Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!





Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan 2005+

1101113151646

Comments

  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    NO big deal since all the other controls on the dash and doors of all but the cheapest DC minivans are lighted.
         My memory is sufficient that I can recall the controls on the steering wheel.
         For me, the quiet, smooth ride of a DC minivan with separately controlled temperature for driver and front passenger is MUCH more important than lighted steering wheel controls.
  • artsarts Posts: 5
    I agree that Chrysler has "decontented" some features to save $ as the previous writer says. However, they have added many new features too which outweigh in value to deleted items. New features would include 4-wheel disk brakes. stow and go seating, improved body structure, lowered road noise, power doors and liftgate, non of which was previously available. I do hear a little increased muffler noise on the 2005 model but I find it not unpleasant. All in all I think the latest generation DC vans are improved in the important under the skin areas that count most.
  • I am looking for a Chrysler Town & Country Van with:
    1) long wheelbase
    2) the rear zone a/c and controls
    3) rear seat dvd system

    What is the most economical configuration of a T&C model & options to get this?
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Price a Dodge Grand Caravan with ONLY the options you want.
        1. Do you want 2nd row bucket seats?
        2. Do you want "Stow-N-Go"?
        3. Do you want the 3.8L or is the 3.3L enough?

        The Grand Caravan SE does NOT have 2nd row bucket seats, no Stow-N-Go, and has the 3.3L. You can add tri-zone (driver, front passenger, rear) and the DVD "Rear Entertainment" to the GC SE and it will COST thousands less than the Chrysler T&C LX with Stow-N-Go or GC SE Plus.
        If you want Stow-N-Go, the best value is the GC SXT that has cast wheels and the 3.8L V6 for about $100 more than the T&C LX or GC SE Plus. The rear dvd comes as a stand alone package on almost any Chrysler or Dodge minivan.
         However, a volume DC dealer may have a minivan with the options you want + a few extra and will give a BIG discount to move it. In this situation, you may get more than you want than to just order a plain GC SE with tri-zone and DVD rear entertainment system.
  • Ok sure they have done away with some the things you mentioned "but" they added the "stow n go" seating at no extra cost along with lowering the suggested retail price of the vehical approx. $2900 over the 2004 model. Some would like their cake and eat it also but I feel anytime you can save nearly $3000 over a previous model year and still gain a nice feature such as the "stow n go" seating things can't be all that bad. If you want those things you listed that aren't standard any longer you can take the approx. $3000 and move up into the special addition model and have them along with many other standard features with this package "but then again you have to take the leather-ett" seats with that package. When was the last time any auto manufacture has actually discounted a vehical or lowered its base price that you can think of to the tune of nearly $3000 and still offer a feature like the "tow n go" seating at no extra cost. If someone doesn't care for the savings of the price drop then they can always try to find a left over 2004 model. This is just my opinion as I see it and I am always open to anyone else's. Cheers Playtime = Jack
    P.S. I have almost 6,000 miles on my 3rd Chysler mini van and the 2005 is by far the best yet and having only taken my 2005 back to the dealer once and that was for an oil change and a missing clip for the over head console.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Stow-N-Go is overrated in my opinion.
         The 60/40 split fold into the floor 3rd row seat is a BIG advantage (copied from Sienna) but the compromise with 2nd row is not worth it to me: armrests too narrow and uncomfortable, sharp edges with mechanisms that are very likely to pinch fingers, and the lack of toe room under 2nd row seats for the 3rd row passengers.
         The lazy susan feature of the 2005 Odyssey is of lesser value than the loss of storage space in the left rear where the spare tire now resides.
         It appears that vehicle designers are more interested in getting some clever gimmicks than just adding significant new features and keeping nice features included in earlier models. DC should have copied the 2nd row design of the 1999 Odyssey that was also copied by the Mazda MPV. DC should have also used a 5 speed automatic like Odyssey, Sienna, Chrysler 300C, etc. have.
         DC should have kept the heating coils at the base of the windshield and the "Instant Economy" reading on the Trip Computer for example. The small additional cost of these items is not worth the loss of sales caused by removing these items.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I will probably take a Dodge Grand Caravan to replace my '02 Windstar. I will take the SXT trim model, with the Premium group.

    However, one of premium group options is a "Touring Suspension". Does anybody know the difference between the regular suspension and the Touring suspension?

    Other options in the Premium package includes power liftgate, auto temp., vehicle information center, power adjustable pedals, all worthwhile options (for me, at least).

    Too bad I can't get the upgraded stereo w/o leather seats for am additional $2,000.

    So, do you know anything about the touring suspension?
  • I was wondering too about the "touring suspension" , as there is no description of what this on the Dodge web site or in the brochure. I also have a question about the radio antenna. It is not mentioned in the owner's manual, and so I don't know what I should do at the carwash. It does not retract, and I can't see if it can be easily detached
    Having said that, I have just taken delivery of my new GC SXT with premium group, and I am very pleased. I ordered black with the light greystone/khaki leather interior, and it is really nice looking. I gather this is an unusual combination, and several of the sales and service staff were ogling the vehicle, this colour combination apparently being uncommom. The leather colour is quite light so it might not please people with kids, but it makes the interior very light and open. I was disappointed that I had to give up the option of side air bags because I really wanted the sunroof. I don't know why anyone would spend the extra money it costs for a TC.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I found a site which gives you a lot of info on the 2005 GC SXT. It states that the touring suspension delivers a firmer ride than the standard suspension, but on the other hand, make it more fun to drive (better handling).

    http://www.allpar.com/model/m/grand-caravan-2005.html

    The Chrysler T&C offers some more gadgets than GC SXT, that's why it cost you more $$. It have, among others, auto headlamps; auto dim rearview mirrors (both inside and outside); more chrome and wood trim; memory feature on the Limited, and more.

    Do you feel the ride stiff?
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Did you get the power liftgate included in the premium package? Or do you have leather and is included with leather group?

    Dodge have changed around the power liftgate option within the groups. Since you took delivery recently, please let me know.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    We have two Caravans both with the Touring Suspension, in addition, I have rented various DC vans sans that suspension, and from my perspective, I wouldn't own one without it. While I'm not sure which suspension components are upgraded (I assume the spring rates, shock/strut stiffness, wheels and tires and roll bars), the difference is rather substantial. The non-endowed vans seem to wallow rather than respond crisply when steering inputs are more than extremely mild. Bumps and dips too seem to cause the van rock substantially more than it would with the upgraded suspension. True, the ride is a little stiffer, however, not a single passenger in the last six years has complained about the ride, while several have been impressed with how stable our vans are in curving roads.

    Disclaimer: my normal ride is a 530i with the Sport Package (including a stiffer suspension and lower profile tires), so any review I give on this matter might be a little suspect. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Thanks for you response. I did get the auto-dimming mirrors and auto headlights etc as parts of the "premium package". I prefer the carbon fiber bezel of the GC SXT to the faux wood of the TC, and I have no interest in the chrome trim, but I do miss having a memory function on my power seats. I traded in a BMW X5 as I need more room for travel and my two greyhounds, so I like a firm ride, though the X5 was a bit stiff and firm and so I am relieved to find that the GC-SXT is not bouncy or wish washy as is common, or used to be, in North American vehicles. Thanks again. Chacun a son gout !
  • Samnoe...thanks for your second post. The power liftgate was part of the premium package, and so was the the leather, 8 way power driver and 4 way passenger seats, both heated, driver's manual adjustment, removable centre console, auto dim driver and interior mirrors, 3 zone temp control with air filtering,security alarm, 160 amp alternator,8 speaker Infinity speakers,, touring suspension, power adjustable pedals, rear park assist, electronic vehicle info system and Homelink system which operates 3 different garage doors or similar. Because I ordered the power sunroof I had to also order the power sliding doors on both sides, and was unable to have side airbags ( which I am not entirely happy about), but I am very pleased that I ordered all the options I did, as it makes the overall experience so much more satisfying, and it feels good to have no regret about missing any of the conveniences that are offered. I had some concern about what I thought would be moving downmarket from the BMW, but it was ill founded even though I recognize that the BMW is a more refined vehicle in many ways. Before that I had Mercedes for 40 years, and maybe the improved quality of Dodge vans is partly due to some discipline that the Daimler people have asserted !!
  • leotaur--Did you see my response to you in the Dodge-Plymouth-Chrysler minivan forum regarding the antenna?

    C.B.
  • Thanks C.B.. I did see your response and appreciate your posting it. I haven't been out to the van to try it , but is there any particular trick to removing the antenna to avoid car wash damage, or vandalism ( where appropriate ). Does it unscrew or something like that?
  • Yes, leotaur, it is very easy to remove. It will be obvious to you when you look at the base. It simply unscrews using a 3/8" open end wrench. You can also use an adjustable wrench. Good luck with your new van.

    C.B.
  • My wife and I picked up a new 2005 Grand Caravan SXT last night. We have been looking and shopping and comparing for a long time while her old car got more and more expensive to keep running. Finally had enough yesterday.

    We got a Linen Gold model with the power tailgate as the only option. This is the van I wish Honda and Toyota would build...cloth seats, no DVD, and power sliders/tailgate.

    We are leasing for 24 mos. so not worried about long term durability. I'll update occasionally to tell how it's going.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I finally replaced my 2002 Windstar (Lease expired) with a new 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT, w/premium package, which includes 3-zone automatic temperature, trip computer, power liftgate, touring suspension, among other features.

    I have it for nearly a week now, and am almost satisfied, but (hold your breath) there are still some things I like way better in my Windstar – every change is difficult, and changing a vehicle is no different.

    I was undecided which way to go, Ford Freestar (SEL) or Dodge Grand Caravan (SXT) – they are both very similar equipped, and are much lower priced than any other van. I definitely needed the rear seat which flushes into the floor, so GM vans were out of the question. And since I’m leasing (now called “smart buy”), long term reliability and resale value was 2 things I did not care about.

    Let me say first what I like about the new Dodge Caravan. The ride is smooth and quiet; power is more than enough for my needs, although the engine is not as quiet as I expected; turning circle is also much tighter than Windstar/Freestar; the LCD of the radio is much superior over the Windstar/Freestar; much more room for passengers in all seating positions (except toe room for 3rd row seaters); the 60/40 rear seat is just terrific and much superior to the one piece design of the Freestar (though I don’t need the second row stow’n’go seats which are very uncomfortable – according to many of my passengers); And from what I’ve read, mileage should also be much better than the Ford vans. So far I can not test it because I still have less than 300 miles, and my trip computer averages 14.6 MPG; I also like the 8-way power seats over 6-way from Ford.

    Now what I like better in the Ford Freestar: Lights! So many more lights all over, including lamps at the bottom of the car (where the pedals are located) for the driver & passenger, and second row stepwell lamps, and I love the baby sleeping mode (where all bottom lights illuminate and none of the overhead lights, so if you (or a baby) sleep it won’t disturb you when a passenger opens a door to leave).

    Then there is the illuminated cruise control, illuminated audio controls, signal mirrors and puddle lamps below the outside mirrors; and illuminated controls for power door locks & windows. I also like the cargo lamp in the Freestar over the liftgate lamp in the Caravan, since the Freestar’s lamp lights straight on the cargo, unlike the Caravan which illuminated the outside of the van when liftgate is open, not on the cargo direct. But the Caravan does have standard 3rd row reading lamps (which helps brighten the rear area), where the Freestar only offers it on the Limited model. I also like in the Freestar when you unlock the van, the headlamps automatically comes on (even on the manual controlled headlamps equipped models).

    I think the seats in the Freestar are a little more comfortable, but this may change soon, since the seats in the Caravan are still extremely firm, and will probably get better and softer with the time.

    After test driving the Freestar, I must say that the handling is much better than the Windstar, and not far away from DC vans. Actually, to say the truth, I think that the 2005 DC vans are way too soft (the ’03 T&C I drive in business is much better in both, firm ride and handling), even though I have the “touring” suspension, the ride is way too soft, and you don’t feel connected to the road at all, plus it have some side to side rocking. This may be due to the underbody redesign with the stow’n’go seats. So I would prefer the ride and handling of the Freestar over the ’05 Dodge Grand Caravan (but not over the ’03). Too bad I did not test driven the DC before, b/c I assumed it will be the same as the T&C I drive at work.

    Glove box is extremely small and useless in the Dodge Caravan, and not much better in the Freestar. I’ve rented 2 weeks ago a small Mazda3, which, among other excellent things, have a HUGE glove box (about 4 times as big) which was, by the way, illuminated. Both, the Freestar and Caravan, lack a light in the glove box.

    Today was the first real snow here in upstate NY, and I just wished myself that DC vans should still offer the heated stripes in the bottom of the windshield (wiper de-icer). It would be so useful.

    Another thing I like in the Dodge Caravan which Freestar lacks, is a drawer under the front passenger seat, which is very useful to store smaller items. On the other hand, the Freestar has a cover on the bin below the climate controls which is also very useful. The Caravans bin is useless with no cover. And Freestar also have the bin on top of the windshield, and much more useful storage bins and bottle holders on the doors which DC don’t have.

    The Freestar offers panic assist brakes, all-speed traction control and stability control, while DC vans offer none of them, with the exception of low-speed traction (up to 30 or 35 mph). Big difference in safety.

    I also think the transmission in the Freestar is a bit smoother than the DC. But the engine is definitely much more refined in the DC vans, although my van still vibrates slightly while idle.

    Other things I like in the Freestar over the DC vans: 10 minute power accessory delay (vs. 45 seconds on the DC); separate remote control for lock/unlock doors – although you schlep less things with all the buttons built-into the key (as DC vans), it’s very difficult to use without looking each time what button you press; Keypad entry; Controls for rear wiper much smarter design in the Freestar; Outside mirrors is closer to the doors and don’t have that big blind spot DC vans have – but both, the Freestar and Caravan have relatively small mirrors, in contrast to the Toyota Sienna and Nissan Quest which have HUGE useful mirrors; fuel tank capacity (Freestar have 26 gallon vs. DC have 20 gallon – even though the DC have better mileage.)

    That’s approximately my observes the first few days, having had a Windstar for 3 years (with almost no problems) and test driving Freestars, and decided on a Dodge Grand Caravan. I will definitely find some more issues as time passes, and I will probably post them here.

    If Chrysler / Dodge read this board, I again ask them: Please restore all the good stuff you eliminated the last few years from your vans! You used to be the best and most luxury on the market; don’t let yourself fall more and more. True, you have stow’n’go seats, but that’s not enough to compete with other competitions. Bring back the illuminated key ring; The safety/reflector lamps on the front doors; Dual liftgate lamps; Dual lamps on sun visors with variable brightness; Visor extender; Covers for all the storage bins around the van, included the bin below the climate control and cup holders, and included the 3d row seat bins; Light in the glove box; Wiper de-icer; Illuminate all controls for easy night viewing; and then copy some more stuff from your competitors. I really hope the
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Good post. Agree that DC was unwise (stupid?) to eliminate some good stuff.
         My Chrysler T&C LX has most of those nice items you mentioned...and the LX was the "bottom of the line" Town & Country in 2002.
  • I am interested in your thoughts on Dodge T&C TOuring vs,. Dodge SXT with power lift gate. Price is $1000 different with very few different options (tire pressure monitoring). Dealer says that T&C had quieter foam installed into frame and also has extra silicon to reduce road noise? Vans look the same to me though.

    SO, what is the difference in the two and should I just buy the cheaper of the two.

    4roses
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I was in the same boat. Let me tell you from my experience: All I wanted was "rear backup sensor", which is very important to me. Of course I also needed power seats, trip computer, the 3.8L engine (more power than the 3.3L), and some other stuff.

    Problem in the Town Country is that you need to get leather in order to get some of the above features, and I HATE leather. So I went with the Dodge SXT with premium package and I was all set, plus I got it for about $1,300 cheaper.

    So it comes down to leather choice: If you need the leather, and you take the luxury group with the T&C, yes, it will cost you more but get some more stuff (but NOT more isolation - they are both equal quiet and your dealer don't know what he is talking about). You'll get on the T&C auto dimming mirrors inside and out; I think the vehicle information center with tire pressure monitor, and some upscale materials (I mean aluminum or wood), better stereo, Automatic headlamps (which also turns on when wipers is engaged - of course you can turn it off if you don't like it), and appearance - T&C looks better than Caravan in the front, grille, headlamps, fog lamps, bodyside cladding, and rear chrome piece on the liftgate.

    If you don't want leather, Dodge Caravan is the way to go as I did. If you take the leather with the Caravan SXT, it will not be much cheaper than T&C, and you loose some stuff.

    But Dodge is definitely the cheaper if money is the object here. They are both the same with only different packages. Both have the same noise isolation.
  • How does the back-up sensor work? My understanding is it beeps if there is something within 5-6 feet of it. But in most parking lots that will be the case, especially if you pull forward. Do you really listen to the sensor or do you end up ignoring it because it goes off often? Thanks.
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    Great info. Thanks. The TC dealer says he will beat the DGC, which is $900 less, so it is definatley a hard decision.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I like the way it works in the DC vans. It have warning lamps in the rear of the van (which you watch while looking in the rearview mirror), the closer you get to an object more and more lights comes on - if the object is on the right side then the lamps on the right side is more than those on the left side - and vice versa. When reaching about 12 inches near the object and all lamps are already on, then you hear a some beeps, and the beeps get closer to each other until you hear a continuously beep, which means you're almost touching the object, than you know it's time for a real stop.
  • My wife just bought a slightly used '05 T&C to replace her '93 Grand Voyager at 147k miles. The GV was leaking oil from every gasket, but otherwise still running OK.

    The one option the TC does not have that she wants is a trunk lid release button on the dash. Does anyone know of an aftermarket version?
  • Yes, but only with the power tailgate.
  • I'm looking at short wheelbase vans - specifically the Caravan SXT and T&C Signature Series.

     

    Is there anything to pick between them? It doesn't appear you can get the 3.8. Is there an equivilent of the Sport package - larger wheels and tirs, stiffer suspension - for the SWB versions?

     

    I want a well appointed one for business, other things like power doors make no difference, in fact for me they are a negative.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I have not seen any short wheel base T&C with a tachometer that is standard in the Caravan SXT. Neither one has the optional 3.8L V6 and I am not impressed with the Signature series for either.

         You can price one with options here at Edmunds New Cars to see exactly the available options or you could go to either Dodge or Chrysler web site and do the same. Edmunds usually has more up to date and easier to use data than either Dodge or Chrysler.

         The Dodge Caravan SXT or Grand Caravan SXT has better content for less money than the Chrysler T&C clone.
  • artsarts Posts: 5
    I purchased a 2005 GC SXT last June. I notice that it has a rear anti-sway bar installed. According to my reading of the specifications, the only way to get a rear sway bar is with the Touring Suspension which only comes with the Premium Package. I did not buy the Premium Package according to my window sticker. My question is, "How did I get the rear anti-sway bar, is it stock or somehow did I get the Touring Suspension?
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Do you feel any difference in handling with the sway bar? I have the touring suspension in my new Dodge Grand Caravan, but unfortunately the '03 Town & Country I drive at work handles better than mine, and have less body lean in turns! Let alone the ride is much more settled and smooth.

     

    By the way, I feel that in the DC vans, the horn is not easy to operate. You have to push the horn (steering wheel) very firmly, with more effort than other vehicles, and avoids me to give sometimes a last second warning to other drivers. I don't know - my Windstar's horn has been much more easy to use. It's a minor issue unless it's a second before an emergency and you can't warn the other driver.
Sign In or Register to comment.