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Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan 2005+

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Comments

  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    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: 1,565
    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.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,104
    Truckin' on over to the Vans board with this discussion - steve's your new host, so be good to him :)

    MODERATOR

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  • 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!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    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: 18,943
    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: 1,565
    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: 18,943
    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: 1,565
    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: 18,943
    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: 18,943
    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: 18,943
    It would be nice if Edmunds.com could add the '05 DC vans to their New Car section, since they are now for sale.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    Contact us!

    (Not me specifically <g>)

    Steve, Host
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    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.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,943
    For other vehicles, e.g. the Mazda3, the cars were listed in the New Cars site and prices posted even before they were available for sale in my area. Actually, Edmunds.com named the Mazda3 their choice for under $15,000 car before it was available in my area, come to think of it. Maybe Mazdas are of more importance to Edmunds.com than Chryslers. ;-)
  • vmtsysvmtsys Posts: 9
    for 2005 models with the options (USA) have been listed on other major sites for some time now. I cannot list those sites here due to membership rules.

    Canadian MSRP figures are also available from dealers if you ask for them.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,943
    I got a nice email back from Edmunds.com saying that the prices should be posted by March 3.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    Now we'll have to wait and see if the invoice prices are available here Wednesday.

    Nice work, Backy!

    Steve, Host
  • svevarsvevar Posts: 160
    The Dodge and Chrysler websites for the `05 minivans are now open, and allow you to build and price.

    http://www.chrysler.com/town_country/

    http://www.dodge.com/caravan/

    -- Mark
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,943
    Edmunds.com had their prices up yesterday, including TMVs, as promised.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,943
    Those who are turned off from the '05 DC vans because of the price compared to '04s, take heart. A local dealer was advertising '05 Grand Caravan SXTs today for $22,299 after the $1000 trade-in bonus. That's only $2000 over the lowest price I've seen for the '04s. And thousands less than other large vans that have comparable equipment.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    That really sounds like a good price and the SXT is really well equipped even with no additional options.

    I assume the "trade in bonus" is just another word for rebate and you get that whether you trade a car in or not?

    Looks like DC is going to be very competitive on price and features. At least I won't have to read the endless rants about the glorious stowable third row seats in Siennodysseys now that DC stows both rows.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,943
    I assume the "trade in bonus" is just another word for rebate and you get that whether you trade a car in or not?

    Um, no, I wouldn't assume that if I were you. But I could see someone going out and buying an old clunker for $100 just to trade it in. ;-)
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    That's OK, I don't plan on replacing the '96 Caravan for a few more years anyway so by then who knows, maybe they will have a stowable drivers seat too!
  • mark76mark76 Posts: 15
    I recently attended the Milwaukee auto show. They had many '05 vans with the stow away seats. I WAS in the market for a van so I examined these carefully. In short wanted to like them, but I was very disappointed in the 2nd and 3rd row seat design. Yes, the fact that the 2nd row seats completely stow into the floor is novel, but they gave up too much to achieve this. These seats are tiny and very uncomfortable. And I'm an average sized person. the split third row seat is a joke! The smaller end of the bench is so small our child doesn't fit comfortably on it. It's obviously a retrofit (to their current van design) because it appears the wheel wells intrude in the passenger compartment making for a narrow 3rd row bench. I believe DCC missed the mark here. The seats were so uncomfortable I'd rather get an '04, which by the way are unbelievably discounted (6 to 8K off MSRP!). These vans will not stave off the inroads Toyota, Honda, and now Nissan are making into the mini (Oops, "sport") van market. BTY, I bought a Sienna.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,943
    It's definitely one of those "try with the family before you buy" things. The new seats are much firmer than the old seats--that NASA foam stuff I guess. I personally didn't find them uncomfortable (I'm average sized too) but they were a different feel from the '04s. And the rear seat is definitely narrower in width, so if you plan on holding three adults back there regularly you want to think twice about the '05. Also someone correct me if this is wrong, but I recall that the rear seat does not recline in the '05--or am I thinking of the split seat in the '04?
  • momstruck1momstruck1 Posts: 206
    a showroom yet? i am looking for a van now and was set on the toyota but with all the new vans comming out i want to see what everyone has to offer first. I have at least a year to be choosey I went to toyota by me and was told 6-8 weeks for the van i want to have it ordered. Just wondering thanks guys.We are in NYC area.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,943
    Yes, the 2005s have been advertised and sold by local dealers (in Twin Cities) for a couple of weeks now. One dealer told me they kept the 2005s in the back until they closed out the 2004s--perhaps your dealer is using that strategy.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    Of course, that's because I drive a 2003 Voyager LX. Except for headlights with a slightly different shape, the front end of my van looks exactly like the 2005 T&C. I'm happy about that because it means my van will look newer for years to come until Chrysler updates the front end again. I'm sure current T&C owners are not real happy because their vans are now dated; and, because the T&C no longer has a "premium" look over lower priced vans from Chrysler. I searched on "front end" in this thread and found no posts. Does anyone have a comment on the front end of the new T&C?
  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    Not only the grille and lights are changed, but the whole front bumper cover is different. The lower grille is different and it has no separate licence plate holder as that is now integrated into the cover.From the rear, the exhaust pipe exits from the drivers side instead of the passenger side. The spare is stored under the front passenger seat under the van to make room for the stow and go folding seats.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    is changed over the T&C of the past, but not different from the van I have--at least from the pictures I saw. Yes, the chrome strip thing is different and the flat spot for the plate is changed and the fog lights are different; but, at quick glance while driving down the road, mine will still look newer longer. That's all I meant.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,943
    Since besides the front fascia, the rest of the '05 looks the same as the '01-'04s, those older vans will "look new" for some time to come, until the next full redesign.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    You're right, the profile did not appear to change so even the older T&C will resemble the new one.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    The bodyside cladding on the lower portions of the side doors are different, too. And the wheels are different, but some '04 models have them. And the rear parking assist on select models also make it look different.

    IMO I prefer the grille of the '01-'04 models, with the logo on the center of the grille. It's more rich looking and feels bolder.
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 238
    I agree, the old grille might look nicer, but that grille had pretty much been around since the fall of 1997, when the 1998 Chrysler Town & Country's came out.

    It was time to change something about the front, for better or worse!
  • A little advice, plan a full day (preferably the last 4 days of the month when you can get best price) and look at them all back to back to back if possible. I dragged my wife around and looked at the Ford Freestar, the 2004 Chrysler Town and Country, the 2005 Chrysler Town and Country, the Toyota Sienna, the Nissan Quest, and the Honda Odyssey all in one day. Grueling, but was the best way to compare all under the same conditions. We were in "buy" mode on day we looked.

    If you rarely take the 3rd seat out anyway - you cannot beat the unbelievable deals on the 2004 Town and Country being closed out. Saw ads in Chicago as low as $18,500 for the SE with quite a few options. 2004 Dodge Caravan SXT seem to be available for $21,000 or less. They are going fast. 2005 Chrysler brings little to the table beyond the folding second row seat that does not already exist in Sienna/Quest/Odyssey. Optional side curtain air bag is a plus, but was out there already standard in Quest and optional on Sienna. If you can wait until fall - 2005 Odyssey hits show rooms circa October, which will improve pricing on 2005 Chrysler products as well as the Sienna, plus possibility of close outs on decent 2004 Odyssey.
  • and I love it! This is my first minivan and it is great. SXT with DVD, power doors, power everything actually, moonroof, uconnect. Got it around invoice and got the tow package included after negotiated price.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    for the first time. It was the Chrysler. Besides the seats, most of it looks the same. I was in a hurry so I was at it just about 3 minutes.

    I noticed they eliminated the sun visor extender, and variable illumination for the visor mirror. Just one lamp (instead of 2 in the old models). Maybe it was just a lower-end model.

    They still does NOT have the wiper de-icer feature back.

    The seats are not this bad, but everything is very small, the padding and very thin armrests (second row).

    I also couldn't find the rear wiper switch, they definitely changed location for that switch somewhere else.

    Outside mirrors are still very small, actually the smallest of any minivan, and also have a great blind spot. Most minivans' mirrors are much closer to the door, so no huge blind spot.

    The lower model I've seen (LX I think) has a redesigned instrument panel (gauges), the info panel is gone (FINALLY!) and it seems nicer than the older LX models.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    If you adjust mirrors properly, you can eliminate blind spots. Outside driver side mirror should be angled away so you cannot see the side of the van. You use the inside rear view mirror for seeing cars farther behind you, then as a vehicle is overtaking you, you then begin to pick it up in the outside mirror. Then, as the vehicle leaves the field of view of the oustide mirror, you should be able to pick it up in your peripheral vision.

    Most people do not adjust their outside mirrors properly as they set it up to be able to see the back sides of their own vehicle, thus leaving a large blind spot. We have a '96 Caravan and a 2000 Taurus, neither of which have pariticularly large mirrors, but adjusted properly you can completely eliminate your blind spot with both vehicles.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I read your opinion so many times already in many boards. Fact is you'll not change the way people used to adjust mirrors. The fact is also that most other minivans, especially the new Sienna & Quest, have very large mirrors which gives you a good view - leave alone the blind spot - which should be standard in all other models, too. Chrysler missed the point with that. I sent them so many messages the last 2 years about that. OK, it's not a deal breaker, but would like to see it from the former minivan leader.
  • svevarsvevar Posts: 160
    At the local Chrysler dealer this past weekend I checked out an `05 Town & Country with Stow 'n Go. Both the second and third rows were very easy to fold and unfold. There's also an impressive amount of storage space in the second row wells when the seats aren't stowed. Everything seemed sturdy and durable, despite the compact dimensions of the folding mechanisms. The second row seats are quite comfortable, but not as comfortable as the Captain's Chairs on `04 and earlier models. Not a problem to raise the headrests once the seats are unfolded, but I did think the armrests were on the small side. Still, this is a small price to pay for the convenience of the Stow 'n Go system.

    The overhead rail system was nicely done, as was the freshened dash. I've always liked the current Town & Country's dashboard, and now it's even better with new gauges and the new sycamore/satin-silver trim. In my opinion, it looks classier than the Toyota Sienna XLE Limited's dash.

    Overall, I think Chrysler's investments in the Town & Country and Caravan were money well spent. The 2005 models position Chrysler at or near the top of the minivan competition.

     -- Mark
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    My brother has a 2003 Odyssey EX-L and he made the same comments about the 2005 Chryslers. He was very impressed with the storage the bins provided in the 2nd row area. Maybe it will be a winner!
  • kbreakiekbreakie Posts: 3
    I stopped by my local "5 star" dealer yesterday and looked at a 2005 T&C Touring in the show room and made the following observation... You have to move the respective front seats all the way forward in order to fold in/fold out the 2nd row seats. In the case of the drivers side, no one can be sitting in the seat because of how close the seat gets to the steering wheel. The well cover needs the front seats out of the way in order to raise it up. Not a big deal but unexpected for me. I haven't seen anyone else mention this yet. Overall, I liked it except for the wheels. I did not have any sales help and did not operate the seats myself though.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    I have not tried to fold the seats myself, so I do not know, but, maybe if you had asked for help they would have shown you a trick to folding them down? I don't know. I have not heard anyone else say that about the front seats. On the ads on TV it does not look like they are folding the front seats forward. I'll have to check it out.
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