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Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan 2005+

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Comments

  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Agree that Odyssey and Sienna brochures contain more information than those of the Grand Caravan/Caravan or Town & Country.
         Chrysler brochures have never contained the technical data found in both Odyssey and Sienna brochures and the Chrysler data is not organized as well for clarity.
         The Odyssey brochure has too many exterior views that add nothing to providing me the information I want.
         The Sienna has too many confusing options and many option groups are NOT even available for sale at the dealerships.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Since most models are virtual clones, why do buyers prefer the Dodge version?
        Buyers also preferred the Dodge Caravan by a wide margin over the Plymouth Voyager and the Dodge Grand Caravan over the Plymouth Grand Voyager.
        At GM, buyers always preferred Chevrolet minivan label over Pontiac, Oldsmobile or GMC. Chevrolet has been perceived as being the lower price brand. At Ford, buyers also preferred the lower price Ford label over Mercury.
        Do most people feel there is MORE value with Dodge than with Chrysler?
        For 2005, the Dodge Grand Caravan SXT is a superior clone of the Chrysler Town & Country LX with more content and at a lower price (3.8L V6 vs 3.3L and Cast Wheels vs cheap plastic wheel covers).
  • That's a good question hansienna. When me and my wife compared the 2001 DGC and T&C, we saw that they were pretty much a clone of each other. (They each had the same options, just at a different price.) The only difference that we saw was, the T&C was more luxurious then the DGC and cost more. I believe that DC and DGC sell more then T&C, because of the price difference. We chose the DGC over the T&C because of cost. (Even though the T&C looked more luxurious than the DCG). Luxury was not a need for us, since the DGC satisfied our need for a good looking van. It's kinda hard to put all that money into a luxurious vechicle that depreciates so much and that is not an investment. Another thing we were able to do, was pay cash for our vechicle, since we didn't want any car payments. We wouldn't have been able to do that with the T&C. So all in all, the T&C for us was just more luxurious.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Exactly. It's the value of the Caravan over the T&C, and also more flexible packages.

    Since I'm looking now to lease a new van to replace my Windstar, I was calling around and ask for prices (Price is my top priority here). I was told the Chrysler and Dodge minivans would be the best deal. Even the Freestars are priced higher (unless you take the leftovers from 2004).

    So I tried my luck with a T&C Touring, and I asked to add the luxury package, b/c I need adjustable pedals (I am so used to that already in my Windstar) and the rear backup sensor, upgraded stereo and fog lights. - I was told that I need to get the 'leather' package first (which I hate) and add another $2000 something. So I said forget about it.

    I went with Dodge Grand Caravan SXT w/ premium package (has all the above except for the Infinity stereo system which also requires leather - what's going on with these guys at Chrysler? Did they took a lesson from Toyota to make packages confusing, and require 20 features in order to get one other?) anyway, I got a better price on the Dodge (about $1,300 less).

    Of course that T&C with Luxury package would be perfect for me - without the leather. I would love the better stereo, the exterior additions of body side cladding and some chrome, the nicer gauges inside, auto-dimming mirrors in and out. But if I have to take leather first, I am rather going to the Dodge Caravan.

    Again, a message to all car manufacturers: Please leave 1) leather seats; 2) power sliding doors & Liftgate; 3) Navigation system; and 4) Rear DVD player STAND ALONE OPTIONS! that will satisfy most people! There are so many customers out there who love gadgets but not leather or don't need NAV systems (as they don't travel usually in unfamiliar places).

    And especially the leather of the Chrysler/Dodge Caravan which is different than many other cars and feels like a school bus seat. If they would have butter-smooth leather like some other cars do have, I wouldn't mind to get it...

    OK, I'm running out of (words) [time] - let me stop to talk that much. :-(
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Agree 100 % with samnoe.
         I do NOT want leather seats; power sliding doors & Liftgate; and Navigation. I also do NOT like the 2nd row "Stow-N-Go" seating.
         That is why I prefer the 2005 Odyssey EX over the Grand Caravan SXT or T&C LX.
         However, I do like my 2002 T&C LX complete overhead console with outside temp/compass and Trip Computer plus triple zone temperature control. Sadly, the 2005 Ody EX does NOT have the compass and trip computer. The Sienna options are an overpriced, sick joke.
  • Leather seats were the #1 requirement for us having 2 small children. My son just threw up last week in the van. It was bad enough cleaning the leather, and simply unimaginable if we had to clean cloth seats. That's (hopefully) the worst case scenerio, but little kids spill things, as well as spew things.
  • I had leather seats in my old 86 Lincoln Town Car and didn't like them one bit. They were to cold in the winter and I got burned by them in the summer. We have four kids and our van has cloth seats witch are easier to clean then leather. If our kids spill something, it will be absorbed in the cloth, instead of running between the seat cushion onto the floor. We have a Brissell Deep Cleaner with upholstery attachments that we use to clean the seats and floor in our vechicles. This works very well and leaves a nice clean smell. With leather, it just smells like leather all the time no matter what you clean it with. (I can't stand the smell of leather) You can purchase fabric guard for cloth seats and have the best of both worlds.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I don't travel that much with my children on board, but at the times we do (usually no longer than 1-2 hour trips) my children are already "trained" that "NO FOOD ALLOWED" in the car. They eat, drink, use the bathroom before we travel, and there is no need to eat - with the exception of a candy sometimes - or drink while traveling.

    They are also trained not to climb on the seats at all, especially with shoes. A big NO NO in my car. They know a car is not a playground, just a relaxing, loving place where they listen to some nice music or a conversation with their parents.

    That's why my 2002 Ford Windstar lease is almost over, and my car still looks almost brand new, and many friends and relatives asked me recently "Is this a new car?", to which I answered "Yes, it was 3 years ago"! and that big WOW.... "it looks so good"...

    So in my case I don't see the need for leather, especially that it's not comfy for the driver - although most leather seats are heated, but not cooled in hot summer days, and particular this Chrysler van leather is not comfortable at all. The 96-00 model years leather were much more smooth. But since 2001 it has been changed to a school-bus feel (IMO).

    Anyway, if it is a stand-alone option as I mentioned above, it will be perfect for everybody. You take your choice and be happy.
  • Can't train them not to vomit.....

    I wouldn't trust anything to clean that off of cloth, either.

    In my teenage years, a friend of mine threw up in the backseat of my Barracuda. Had to sell it
  • Boy, your friend has some aim to totally throw up on the seats only and not the floor. Any way, I have used our Brissle rug cleaner to clean throw up off of the bed and floor from our children throwing up or using the bathroom in the bed. It has cleaned it like new with no smell or stain of what happened. Our van is three years old and still looks new both inside and out. We normally do no allow our kids to eat or drink in our vechicles. If they have anything to drink, it is water.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,830
    An Edmunds.com reporter wants your opinion: “What are the coolest cars for soccer moms?” Please email jhelperin@edmunds.com with which vehicles you like and why. Please respond by this Monday, 11/8, with “soccer moms” in the subject line.

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  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    We have been lucky. None of our children vomited while in any of our vehicles. We also do NOT permit eating or drinking in the vehicles except dry food like Ritz crakers and drink water.
         However, one grand daughter has vomited more than once in her parents van. We don't let her ride in our T&C.
  • I have a new 2005 T&C. All the controls and switches in the center of the dash are backlit very nicely when the headlights are on. However, the lights and mirror switches on the left of the dash, all the drivers side door switches (except the drivers window switch), and the cruise control switches on the steering wheel are NOT backlit. I had a 1998 T&C and ALL the switches and controls were backlit.

    Can someone check and see if their 2005 is the same or that I have a unique problem and they should be backlit?

    Thanks,

    C.B.
  • It's called "de-contenting". They also did away with windshield wiper defroster grid, dual lift-gate lamps among other things.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Yup, they eliminated many good things.

    Do you have dual lamps on your sun visor or just one?

    Is the visor mirror lamp brightness adjustable?

    Do you have a visor extender?

    Infinity stereo system has 10 speakers or now just 8?

    Is your glove box lighted?

    Too bad. All your answers will be negative. They have taken away so many good features, included these posted above (windshield wiper de-icer, dual liftgate lamps, and more.)

    One lighted control they never had but most others do have them, is illuminated audio controls on the steering wheel. Did they ever have illuminated cruise control?

    Chrysler used to offer on all vans fog lights. Now, you have to take the Limited (or Touring with the leather & luxury package) to get it.

    Chrysler thinks that they will make up for all those things with stow-n-go seats. NO NO!
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Besides the above, how are you satisfied with the new van? Is it more quiet than your '98? Chrysler claims that the '05 models (w/stow-n-go) are 16% more quiet over the '04 models.

    More powerful? Ride? did you notice a muffler noise like some other owners?

    What else do you like/dislike?

    Post everything, and let's hope Chrysler will listen up and change them in the 2007 redesign!
  • Actually, Samnoe, my wife and I both are very pleased with the new van. It is much quieter than the 98. The seats are more comfortable. Although I had a 3.8 liter engine on the 98 and was apprehensive about getting a 3.3 liter on the 2005, I notice absolutely no difference in everyday riding including accellerating onto a freeway. And the transmission is the smoothest shifting automatic transmission I've ever had. (And my first auto trans was on a 1940 Oldsmobile! The first auto trans( Hydramatic) was on a 1939 Oldsmobile).

    We like the ride and it seems to be somewhat more comfortable in that respect than the 98. We have no muffler noise problem. We have almost 2000 miles on ours and, so far, I have nothing to go back for on warranty repairs or adjustments. At this stage with the 98, I had a fairly lenghthy list of concerns because I tend to be very picky.

    My only concern is the leaving off the "niceties" mentioned in my post and subsequent answers by you and others.

    Thanks to all for the very prompt answers to my query.

    C.B.

    BTW, regarding the lack of controls backlighting, the good news is my wife and I both are now in our mid-seventies so we don't drive much at night anymore.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Actually you shouldn't feel any performance difference between your old & new engine.

    The 3.8L was making in '98 just 180 horsepower - the same the 3.3L makes today. The 3.8L today is rated for 215 horsepower.

    In '96-'96 the 3.8L produced just 166 hp.

    And did you also noticed that Chrysler eliminated the storage bins from the third-row? There is still a hole in the sidewall compartment, but no cover anymore.

    And it's 2005 and there is still no cover for the bottom part of the dash, which is useless IMO. Even the Ford Freestar now have a standard cover so you can hide some things inside, like CD's or a small box of tissues. I would like to know any usage you can get of that big hole, below the cupholders.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I just checked my 2002 T&C LX and it has dual visor lamps with adjustment for brightness; visor extenders; windshield de-icer; dual liftgate lamps; lighted switches on both front doors; illuminated controls left of steering wheel + retained power for radio, etc for 40 seconds after key is turned off; theater dimming lights; auto turn off headlights but NO illuminated glove box and no illuminated cruise controls on steering wheel.
         My lowly T&C LX also has 50/50 split fold forward 3rd row, 2nd row bucket seats, Triple Zone temperature control, complete overhead console with outside temp and compass + Trip Computer.
         My lowly T&C LX has MANY features not contained on more expensive Sienna LE and Odyssey EX.
         Too bad DaimlerChrysler is de-contenting as Honda and Toyota are slowly adding the features that DaimlerChrysler minivans have had for years.
         However, DC minivans still provide the nicest minivan for the money.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    2003 was the model year for de-contenting most features.

    I drive a 2003 Town & Country in my business, among other cars.
  • Yes, I forgot, samnoe. We are also disappointed about that big worthless hole in the lower middle dash. I agree that it is completely useless! On the 98, we had grooves that held CD's and there was a cover. We would like to have the same now. Thanks for the engine/horsepower comparisons. That explains why I notice no difference in performance.

    C.B.
  • Well, we have the space under the cup holders too, which is where the coin tray is. It's really not that big of a space to store stuff. We use are's to hold my stuffed lion. (This lion has been driving around with me in every car I've owned since a teenager back in the early 90's) Anyway, as far as storage goes. We have plenty of space with our removable center storage console with room left over for more stuff. So we don't need the extra storage space in the dash.
  • I have been driving a Chevy Caprice Wagon since I bought it new in 1989. Has 162,000 miles on it. Absolutely LOVE it and overall cost to own is CHEAP (despite rebuilding engine, transmission, and AC).

    But -- want a new car! If I could buy a Caprice Wagon or equivalent, would do so in a heartbeat.

    Since that is not possible, am considering subject 3 cars. I've given each a short test drive and decided I can fit my arthritic 6'2" frame with 35" inseam in all three as long as they have a tilt wheel. (Toyata Sienna and H. Odessey are out because I can't do that).

    I haul long or big stuff not infrequently and haul a lot of luggage, etc on quarterly trips between Florida, Virginia, and Texas. Have no need for a 3rd seat and like the Stow & Go of the G. Caravan.
    Seldom have 2nd seat passengers, but, of course, need comfort there for when I do.

    Have never owned a truck or SUV and do not know if I will like the Durango (although the short test ride was very good). Am now in process of arranging a 1-day rental for each of these (no mean feat, especially for Magnum).

    Will also look at Taurus Wagon as a friend has had excellent experience with a 98 and I like to drive her car.

    Overall cost to own is important to me (but over a 10-year period).

    Would love to hear opinions as to what I should consider and watch out for. (Will also post this on specific car sites).
  • I'm probably going to buy a used Chrysler Town & Country tomorrow (formerly in a rental fleet). It does not have a tow package, but I need one. If I add an aftermarket tow package, will it void the remaining factory warranty or an extended warranty? Thank you
  • ua727ua727 Posts: 2
    Have had a new GC 2005 SXT since August. Biggest gripe so far is that steering wheel controls (Cruise Control) And WW/washer turn signal stalk are not backlit. Cannot see them at night even with overhead light on. Same applies to hood release control and parking brake release. Cannot see them even in the daytime. Also up/down position of power seats do not go down low enough. Also, battery has run down twice tlo depletion. Dealer says nothing wrong with electrical or battery. battery apparently not big enough to handle three power doors plus all the other stuff.
  • Our 2001 GC doesn't have the back lighting either. But I can find everything in the dark since I now where all the controls are. My advice is to get to know the controls and where they are. The drivers map light on our van is bright and I can see all controls when on. Buy the way, what other vechicles have the steering wheel (Cruise Control), turn signal and hood release with the back lighting? Just curious.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    Lighted steering wheel controls for cruise and auxilliary radio controls are becoming fairly common.

    However, I have never heard of a lighted turn signal/washer stalk or hood release and parking brake release. Wiper/washer/turn signal stalks are (ir should be) so easily intuitive that no one should have trouble operating these even blindfolded after just a day or two of use.

    The hood release shouldn't be used when the car is moving anyway and is so rarely used it needs no lighting as you can turn on your interior lights when stopped and see everything.

    Almost the same goes for the parking brake release, and again, these handles are usually fairly large and easy to feel for without lighting if you have driven the car a few times.
  • Are memory seats available in the T&C?
  • I have had my 2004 Honda Ody for 10 months now with approx 3500 miles on it and after 6 months, my battery died. My fault, I left the interior lights on for 3 hrs.

    Two months later, it died again and the dealer replaced the battery. I hadn't left the lights on that time, so I figured I had a bad battery.

    Now, less than a month later and only 200 miles, the new battery completely drained. This time, I was told it had not been connected properly and that I'm driving it long enough distances.

    Glad to hear that I'm not the only one with this problem. It's riduculous. Especially on a new car.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Yes, they are available, on the Limited only.

    About the lighted steering wheel controls, the following vans have them lighted:

    - Honda Odyssey (Audio controls)
    - Toyota Sienna (Audio controls)
    - Ford Freestar (Audio + Cruise controls)
    - GM Minivans (Audio controls)
    - Nissan Quest (Audio - don't know about cruise/climate).

    So Chrysler/Dodge are among the few vans who don't offer anything of the above.

    GM, Ford & the new Odyssey are the only vans to offer lighted controls for power windows & door locks. GM is the only one who offers lighted mirror controls as well.
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