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Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan 2005+

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Comments

  • svevarsvevar Posts: 160
    To open the second row storage bins, you don't have to fold the front seats, but you do have to move them fairly far forward on their tracks. To fold the second and third row seats, you simply pull the numbered straps in succession, and everything pretty much takes care of itself. Of course, for the second row, you have to lift the lids covering the storage bins first.

     -- Mark
  • I observed this on my first look (post 85). I knew it was quite a ways (saw the salesman get out of the drivers seat so he must have been aware that his tail end could not be in the drivers seat to duck the 2nd row seat behind it), but didn't know it was all the way forward, but within two or three notches of all the way forward.

    If you didn't venture to the back seat you will notice a big loss in toe room (can't tuck them under the second row seat). Maybe not a big deal if you don't have anyone of size sitting in the back row. I have to admit the extra space that the seats duck into in the second row is nice, but I think having to slide the seats forward to access them all the time will make them quickly unused except for long trips with lots of people where you may be more desperate for the space. More likely a convenient dumping ground for emergency stuff (ropes, jumper cables, first aid kits, tools, etc). Even if this is the only use they get - its better than the rest for this functionality.

    Any new 2005 owners actually using those storage bins for anything other than longer term strorage? The big well behind the 3rd row seems to have added so much interior space by itself that it would not seem that the second row bins would get much use with the accessibility issues noted above. Loss of storage space vs old Windstar is my wife's only grumble on 2004 Odyssey so far.
  • My garage's ceiling, at its lowest point, is between 6'10" and 7'. Does anyone know if I'd be able to open the 2005 T&C's back power liftgate inside my garage? How high is it when it's open?

    Also, if it hits a low ceiling, what happens? Does it have some mechanism that causes it to stop, reverse, and close? Is there any way to get it to stay mainly open, without reversing? I could put some foam on my ceiling so it's nice and soft - would that help?

    Thanks!

    Mike
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Why not just get your tape measure and a step stool and go on down to your local Dodge or Chrysler dealer and measure it? It is not like these are rare vehicles, and I bet the 2004 models are identical to the 2005's, so you should be able to find one to measure.

    For what it's worth, our 1996 Caravan with manual rear gate opens fully in our garage, and it is a low garage, probably in the 6'10"-7' range, however if you are not in the garage far enough, it will touch the formed metal reinforcing "bar" on the inside of the lower garage door panel when open, which hangs down low as the last panel does not travel up to a flat position when full open. I padded it with foam rubber and duct tape so it doesn't scratch the paint. If the van is in the garage far enough, then this does not happen.
  • Thanks for the reply. I had already put down my deposit, I was actually picking up the van this morning. I was just freaking out - I guess that's what happens whenever I'm about to spend $30k... :-)

    Anyway, the rear liftgate will open manually, so if I just open it manually, and rest it on some foam or something on the ceiling, it'll be fine, even if the ceiling is a little short. (If you use the power liftgate, if it's a couple inches short, it'll hit the roof and then reverse and close.)

    But someone else posted that they measured it at 6'9". When I was there, and measuring it with my hand (I forgot a tape measure), I think 6'9" is probably close to accurate.

    Mike
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Let us know what you think of the comfort of the stow and go second and third row seats. (For what you paid, I am assuming you got fairly loaded model with the stow and go, right?) I haven't seen a lot of comments posted yet from actual owners who have given them a good tryout.
  • Well, I've got it home now, I'm feeling much better... :-) Yes, it was pretty loaded, a Touring with side airbags, nav (and hence luxury and leather) and DVD. As far as I can tell, it's almost identical to the Limited, without the chrome branding stuff, plus without the 'memory' seats. But otherwise identical. It's about $1500 less...

    The liftgate can open fully in my garage - barely. It's hard to measure, but the highest point of the liftgate seems to be around 7'. This is *not* the end, but somewhere more in the middle. At the end of the liftgate, it's about 6'9". In my garage, the closest point is actually the metal handle to my garage. It's at a height of 6'11", and it's pretty close to the maximum part of the liftgate - but not quite there. There's less than an inch of clearance. I just put some foam on the handle, so even if it hits, it's no big deal.

    As far as the seats go. We looked at the Odyssey and Sienna also. My high-level impression is that the Odyssey and Sienna have cushier seats - but they're bigger. So the interior feels a lot more cramped. The T&C has a very spacious feeling interior - because the 2nd row seats are a little smaller, they're not full Captain's chairs. Because we have kids and carseats for the 2nd row, we obviously much prefer the smaller seats. I would call the typical Captain's seat as "luxurious", and these seats as "fine". I could certainly imagine there are others (more pampered than me :-) ) that might think of Captains' seats as "acceptable" and anything worse, like the fold-and-stow seats, as "unacceptable".

    They adjust fore and aft, and they can recline. The pitch of the base is a little bit steep, so I think normally you'd want the back to be reclined a bit.

    Mike
  • MSRP is $35k, invoice is $32,684 (including $600 for their local advertising costs). Originally I was going to pay $33k - $1k rebate = $32k (+ tax). But my wife is in a Masters program, and they have a college program where you pay 1% below invoice, so instead the price was $32357 - $1k = $31,357. They also give you an extra $1,000 on your trade in, which made the amount not as laughable... :-)

    I was also comparing a similarly equipped 2004, but I would have added AWD. The price was pretty similar. So for similar money, I decided I'd rather have 2005 + Stow and Go, instead of 2004 + AWD. Mainly because of resale value...

    Mike
  • mrblonde49mrblonde49 Posts: 626
    Thanks for the info...

    Now that I look at the numbers more closely, I see that the '05 would have been a much better value for us. At the time, they had a few '05's stored on the back of the lot, but none with the options we wanted. I too, have access to 1% under invoice thru the Affiliate Rewards program. I also would have had the $1000 rebate and $1000 trade in rebate. Didn't realize that these would be in play for the '05's so early.

    So, I could have given up the moonroof and full size spare (neither a big deal to me). And gotten an '05 with luxury, leather, NAV, DVD & airbags.

    For roughly $2500 more, I would have added these features that I do not currently have:
    Stow & Go
    Overhead rails
    Heated Seats
    Side Curtain airbags
    Power Passenger seat
    Vehicle Info Center
    Automatic Climate Control
    Infinity speaker upgrade
    Automatic Headlights
    Parking Assist

    Cetrainly, well worth the extra $$. Plus better resale.

    I made the deal on the '04 because of HUGE incentives, and I still think it was a good deal. Just not as good as this one, in hindsight. I guess the key is still being able to get 1% below invoice on an '05, when most people probably wouldn't - yet.

    Oh well, nothing I can do about it now, unless I want to get slaughtered in a trade in.

    Just something to chalk up to experience, I guess...
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    "Oh well, nothing I can do about it now, unless I want to get slaughtered in a trade in.

    Just something to chalk up to experience, I guess."

    Remember that there is always someone out there that got a better deal than you. Rather than letting it spoil the way you feel about your new van. don't worry about it. Chrysler packaged the deal in such a way that you had no choice but to jump on the 2004. These guys are pros.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    But you also saved $2500. Save that $2500 and put in an account that hopefully will appreciate in value over time and give you some seed money for your next van. In the mean time, enjoy what you have.

    After all, we have a '96 short wheel base Caravan Sport that is still an enjoyable vehicle and we bought it as a new leftover in March 1997. Except for the Infinity sound system, it has none of the features on that list either and has served us well for seven year and continues to do so and it still looks nearly like new as well.
  • mrblonde49mrblonde49 Posts: 626
    Thanks for the encouragement.

    I always seem to do this when buying a car. I need help. :)

    When I start saying "I wonder is we should have done something else..." my wife says:

    "It's done, I don't want to hear it. We like the van we have, and that's that"

    Good advice.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Sounds like your wife has her head screwed on right.

    Enjoy your new van and keep your wife too!
  • petroniopetronio Posts: 18
    Query: are the 2004 side airbags for front passengers only or do they go back all three rows, like the 2005 model?
  • mrblonde49mrblonde49 Posts: 626
    '04 are front side only. '05 also have head curtains for all 3 rows.
  • petroniopetronio Posts: 18
    thanks for the quick info mr blonde
  • momstruck1momstruck1 Posts: 206
    here's what I think Love the stow n go seats but the middle seats are a little small and i think the toyota has better seats . i did test drive the model with everything in it leather ,nav ,dvd, all power doors and lift gate and Adjustable pedals Nice touch . I really don't need the nav or leather . The price is right as i believe the sticker was under 35,000. the thing that bugs me about toyota is you get packages that you really don't want no power seat on an le so if you really want it you need an xle but that only comes in leather . too confusing the dodge is worth the look but i am going again tomm. to look at the toyota which might be where we wind up buying because of the seats my 12 year old is almost 5'2" and it looked tight for her at 102 lbs in the dodge middle seats just wanted to let everyone know that it is worth the look.
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    Morning group.. Currently own a 2000 Dodge Intrepid ES and have owned several Dodges and Mitsubishis over the years. I'd be interested in hearing from any owners or "shoppers" of the 2005 Grand Caravan SXT. I'm familiar with the Dodge lineup in general (brother was a sales manager for years). I'm interested in hearing from owner who've had some experience and shoppers who are negotiating prices and financing rates. I suspect I'd end up with an SXT priced just shy of $30. Don't need leather, nav but would like Premium group and air curtains. Any thoughts, experiences would help.
  • jtheronjtheron Posts: 24
    Morning Jason
    Since you mentioned 2005 SXT, I thought I would share the price advertised in our local paper, unsure of what is MSRP but options listed include stow'n go seating, 3.8 V-6, auto dual power doors, alloy wheels, power lift gate, 7 pass, dual a/c & heat, tilt, cruise and more with an ad price of $23,879 or a 39 month lease with 39,000 miles and $2500 down for a lease payment of $299/month.
    Same ad also offers a 2004 GC SE with a MSRP of $28,010 for $20,819
    Seems that the price on the 2004 is nothing great but that the 2005 looks interesting
    good luck
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    Just received a call from my local salesman and 5 Star Dealer. In addition to the $1000 cash back on 2005 Caravan's, Chrysler has added a $1000 loyalty bonus for previous Chrysler Corp owners. From a reasonably dealer you can probably expect a total discount (if your an owner) of about $3000-4000 between cash back, owner loyalty and discount...
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I was at a dealer yesterday, and there was about 5 of the new Town & Countrys (and of course many 300's - all the Hemi's SOLD - and new PT cruiser convertible). I was sitting in a T&C Touring edition (replaces the LXi model) with most options installed.

    The rear seats are not bad, but really low angled. Quite easy to use the stow-n-go feature.

    There was one low-end model (LX) sitting there, with a "no-haggle" lease price for $329/month, after $2995 down. Expensive, in my eyes.

    Overall, even though they advertised (on the van) that T&C is the most luxury minivan, I still think they missed many things they used to offer, and could be a deal-breaker for me. I'm still undecided which minivan to take next (my current Windstar's lease expires in about 8 months).

    The power controls for the door locks and windows are still NOT illuminated, something they did for years but stopped to save a few pennies, and so is the ignition key ring. The glove box is not illuminated, but the new 'mini' center console between the 2 front seats is lighted - a nice thing. The windshield wipers de-icer which Chrysler invented on their minivans is already copied by Toyota and Kia minivans, but Chrysler stopped to offer it. TOO BAD.

    Another thing bothers me, the optional packaging. I hate leather, and don't want a car with leather. If I take the Touring edition, I would like to add the luxury group, which adds many good things, as fog lamps, auto dimming mirror (in & out), better stereo system, rear sonar sensor, adjustable pedals, nicer gauges, etc. but if you take this package, you MUST first take the leather package for $2100!! That's just crazy! (Sounds like Toyota - the only thing they copied! :-)
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    It may provide some meager comfort to know that when you order BOTH groups, you get a discounted price because of the duplication of content. The Grand Caravan SXT can be had with both the Leather Package and the Premium Group--which deducts about $800 from the Premium Group--for just under 31,000. I speced out a 2005 G.C. SXT with Premium, Leather and head curtain airbags for a total MSRP of 31,505.00
        I believe the rear seats are angled downward (in the rear--upward at the front) more severely to add in crash survivability--less likely to fly out of the seat. The angle also brings up the knees a bit for a more comfortable seating position.
  • homerkchomerkc Posts: 113
    What gas mileage can be expected from a GC w/3.8 engine? Is anyone really getting 18/25?
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    I've spoken with two owners of GC's that have the 3.8 and auto. They report between 17-19 in town and considerably better on the highway. Hope that helps.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    We have two 3.8 GCs, a 1998 with 80K+ and a 2003 with 20K+ miles. Back when the 1998 was new, it was barely able to get 18 on the highway, now it is able to turn in 22-24 over my usual once a month round trip from New Hampshire to Manhattan. Bear in mind that when the van was new, the speed limit was 55, and my average speed was somewhere in the low to mid 60s, now however, the limit is 65 for the majority of my trip, and my average speed (according to the trip computer) is usually around 72 with a cruising speed of just over 75.

    The new van made its maiden NH-NYC trip with an average of nearly 20 MPG and is now able to return an average of between 23 and 24.5. I suspect that when it is a little more broken in that 25 will be easily achievable.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • nicometonicometo Posts: 3
    Hello all, we are a first time owner of a mini-van. Last week we traded in an '02 Durango for an 05 T&C Limited. One of the options we did not get is the screens for the DVD player. We have the 6 disk CD/DVD player, but now we would like to explore screens. From the dealer they are a $995 option plus 1.5 hours installation. We figured there would be a cheaper aftermarket option, as paying $995 for a 7" screen, two headphones and a remote is incredibly expensive. Does anyone have any advice/options on this?

    Thanks in advance
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    Check in DVD/Entertainment Systems too.

    Oh, and this post may be of interest:

    tomtomtom "Honda Odyssey vs Dodge/Chrysler minivans" May 6, 2004 4:58pm

    Steve, Host
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    "Ford's proud of its new 2005 Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans -- but Chrysler thinks it's not only a little too proud, it's misrepresenting Chrysler's own revised minivan lineup. This year Ford added three-row seating with fold-flat benches to its lineup, and started a series of commercials pointing out the features and comparing it to the 2004 Chrysler minivans, which lack the flip-folding seats. However, Chrysler spent about $300 million to refit its 2005 minivans with flip-folding "Stow 'N' Go" seats that disappear into the vehicle's floor when needed. Chrysler has sent a legal notice to Ford to stop using the ads, saying they don't accurately portray Chrysler's current offerings."

    Edmunds Vans Newsletter

    Steve, Host
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    Thanks for the information. Been my experience that that type of behavior is reasonably predictable and common. Usually if you look VERY closely at the bottom of the screen--you'll see fine print outlining the limits of the comparison. Apples to oranges is often the final message... Ford shouldn't crow too loudly after finishing dead last in C & D's recent mini-van comparison. Unfortunately the Grand Caravan finished only one place up..in 4th.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Steve,

    The Ford marketing people seem to be getting really aggressive in their Freestar ads. I think they need to. In my opinion, while an improvement over the last generation, the Freestar is the most underwhelming of any van on the market today.

    I'm sure you've seen the Freestar versus Odyssey commercial where the now no longer independent "automotive authority" is asked by a couple on what they should do with the Honda head rests.

    ("Why'd I buy a Honda...Why'd I but a Honda..")

    Best regards,
    Dusty
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    Actually I don't watch TV anymore - too many people trying to sell me junk I don't need.

    I'm sure someone could link me to a net version of the commercial, but I'll just take your word for it. :-)

    Steve, Host
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    I was a bit put-off my C & D's comments in their van comparison. After taking two test drives in Caravan's--I found their acceleration, ride and handling fine, surprising even.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    Honda and BMW are guarantee to finish at the first two no matter how the writers dislike some features or performance...becuase they will say it just feels right.

    When the performance is lacking they will say something like the interior will make you forget the little lack of performance...if the luxury that's lacking they will say company "H" is good at the basic stuff that people "really" want.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    Seen the C&D comments on the new E60 5-Series yet? ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • tjnbtjnb Posts: 26
    How is the reliability of the T&C's ? I have never own a Chrysler, and I have bad things about the minivans. Is the 2005 better or the same?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    We have two DC Caravans and they have been almost perfect for well over 100,000 combined miles (>80K on the 1998 and >20K on the 2003). When I say Almost I mean that there has been only a single unscheduled service call between the two. The battery of the 1998 failed after 50K miles or so, and I replaced it with a DieHard. Other than that, not even a burned out light bulb. I think that qualifies as pretty damn reliable. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • spartanmannspartanmann Posts: 197
    Interesting how uninformed some posts are. If you check the Car and Driver 10 best list you will see exactly one BMW. The same number as Ford, GM and Toyota have on the list.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    When readers have read enough comparison tests C&D have done over the years, it is not that hard to tell how those writers always dis/favor certain car makers. I know each writers have their own opinion but I don't think it is fair to have something acceptable in car "A" but not in car "B"
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    My company runs about 3200 of them. The '95-'99s had more than their share of problems. Our Windstars were about the same in those years, the GMs marginally better. But since '00 the Chryslers have gotten continually and significantly better. JD Power Initial Quality Survey now rates the Chrysler mini-van second to the Honda and above the Toyota.

    They've been an exceptional car the last few years.

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • impact01impact01 Posts: 95
    I am not sure how anyone can extrapolate the long term reliability from the IQS results. Many cars that were rated high were busts in the long term (IMO, Plymouth Breeze for one).

    If Chryslers have been exceptional for the past few years, it should indeed show *consistently* on most long term surveys, but it doesn't. My guess is that, they're good during the first two or so years, then slowly start to go downhill.

    Having said that, I wouldn't mind buying a T&C even now with their extended warranty, great deals etc. if I were to like their overall package. Right now the Toyota is better packaged, if one is not crazy about "stow & go" second row. IMO of course.
  • spartanmannspartanmann Posts: 197
    Could that possibly be because some car makers consistently make better products than others? I thought that was the purpose of auto mags - to discern differences between vehicles. That has nothing to do with bias. An execllent example is the original Odyssey - not rated highly by anyone. The next generation was universally rated the best. The same for the original Toyota Sienna versus the 2004 Sienna.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    I don't mean the whole car, if that's the case I can surely agree. But sometimes these writers would pick something that's equally bad on both cars but they would overlook it in car "A" but not in car "B".
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    Perhaps my comments were taken out of context.. I was "put-off" my C & D's evaluation of the 2005 Grand Caravan. From my experience the performance issues they viewed as "poor" were fine. I didn't intend to suggest that C & D was more biased than any other magazine or website. Despite the fact that I disagree with their assessment, I doubt I'll cancel my 25 year subscription....
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    Seen the C&D comments on the new E60 5-Series yet? ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo

    I have not seen C&D's comments; but, I did see where the June 2004 issue of Road and Track placed the 530i 6th in a 7-way comparo of 6 cylinder sedans. (the CTS won)

    Back on topic...
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    >>>I am not sure how anyone can extrapolate the long term reliability from the IQS results. Many cars that were rated high were busts in the long term (IMO, Plymouth Breeze for one).<<<

    If you're prone to rely on Consumer Reports for "reliability" data, better look at the Plymouth Breeze for years '96-'99 again. They actually haven't been that bad, and better than average (Bonneville, Quest, Windstar, Explorer, for example).

    Also, if you look at their data, the Chrysler mini-vans (with the exception of '00) have been "average" or better from '97 up.

    Dusty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    >>>I am not sure how anyone can extrapolate the long term reliability from the IQS results. Many cars that were rated high were busts in the long term (IMO, Plymouth Breeze for one).<<<

    If you're prone to rely on Consumer Reports for "reliability" data, better look at the Plymouth Breeze for years '96-'99 again. They actually haven't been that bad, and better than average (Bonneville, Quest, Windstar, Explorer, for example).

    Also, if you look at their data, the Chrysler mini-vans (with the exception of '00) have been "average" or better from '97 up.

    Dusty
  • impact01impact01 Posts: 95
    Edmunds has the JD Power IQS and midterm ratings for 1999 Breeze. This model scored 5/5 in IQS for Body/Interior quality, which went to 3/5 after 1-3 years.

    Corresponding year Camry also has 5/5 but 4/5 mid term whereas Accord is 3/5 in IQS, but with 5/5 in the mid term.

    I tend to put more trust in JDPower than in CR, but to me if a vehicle is consistently reliable, it will have to show up in all of the surveys to be above average. If not there is something wrong somewhere.
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    Was wondering if I could encourage folks to post prices paid for new 2005 Grand Caravan SXT's or T & C Tourings.... As I understand it there is a $1000 direct rebate, $1000 loyalty rebate, $1000 Chrysler Financial rebate.....
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    The Chrysler Voyager/Dodge Caravan: Prices Paid & Buying Experience discussion has room for T&C and GC questions, so ask in there too.

    Steve, Host
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    but there is virtually no current or relavent discussion occuring in there..
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