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Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan 2005+



  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    An reporter wants your opinion: “What are the coolest cars for soccer moms?” Please email 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?


  • 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.


    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.

  • 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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