2013 Chrysler Town & Country Review and Prices
The 2013 Chrysler Town & Country is the best minivan for you if you want the top domestic-brand challenger to upscale versions of the 2013 Honda Odyssey and 2013 Toyota Sienna.
The 2013 Chrysler Town & Country should continue with only minor updates as it awaits a possible new life as a crossover SUV for model-year 2014 or 2015. The 2013 Chrysler Town & Country will continue as a fancier alternative to the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan, with which it shares underbody engineering and basic styling. Minivan sales have fallen as families turn to macho-image SUVs. But no vehicle can match a minivan for all-around family transportation. The 2013 Town & Country and Grand Caravan are great examples and deservedly popular for their unmatched seating flexibility, capable performance, and long list of features.
Should you wait for the 2013 Chrysler Town & Country or buy a 2012 Chrysler Town & Country? Buy the 2012 Chrysler Town & Country. The 2013 T&C shouldn’t see substantive changes but it’ll probably cost more and will likely be a year nearer the end of its run as a true minivan. Chrysler reportedly will replace this seven-seat people mover with a crossover SUV meant to reinforce the brand’s upscale aspirations. The SUV would be launched during 2014 as a 2014 or ‘15 model and could retain the Town & Country name. Dodge reportedly will field the next-generation Grand Caravan around the same time but as a true minivan with new styling and features.
2013 Chrysler Town & Country Changes back to top
Styling: The 2013 Chrysler Town & Country isn’t likely to change in appearance except perhaps for some trim or color alterations. Its basic form will again be shared with the Dodge Grand Caravan. The biggest differences between the two are front and rear styling treatments intended to look sophisticated on the Chrysler, sporty on the Dodge. Yet a third rendition of this van, with assorted styling and feature modifications, is sold as the Volkswagen Routan.
While other minivans, notably the Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest, have attempted expressive exterior styling, the 2013 Chrysler Town & Country will retain its classic box-on-wheels appearance. It eschews visual excess for interior spaciousness, easy ingress and egress, and good outward visibility. A revamp for model-year 2011 gave this minivan a richer interior with better-grade materials. And Chrysler upped the ante for model-year 2012 by making leather upholstery standard on every Town & Country model.
The 2013 Chrysler Town & Country will retain its defining minivan elements: dual sliding rear-side doors for terrific passenger ingress and egress and a wide rear liftgate for easy cargo loading. Both sliding doors and the rear liftgate will again be offered with a power open/close feature for added convenience. The 2013 T&C will again seat seven via dual front buckets, a pair of second-row buckets, and a three-place third-row bench.
Likely to return will be Chrysler’s “Stow ‘n Place” roof-rack system. This allows owners to store the lateral roof bows in the side rails when not needed. That helps maintain optimal highway-speed aerodynamics, which in turn helps boost fuel economy.
The 2013 Chrysler Town & Country will maintain a multi-level lineup. Chances are strong Chrysler would repeat a roster consisting of the base Town & Country Touring model, the midlevel Touring L, and the fully featured Limited.
Mechanical: The 2013 Chrysler Town & Country isn’t expected to change mechanically. It should continue with one engine, Chrysler’s Pentastar V-6. Offered in several Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep model lines, this 3.6-liter engine generates strong acceleration with decent fuel economy. In the 2013 T&C, it should repeat at 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.
The sole transmission will likely remain a six-speed automatic capable of manual-type gear control via toggling the shift lever. Chrysler has begun to phase in an eight-speed automatic transmission, debuting it in its 300 and Dodge Charger sedans, and there’s an outside chance it could make its way into the Town & Country, though model-year 2013 introduction might be optimistic.
The 2013 Chrysler Town & Country will retain a front-drive configuration, which situates the engine and transmission above the tires that steer and propel it. Front-drive benefits interior packaging and furnishes predictable handling and good wet-weather traction. Of the 2013 Town & Country’s minivan rivals, only the 2013 Toyota Sienna is expected to continue to the enhanced traction of all-wheel-drive (AWD) in addition to front-drive. The crossover SUV that would replace the Town & Country minivan would almost certainly offer both front- and all-wheel drive.
As befits a family-oriented vehicle, safety features will again be plentiful on the 2013 Chrysler Town & Country. These will include standard antilock brakes to help maintain control in sudden stops, particularly on wet or icy surfaces. Antiskid electronic stability control will be standard to help prevent sideways slides in extreme handling situations. Optional should again be a blind-spot alert system that warns the driver of unseen vehicles in adjacent lanes or those approaching from the sides when backing out of parking spaces or a garage.
Features: The 2013 Chrysler Town & Country should continue to lead the minivan field in terms of seating flexibility thanks to a choice of two second-row seating arrangements. Standard is the Stow ‘n Go system exclusive to the T&C and Grand Caravan. It allows the two second-row bucket seats to fully fold into floor wells behind the front seats. In combination with the split folding third-row bench seat, which drops into a separate well at the rear of the van, the system creates a flat load floor nearly the length of the van. (Town & Country can in fact carry 4x8 sheets of building materials.)
With the Stow ‘n Go second-row buckets in their upright positions the central floor wells become dual covered storage bins. The system’s advantage is that is does not compel owners to remove the second-row seats – usually a cumbersome chore -- to achieve maximum cargo volume, as they must in most competing minivans.
The downside is that in order to fold and pivot into the floor wells, the Stow ‘n Go buckets must be relatively slender and therefore less padded than typical minivan bucket seats. For Town & Country buyers who favor comfort over convenience, fixed-position second-row luxury buckets are optional on Touring L and Limited models.
Every 2013 Town & Country should again come well equipped with standard amenities that include leather upholstery, a single-screen DVD rear entertainment system, power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, a rear backup camera for easier and safer parking, and a CD audio system that includes a 30-gigabyte hard drive for storing digital music files.
Either optional or included with higher trim levels of the 2013 Town & Country should again be such features as a voice-activated GPS navigation system, premium audio system with a USB iPod interface and Bluetooth hands-free mobile-phone connectivity. Keyless entry and pushbutton ignition, multiple-zone automatic climate controls, heated front and rear seats, and a heated steering wheel will remain available as well.
Chrysler will also continue to offer a dealer-installed mobile Wi-Fi hot spot that allows Town & Country passengers to connect their notebook computers, smartphones, and other devices to the Internet; it requires a monthly data plan subscription.
2013 Chrysler Town & Country Prices back to top
Prices for the 2013 Chrysler Town & Country weren’t available in time for this review, but they shouldn’t stray far from model-year 2012 prices. That’ll help the 2013 T&C remain competitive versus the 2013 Honda Odyssey and 2013 Toyota Sienna, its primary rivals for upscale minivan buyers.
Expect a base-price range for 2013 Chrysler Town & Country Touring of roughly $31,500-$41,000. (Estimated base prices in this review assume the manufacturer’s destination fee; Chrysler’s fee for the 2012 Town & Country was $935.)
Estimated base price for the 2013 Chrysler Town & Country Touring model is $31,500. Expect the 2013 Chrysler Town & Country Touring L model to be priced from around $34,000 and the 2013 Chrysler Town & Country Limited to start around $41,000.
Option prices should likewise see only modest or no increases. That means you can expect to pay around $800 for a package that bundles an upgraded audio system, navigation system, and Bluetooth interface. The aforementioned Wi-Fi hot spot hardware should cost about $650, with the subscription-based service extra.
A package on the 2013 Town & Country Touring model that includes rain-sensing windshield wipers, a rear parking proximity alarm, automatic headlamps, a tire pressure monitor, and the blind spot detection system should again cost around $1,500. A power sunroof on the Touring L model will likely cost some $1,000, with fixed second-row luxury bucket seats on the Touring L and Limited models priced around $320.
2013 Chrysler Town & Country Fuel Economy back to top
EPA fuel-economy ratings for the 2013 Town & Country weren’t released in time for this review but expect them to remain at or near 2012 levels.
That suggests fuel-economy ratings for the 2013 Chrysler Town & Country of 17/25/20 mpg city/highway/combined. If Chrysler decides to offer its eight-speed automatic in the 2013 Town & Country, we anticipate ratings of around 18/29/22.
2013 Chrysler Town & Country Release Date back to top
The 2013 Chrysler Town & Country should reach dealers’ showrooms by early autumn 2012.
What's next for the 2013 Chrysler Town & Country back to top
Barring introduction of the eight-speed automatic transmission, alterations to the Chrysler Town & Country for the duration of its current lifecycle should amount to little more than trim updates. The big change likely will come during 2014, when Chrysler loses its minivan in favor of a crossover SUV. Around that same time Dodge will likely launch a fully redesigned Grand Caravan as a new-generation minivan. Both the Chrysler SUV and the Dodge minivan would again share underbody engineering but would have markedly different looks and market positioning.
The Chrysler SUV would aim for the upscale feel of the Mercedes-Benz R-Class, a crossover with three rows of seats and four conventional side doors. It would be lower and sleeker than the Grand Caravan, which would retain a taller minivan profile along with family-friendly sliding side doors. The two would be based on the same general front-wheel-drive chassis layout, although the Chrysler crossover would also offer AWD and perhaps a more powerful engine choice, as well.
The back story of all this is that Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and the Ram truck brands are now under the control of Fiat. The Italian automaker is aware that minivans are not typically associated with true premium makes, which is what it’s working to make Chrysler. A Chrysler-branded crossover might also play better than a minivan in overseas markets, where the Chrysler name is already used on several exports.
Also of note is that Chrysler already has one failed upscale three-row crossover on its record: the Chrysler Pacifica played to woefully few buyers during its model-year 2004-2008 run.
2013 Chrysler Town & Country Competition back to top
Honda Odyssey: Attempting to break the minivan’s traditional boxy profile, Odyssey sports a curve here and there, along with a signature “lightning bolt” body-side line. It should continue with only modest updates for 2013 appealing to import-oriented families and empty nesters alike with a winning combination of capable performance and a comfortable interior. Its 3.5-liter V-6 engine is sufficiently powerful, though we hope Honda gets around to including a six-speed automatic transmission across the line, instead of just on select versions. The 2013 Odyssey should continue to seat up to eight passengers. Fuel economy should again around 18/27/21 mpg with the five-speed automatic transmission and 19/28/22 mpg in the top-trim models with the six-speed automatic. Estimated 2013 Honda Odyssey base-price range is $31,000-$45,000.
Toyota Sienna: Likewise expected to see only minor changes for 2013, Sienna should remain traditionally styled and skew toward comfort and refinement while delivering solid overall performance and a full array of features. A 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine should remain available as a price-point incentive, though with ratings expected to remain around 19/24/21 mpg, it’s fuel economy won’t be much better than the more power V-6’s 18/25/21 mpg. Sienna should again make AWD available with the V-6, for a rating of around 17/23/19 mpg. Toyota’s 2013 minivan should continue to accommodate seven or eight passengers, depending on model, and offer a unique Auto Access Seat to help the elderly and disabled with ingress and egress. Base prices should range from around $26,500-$42,000. There’s a chance Toyota could even launch a gas-electric hybrid Sienna model for model-year 2013 or 2014.
Nissan Quest: The Quest has long been the most eccentric member of the minivan family, and the current generation, which debuted for model-year 2011, is no exception.
Its narrow windows, sloping windshield, and blunt front-end give it a distinctive exterior appearance. Its transmission is unorthodox, too. In place of a conventional automatic, the 2013 Question will continue to employ a continuously variable automatic transmission that uses a belt and pulleys instead of traditional gears. Inside, the 2013 Question will reprise a roomy cabin and have second- and third-row seats that fold flat into a slightly elevated load floor. This seven-seater has fine road manners and should remain rated around 19/24/21 mpg. Estimated 2013 Nissan Quest base-price range is $30,500-$44,000.