stretch across a longer wheelbase than the SX. With this beefier powertrain at our disposal, we found that the Town & Country stepped up to the plate and responded to most of the demands we placed on it–from standing starts to high-speed freeway passing.