- The Washington Times - Friday, December 13, 2002

The Town & Country is an ultimate luxury version of the minivan. If you want a feature in your minivan, the Town & Country has what you fancy.

Unless you've been completely out of touch, you know that Chrysler changed the van market a few years back and continues to have a tight hold on the market.

While there is plenty of competition in this category, the Chrysler Town and Country continues to be a favorite with the upper echelon of the minivan buyers.

As the minivan changes and the families in them change, buyers tend to ask more of their vehicles.

In the minivan arena, Chrysler has given the Town & Country features we would not have envisioned just a few years ago.

One, or should I say three, of the unique features on this Chrysler is the automatic power doors. We started to see one side door, then two side doors and now we have the rear hatch equipped with the power feature.

It was surprising to all of my passengers when I was able to not only open both right and left side doors from the key fob controller, but when the rear hatch opened, they nearly jumped out of their skin.

This wasn't a once-in-awhile occurrence. Every time we loaded or unloaded the van, people stood in wonderment. It was power, quite literally, in my hand.

Of course, the convenience of being able to open and close your car's doors from a few feet away is extremely helpful when your hands are full of packages, or if you are trying to herd three children toward the car. While I have scoffed at this feature in the beginning, I found that I welcomed the ability it provided and certainly the convenience.

The Town & Country is packed with luxurious features that make it more than an ordinary minivan. Interior elements include leather seats, in three rows with full power adjustable bucket seats in front. A removable center console provides room for all sorts of goodies needed on a typical road trip.

On the safety front, there are all of the typical items that are standard equipment, but to add that extra touch of safety my test vehicle had traction control, supplemental side air bags and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

I must concede that I did feel a little awkward driving a minivan. Not from the standpoint that the Town & Country was difficult to drive, just that minivans do have a certain image.

However, as I put more and more miles on the test van, I was pleasantly surprised how well it handled the potholes of our local roads.

But, even more impressive was how well it handled the twisting country roads.

Granted this isn't a sports car. In fact, I would be hard-pressed to describe it as a sports minivan. But it continued to surprise me with its abilities from four-wheel disc brakes, load-leveling suspension system and the power from the V-6 engine.

I am not a big fan of minivans, yet I know they have their place in the transportation game.

I am always happy to see entries in the family-dominated category that surprise me with abilities above and beyond the norm.

The Town & Country did just that. It pleasantly surprised at nearly every turn.

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