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Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan 2005+

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Comments

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,015
    Now that the '05 is available for purchase, should this discussion be moved to Vans (as is the usual procedure) or would people rather pick it up in Chrysler Town and Country EX/LX/LXi/Limited and/or the Chrysler Voyager/Dodge Caravan discussion?

    Steve, Host
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Keep this forum as it now is. DC bashers can find it just as well here.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    Is to keep it a separate subject in the Vans section, as there is enough difference in the 2005 models to differentiate it.

    If this creates one more too many discussions, you could rename the Chrysler Town and Country to include the Dodge Grand Caravan, as most of the new features are on the long wheel base versions.
  • Truckin' on over to the Vans board with this discussion - steve's your new host, so be good to him :)

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331
    Could anyone who has seen a 2005 T&C or Grand Caravan please confirm:

    1) Are side curtain airbags optional on all models? Standard on any?

    2) Is stability control optional or standard on any model?

    3) Are all versions 7-passenger, or are there 8 or 9 passenger version, too?

    4) Do all seating positions have an adjustable head restraint?

    5) Do all seating positions have shoulder belts?

    6) How many seating positions have LATCH lower anchors for child seats?

    7) Do the shoulder belts in any of the rear seats have height adjusters or guides?

    Thanks!
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,015
    Welcome to Vans. At some point I'll move the '05 to the end of the title and put a + on there, but we'll keep this discussion separate.

    Hi Caviller; haven't seen you around lately!

    Steve, Host
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,629
    If Chrysler starts copying Honda on styling for their vans, I'll never by another DC van.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Chrysler exterior styling is the most beautiful out of all other minivans. I like minivans, and don't care about the illogical soccer-mom image.

    Interior I like most the new Sienna, though.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    Glad to see DC got the stow and go seats done right, comfortable and completely stowable.

    I think you can safely drop your grudge against Chrysler, er DaimlerChrysler, dating back to 1970, but I can understand. I still have a grudge dating to 1983 against GM. Haven't really had the urge to go back to them because I have found what I wanted with Ford and Chrysler since then. Also, nothing from GM has been in my crosshairs from a design or functionality standpoint in their minivan or mid-size cars that we have been buying, and Corvette is not in the budget.
  • carcom2carcom2 Posts: 212
    I finally got to see a 2005 Grand Caravan w/ Stow 'N Go(S&G) - middle of the line price. A bit disappointed after the much anticipated wait- first of all-I think the seats in my '97 Caravan are slightly more comfortable and possibly roomier. For the S&G 2nd row seat, unless you're the size of a kid, you'll need to raise the headrest for it to be the right height for head protection. If you don't the headrest in it's lowest position needed to be stowed,is somewhere behind your upper back. The 2nd row seats slide back far-lots of room. The problem is, even with the 2nd row seats all the way forward with still enough leg room,if you sit in the 3rd row, there is no room for your toes to go under the back of the 2nd row seat and with my boots on (size 10 1/2)my toes could not be straight because they hit the back of the 2nd row. Maybe with regular shoes on, they would just clear. Probably not a problem for kids or people w/ smaller feet. I found it a bit weird that there isn't any room for your toes to go under the seat. As far as the ride-handles well around the curves but disappointed on the highway - was doing 70 and you could feel the van sway (my '97 doesn't sway). Even the sales guy in the passenger seat noticed it. Must be because the van is slightly higher and the wells are sticking out under the chasis. Another observation is less headroom inside and I had to duck getting in so I wouldn't hit me head coming in. Don't have that problem with my '97. I'm not that eager any more to buy this van but will still wait to see a fully loaded one-really leaning more to the T&C if anything. The outside&inside of the 2005 Dodge is almost the same as the 2004. I can't see buying a new van that no one can recognize as new -no big deal on the S&G seats. If I went with let's say a Sienna, I wouldn't miss it. Just wish the Sienna looked better on the outside. Also I couldn't really hear this Dodge being 16% quieter like their marketing says. Hope this helped you out.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,629
    Thanks for the review. I guess that one inch of extra floor height does count. Re being 16% quieter, I happened to look at CR's last review of the Grand Caravan, a '04 eX, and it highlighted one characteristic as a plus: quietness. It also highlighted the lack of a folding rear seat. Anyway, I thought it curious that Chrysler spent a lot of money making the van even quieter, when that is one of its strengths already.

    The '05 is a tough value proposition, when new '04 GC SXTs are selling for just above $20k, and pretty well equipped SEs (incl. quad seats) for just over $18k. I am now wondering if the improvements are worth the extra money to me.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    16 percent quieter on an already very quiet vehicle probably isn't all that noticeable-its the law of diminishing returns. Once you get a vehicle to a certain level of quietness, large percentage improvements are less noticeable. 84 percent of nothing is still nothing, carried to the extreme.

    The main reason Chrysler emphasized making the redesign quiet is that with those big seat storage wells sticking down from the floor, it is very difficult to keep them from picking up road and other exterior noise and transmitting it to the cabin like a drum head. (Honda Odyssey is less quiet than it could be because of this) This was one reason Chrysler decided not to implement a stowable third seat during their last redesign- difficulty making the van quiet enough.

    So they emphasized solving the noise problem, and apparently exceeded their target. That's something engineers would love to be able to do all the time, just doesn't always happen within cost/competitive restraints of mass market price sensitive products.
  • Noise is a very subjective to test for. Sound pressure measures total pressure in all frequencies, but human ears are most sensitive to certain frequencies. Morever, oscillating noises which come and go may produce very low average sound readings, measured over a certain time period, but are irritating to hear.

    I must say that during my review of this product (05 stow and go) I was concerned about potential long-term rattling from the covers over the 2nd row seat wells. All things being equal - added parts usually adds risk for noise, particularly for large covers like those on the wells.

    Folding the second row seats away seems like a neat feature, but I think it will rarely be used by the average minivan buyer with a pile of kids to cart around, particularly if that owner has a pickup or utility trailer in the driveway. Tucking/removing the 3rd row seat is another matter - something I believe occurs often. Would have been a neat option to sell the average van with the folding 3rd row (real need) and offer the folding second row as an option.

    Loss of toe room as noted above is very real in 05 T&C to accommodate the folding second row seat. Still better than the Freestar for 3rd row legroom (abysmal 32.7 inches), but worse than Nissan/Sienna/Odyssey. For the record, the legrooms front to back go as follows:

    Freestar 40.7/38.0/32.7 (toes can slip under 2nd)
    Sienna 42.9/39.6/39.5 (toes can slip under 2nd)
    Nissan 41.6/41.2/41.1 (toes can pass 2nd row flap)
    Honda 41.0/40.0/38.1 (toes can slip under 2nd)

    Nissan seemed roomiest across the board for legroom.

    Chrysler book didn't have numbers in brochure so I don't know how they measure quantitatively, but you have to take in account legroom probably doesn't pick up the toes slipping under the second row - maybe someone out there (Host?) knows for sure how the measurement is made that is reported to consumer.

    Honda had best headroom in 3rd row - about 3/4" to 1" more than Ford/Nissan/Sienna. Probably a result of the "boxy" Ody vs more rounded competitors.

    Chrysler will sell lots of vans, but my personal vote went Odyssey when I had to lay the money on the table.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,629
    Saw the first ad in my local paper for the '05 Grand Caravan today--just over $25k for the SXT model. So they are discounting them already. I got a call from my local Chrysler dealer; they told me they had '05 T&Cs in and there was a $1000 rebate through this weekend--perhaps part of the current "conquest/loyalty" rebate program. I'm going to go take a look tomorrow to see if they are worth the premium over the '04s (e.g. Grand SXTs or T&Cs for $20k).
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,629
    I checked out the '05 T&C Touring edition today. The dealer is keeping them "on ice" in the back, trying to get rid of the '04s before unveiling the '05s. I spent 30 minutes going all over the interior, trying out all the tricks with the seats. I was very impressed with the ingenuity of the seat design and the ease with which they stowed and un-stowed. I share laundryguy's concern that the mid-row bin covers may develop rattles; some parts of them seemed like flimsy plastic, and I didn't see much rubber keeping the hard pieces from rubbing together. Also, the interior of the bins was a thin, rather loose near-carpet material. I wonder how easily it could be torn.

    I thought the seats were quite comfortable, despite their rather thin padding (must be the NASA-developed dense foam). I liked the high front seat edge on the back seat. Most bench seats are too flat for my taste. The rear seat would be comfortable for two adults or three small kids; I'd hate to sit with two adults back there. The main problem in the middle row has already been mentioned--lack of toe space. I am 5' 9-1/2", 32" inseam, and could get barely enough toe room for my left foot by pushing the seat all the way back. But that limits foot room in the back seat. I wonder if it would be a problem in vans w/o power front seats?

    Other than the seats, and front fascia, the vans looked just like '04s. Which is the rub. Right now there's about a $5000 premium for a '05 with Stow and Go over a comparable '04 (w/o the Stow and Go seats of course). If it were me, I'd take the $5000 and the split rear seat on the '04s.
  • We checked out the 2005 T&C to see the new features, were not impressed by the Stow n Go seats, neat how they fold into the floor but to us they seemed uncomfortable, not enough padding, to narrow, to short , small headrest, and flat back. Also wondered how they would hold up over time with dirt and stuff falling into the bottom of the seats and the folding system, the durability of the folding covers also concerned us.
    Both my wife and I noticed how you could feel the cupholders as you entered the 2nd row captains chairs. She is only 5'2'' and 120lbs and said she felt uncomfortable in the seats, said she could fell the seat frame or cupholder assembly. I am 6'4'' and 240 lbs and I noticed the same things, also didn't like the fact that the headrest was sticking into the middle of my back when I first sat down, had to raise the rather small headrest up a long way to protect my head, seemed like my shoulders were above the top of the seat and exposed, felt weird. The seats seemed very odd looking, the back was flat and felt strange and uncomfortable, the 2004 seat backs are much taller and they cradle the body as they are curved, just feel more natural.
    The Stow n Go seats fold into the floor, easy quick and neat, but how many times do you need to do that? some may need it often but many people won't just depends on ones usage habits. To us we did not want to have to every day endure what we felt were uncomfortable seats for the ease of the Stow n Go option that we would only expect to use once in a blue moon. We have a family of four and will use the 2nd row seats almost every day, yet we would only very very rarely need to use the full cargo storage space.
    After we looked at the 2005 we decided to buy the 2004 while they were available and were discounted. We were offered almost $12,000 in discounts on a 2004 T&C van priced at almost $36,000, we felt that was fair although we would have held off buying had we not been disappointed in the 2005 seats.
  • Congrats on what I would agree is a wise decision. The 2004 T&C is just an unbelievable deal - saw entry levels as low as $18,000 with quite a few features. Every observation you saw I concur with on the 2005.

    Definitely a good time to buy unlike any minivan as competition is fierce. Incredibly loaded T&C for $24,000 is unbelievable value that will never be seen again. All manufacturers are facing heavily reduced profits as base raw materials like steel, aluminum, nickel (anything stainless steel), and copper are nearing record prices. For the imports, the pressure is even worse as they must contend with Yen and Euro that has increase 30 to 35% in just 3 years. Time to buy.

    Have fun in your new van!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,629
    It would be nice if Edmunds.com could add the '05 DC vans to their New Car section, since they are now for sale.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,015
    Contact us!

    (Not me specifically <g>)

    Steve, Host
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    I doubt if all the pricing of all the base vehicles and options, both msrp and invoice have been released yet, so Edmunds would not be able to put complete data out on the 2005's until sometime later. I'm not even sure that DC has done any official release of the 2005's until they build more inventory, even though they may be for sale already.
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