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Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan 2005+

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  • Dodge dealer in PA offered us '05 GC SXT with DVD ($1200) and Wood Grain interior ($600) for OTD price of $25,158.70 with rebates and a '96 Merucry Cougar trade-in (KBB of $1500).

    Here's the thing . . . our neighbor works at Chrysler, and the Sales Manager wants us to call him, that he'll match the offer on a Town and Country Touring, same features, as well.

    I'd like some advice on whether there is a difference between the cars . . . we thought the SXT was more comfortable. Can anyone comment on there being a difference between the top of the line GC or the middle-tier Chrysler???

    Thanks for your time.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    If your neighbor works at DCX, he might be able to give you his "employee price", which means an additional $3500 off. DCX was allowing employees to do this before end of year. This is in addition to ALL Rebates, discount etc..

    I got the rebates and a DCX friend gave me his employee discount.....almost $7k off!!!

    I"ve not seen a SXT with wood trim, is this dealer installed? aftermarket??

    Thanks!
  • The wood panel work would be installed, along with the DVD when we pick it up on Friday/Saturday, depending on the weather.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    If you go with leather seating, there would be no major difference (if you compare leather seats in the Dodge SXT, and leather seating in the Chrysler Touring PLUS the luxury package).

    The Chrysler T&C do have some minor cosmetic features, like nicer gauges; more chrome trim inside and out, body side cladding, and I think also an outside auto-dimming mirror (not sure if the Dodge GC offers that).
  • Anyone know or have experience with computer chip upgrades? I have a 2005 T&C and would like to increase my gas mileage. Any tips, experience or stories are welcome.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    I would imagine if a computer chip would do it, Chrysler would put it on. What are you getting now on your 3.8? I also have the same engine. Check my post out on mini van mileage.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    The Engine Control Modules are flashed at the factory. I don't think you need to change the chip set, just find someone into ECU. probably not worth effort though. I'm sure they program for mileage, not performance!!
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Some dealers do not have the Caravan or SWB T&C. Will DC continue to produce these slightly smaller, more maneuverable minivans? Or, will they be dropped as were AWD and the Plymouth name?
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    I understand they are made in the U.S. plant and will continue to be. Although that plant will also be building the bigger Grand vans with stuff-n-go seats to take some of the strain off the Canadian plant, because of the high demand for the stuff-n-go vans.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    1) At least a 5sp auto tranny. Don't feel like you can't exceed expectation with maybe a 6 spd!!! I know Mercedes offers them!!!

    2) 21st century engine .... Multivalve etc...

    3) No booming exhaust note at 75 mph

    4) Higher quality interior

    5) Stow 'n Go seats that can be fitted together to form bench.

    6) Front windshield defroster BACK!!!

    7) Larger glovebox

    8) More interior storage bins/boxes. They don't cost a lot if designed into the trim molds initially!!!! DCX will spend $$$$ to have two different front door panels...just use all that $$$ to creat ONE nice panel!!!
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I like my 2002 T&C LX (clone of 2002 GC Sport)with 3.3L V6. The 3.3L with 4 speed AT offers satisfactory performance with good fuel economy but I think you have some excellent suggestions.
    Is your # 3 situation caused by the Stow-n-Go feature? My 2002 T&C does not have a booming exhaust noise at any speed (up to 90 MPH...but I normally drive 65-70 MPH on Interstate roads).
    I think 2nd row Stow-n-Go is overkill. How many families also own a motorcycle they may need to haul in the T&C/GC when it runs out of gas?
    The 2005 Odyssey EX has almost perfect seating arrangements. ( Sienna 2nd row seats and DC Stow-n-Go not comfortable like Odyssey). Just copy the Ody design for 2nd and 3rd row but keep former DC overhead console and trip computer that had the Instant Economy feature. Offer the current 3.3L as base, 3.8L optional, and offer the 5.7 V8 Hemi for a performance minivan.
    Personally, I think the less complex OHV engines with more low end torque are preferable to complex, many valve per cylinder, double-triple-or quadruple OHC engines.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Correct. The 2005 DC vans do have a big noise while accelerating. I drive a 2003 T&C at work and is much quieter than my 2005. That probably because of the stow-n-go seats.

    I would like to add to the list:

    Higher quality interior: plus make the controls illuminated for night driving (which I do a lot). (Includes headlamps controls, switches for power door locks, windows and mirrors, ignition key ring, and cruise control and perhaps audio controls on the steering wheel).

    Stability control! - plus all-speed traction control. The current DC vans controls traction only up to 30-35 MPH.

    Larger glove box: Plus a light inside. I think that older DC vans (96-00 MY) used to have them.

    More interior storage bins: Put a cover on the lower portion of the controls (below the cup holders and climate system) so we can use that useless room for storage.

    Bring back all the lights. I mean DUAL liftgate lamps, security lamps on the front doors, DUAL lights on the vanity mirrors with adjustable illumination, and by the way, add a larger mirror on the sun visors, the current one is way too small.

    Copy some useful features from other vans. Ford Freestar when you click the "unlock" button on your key fob, the headlamps comes on along with the interior lights, very useful for those dark nights. I also like the "baby sleeping mode" in the Freestar, and so is the little "conversation mirror" which has been copied by Toyota and Honda on their new vans.

    I really hope Chrysler understands that they're not the dominating the van market anymore, and they should do something to show the world what they can. With vans, just the look won't do the job as in the 300. of course a good (Hemi?) engine and 5-speed would help a lot, but some other things is necessary to win back all the Honda and Toyota lovers.

    In my opinion, the column shifter should be left on the steering column like the current design. It gives much more useful room between the 2 front rows. I don't care about the shifter which i use once before i start driving and don't look at it anymore until the end of the trip. What's your opinion?

    Another minor thing bothers me, is the lower part of the windshield (where the registration sticker is placed) is very hard to reach. Whenever I need to change inspection or registration stickers I have a hard time. The bulky speaker makes it very difficult to remove one sticker and replace it with another one. Did you notice that?
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I test drove a new 2005 Ody EX-L-Nav-Res and it was just as quiet on the Interstate as my lower priced 2002 T&C LX although the Ody was quieter accelerating and has more comfortable driver seat with better leg and foot room.
    DC should have copied the Odyssey seating for 2nd and 3rd row instead of their Stow-N-Go. The Ody 60/40 split 3rd row folds into or out of the floor more nicely than the DC Stow-N-Go and both rows of seats are more comfortable than 2nd and 3rd row SNG.
    As far as interior appearance, I feel my 2002 T&C LX interior is just as attractive as the Ody EX-L-Nav-Res although the Ody leather is VERY comfortable. (DC leather is not as supple and soft as Ody leather...but I have cloth and would get a cloth Ody EX).
    VERY sad that DC has eliminated too many of the nice features of my lowly LX with their newer minivans. My LX has all of those lights that are so nice. Maybe DC minivans are falling below the competition (Odyssey is the only other minivan I would purchase).
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    The 2005 DC has definitely more noise at acceleration than the models before. Even though Chrysler claims that they are 16% quieter than the older models. I guess you'll not be able to notice that from one short test drive, but I'm driving both almost daily, so I see the difference.

    And it's not only me, even Consumer Reports agrees to that. Let me just post you the words from the new April issue I just got from CR:

    Chrysler Town & Country:

    "...Interior flexibility got a boost with the introduction of the 2005 model, which has optional flat folding second- and third- row seats. This setup forced Chrysler to drop the AWD model. The minivan rides well enough with a light load and handles securely. Interior noise has become more pronounced. The 3.8-liter V6 isn't as smooth, quiet, or fuel-efficient as the engines in the Odyssey and Sienna..."

    Dodge Grand Caravan:

    ...Our tested Grand Caravan was pleasant, but it's falling behind the competition. The optional flat-folding second- and third - row seats improve interior flexibility, but noise levels increased...."

    It's not that I trust CR, they are VERY biased as seen in other boards (and I'll give you an example in a minute), but they are otherwise pleased with the DC vans, and always praised the quietness of the DC vans. Now all-of-a-sudden they complain about the increased noise?

    BTW, both, Chrysler and Dodge vans are recommended by CR.

    Anyway, Hans, the above message is for Chrysler to improve in the NEXT generation minivans (2007?). I know it's too bad they eliminated all the good stuff, but it's kind of too late to cry now, especially that they are still leader in sales (with rentals included, I know, but it doesn't matter). All we want now, Chrysler should take care and try to surpass the competition - if that is possible at all - and copy features and improve in all areas.

    The interior of the DC vans is not that bad, but it's dated, too busy, and not clear and simple, it's way more confusing than it should be. I could give you many examples. Also I don't like the white background on the instrument cluster (gauges). True, the creamy light-blue background in the T&C Limited is quite nice, but the one in the LX and Dodge models are not pleasant at all. The Ford Freestar has much more attractive designed interior IMO. I don't like the interior design of the new Odyssey either. But I give them credit for the illuminated window controls - finally the first time for a Honda minivan.

    Now a word about the CR April (car) issue. There are several new vehicles out there. Example: the Ford Five Hundred and Freestyle. When CR rates reliability, they need to have at-lease one year of information, so most new models aren't ranked, it just say "NEW", which means it's still too early to rate it. So most new models are rated "NEW". Even though the above models are more than 6 months out there on the market. On the other hand, the new Toyota Avalon, which is less than ONE month old, is already rated for excellent reliability and highly recommended. The same goes for the Honda Odyssey - it's just a few months out on the market, and it is already reliable, recommended, and even a "Best Pick"!
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Has anyone upgraded their speakers? I checked on Crutchfield and I believe you need to cut off the existing connectors???? Seems more trouble than worth!
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Agree. They are unpleasant in many daylight situations.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Take a look here:

    http://www.detnews.com/2005/autosinsider/0503/06/B01-108426.htm

    While Chrysler tries hard to bring stylish designs to their vehicle lineup, they will have a problem with the minivans.

    "...The biggest challenge, however, may be a minivan redesign to update its dowdy image without alienating buyers who have made it one of Chrysler's best sellers. Creed has put Chrysler 300 lead designer Ralph Gilles on the job, but still recognizes what he faces.

    "We will give people who own minivans," he said, "as much style as we can give them..."
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    I hate to say "retro" since minivans have only been around for 20 years, but maybe it's time to go back to a boxier shape aka Honda style?? the one glaring thing from the CR report is while the DCX vans are same size as Honda/Toyota, the interior volume is much less...10 cubic feet less!!
  • mrblonde49mrblonde49 Posts: 626
    "Now a word about the CR April (car) issue. There are several new vehicles out there. Example: the Ford Five Hundred and Freestyle. When CR rates reliability, they need to have at-lease one year of information, so most new models aren't ranked, it just say "NEW", which means it's still too early to rate it. So most new models are rated "NEW". Even though the above models are more than 6 months out there on the market. On the other hand, the new Toyota Avalon, which is less than ONE month old, is already rated for excellent reliability and highly recommended. The same goes for the Honda Odyssey - it's just a few months out on the market, and it is already reliable, recommended, and even a "Best Pick"!"



    I posted the same thing in the "minivan shopping" board last week.
    mrblonde49, "Minivan Shopping" #413, 2 Mar 2005 10:17 am
    It does seem a bit biased...
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Agree that boxier shape is more space efficient but I think the 2005 Odyssey exterior appearance is not as attractive as the 1999-2004.
    I personally think the DC minivans are THE MOST ATTRACTIVE of any minivan except for the grille of the 2005 T&C that resembles the cheaper Voyager of earlier years. All DC needs to do is copy the better designed seating of the Odyssey, include the nice items formerly standard on DC minivans, and include a 5 speed AT.
    CR measurement of interior volume is about as deceptive as the elusive WMD we were told about a couple of years ago.
    CR uses an expandable rectangular area that measures the volume using the VOLUME of that inclosed area. In the real world, DC minivans have more cargo space in the area not inclosed within that mythical space that CR measures. When we travel, we can put bags between the middle seats and the sliding doors in the large area that is not included in CR's measurement.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Interior space is not deceptive, I can look in my father's Honda and see more space in the Honda, I can compare my DCX Van to my previous Venture and see more space in Chevy. The rear portion of the roof slopes down in my Caravan.

    I think if you look at the Neon replacement, you'll see the direction of the Caravan styling for MY08!!
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    The GC/T&C has THE MOST actual total interior space of the minivans...although the Odyssey has MORE CARGO space behind the 3rd row seat when the seats are in place or behind 2nd row if 3rd row folded into floor or removed.
    Here are the actual numbers in cubic feet:
    Caravan Grand Caravan Odyssey
    Behind 3rd row 15.3......20 or 26.4.......38.4
    Behind 2nd row 45.6.........54.2............91.1
    Behind FT seats146.7..167.9or160.7....147.4

    The Odyssey has THE most cargo space behind 3rd row or behind 2nd row BUT the GC has much more than the Odyssey if 2nd and 3rd row seats are removed (or all folded in GC with Stow-N-Go).
    Consumer Reports does NOT provide accurate data on actual interior space due to their method of measuring only the space available with an expandable rectangle. Very few items of cargo consist of only one large box.
    The Venture has less total interior space than either the Odyssey or GC and not much more than the Caravan or 2005 short wheel base T&C.
  • mrblonde49mrblonde49 Posts: 626
    If you don't mind me asking, what did you pay for your van? I bought an 04 Touring Platinum 6 weeks ago w/ DVD, NAV & Moonroof & figured it would cost me about $4000-$4500 to get an '05 to get he stow and go, rails and side airbags ( I wouldn't have gotten a moonroof). They didn't have anything at the time configuredlike this, but I couldnt pass up 9K off sticker (6 K in rebates. I got mine for $27,842 purchase price & only $100 in fees (plus 6% tax). Hopefully I won't miss the stow and go much (haven't yet)
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Why not count the approx 8 cubic ft with stow n go seats are out of the box?
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Good suggestion. The Chrysler T&C numbers are slightly different from the Caravan and Grand Caravan.
  • kjmsrkjmsr Posts: 4
    We have a'96 T&C and have started looking for our next van. We drove the 2005 T&C, Odyssey and Sienna. Both the Odyssey and Sienna can be ordered with side curtain airbags AND moon roofs - the Chrysler cannot. It's one or the other. This was a showstopper for my wife.

    That said, the Sienna seems to nickel and dime every option and is very expensive while the Odyssey sems to have a lot of serious problems according to the Odyssey forum.... We'll keep looking.
  • kfdmedkfdmed Posts: 130
    The lack of side curtain airbags was a showstopper for me too ... until I did a little research. The increased safety of the van is increased marginally. Since occupants in the van sit higher the need for side curtain airbags is less than in a sedan. I dont believe there is a benefit for infants or toddlers in car/booster seats and may even pose a risk to small children in booster seats without backs. I just purchased a T&C touring signature series which comes with the moonroof along with DVD/NAV. I would have preferred the side airbags to the moonroof but thats not the way it came bungled. I dont see why people prefer moonroofs. You lose headroom and with the DC vans you lose the overhead rail storage system. Good luck finding DC vans with side airbags on dealers lots. You will be lucky to find a dealer with one. I asked the salesperson why they dont order any and he said people dont want to pay the money for them ($500-600). I anxiously wait the results from the insurance institutes testing of vans with and without side airbags. Hopefully, I wont regret my decision to purchase a van without them.
  • greener1greener1 Posts: 37
    all i want is a chrysler town and country that works, purchased new 2005 with 54 miles on odometer, in shop at 144 miles, loud whine in transmission while accelerating, axle or rim noise in rear end on deceleration, paint issues on sliding passenger door, i.e., not painted and metal showing through, and i thought chrysler was improving in quality, i cannot believe when one pays so much money they cannot at least build a complete car that works, mine gone 2 days now and no known timetable on issues being taken care of, one could not sell this car on a used car lot with all these issues, and it was sold so called new
  • mrblonde49mrblonde49 Posts: 626
    Why would you accept a car with problems as obvious as bare metal on the passener door? Did you not inspect it?
  • greener1greener1 Posts: 37
    was inspected by me, but area was on BOTTOM of sliding door, where one rubs finger along thickness of door, where no one could see this, only when drying car after cleaning, get on your knees and lay down in order to see it, could feel the extra metal sledge at end of door sill same area, what is one to do anymore, get out a magnifying glass and go over every knook and cranny, outside paint job was fine, but area in question is subject to possible rust down road with road salt, etc. I am more concerned about the obvious extra sounds and noises that came about after having car a couple of days, especially in a new car with only 144 miles
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