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Chrysler's Town & Country is all-new for 2001. Working from the proverbial clean sheet of paper, DaimlerChrysler's engineers designed its fourth-generation line of minivans from the inside out. As a result, the Town & Country is roomy and comfortable. The interior is versatile with seats that fold and remove. Powerful V6 engines deliver crisp performance. The ride is smooth and quiet. And it's wrapped in an attractive design.
In terms of refinement, power, handling, and braking, the Town & Country once again ranks among the best minivans on the market.
Chrysler has done a great job with this new Town & Country. It rides smooth and feels very stable at highway speeds. It handles competently and seems surprisingly nimble for its size. Power-assisted steering is light, making it easy to maneuver and park in crowded lots, and the front air dam isn't so low to the ground that it scrapes on curbs. Careful suspension tuning, a new steering system and its rigid new structure have raised the Town & Country's handling prowess to that of the leading minivans.
Our LX came with the base 3.3-liter V6. It delivered lively acceleration; we felt like we had plenty of motor to jackrabbit away from standstills or pull off that big pass. The engine is smooth and quiet when cruising and makes itself be known under full throttle.
Wind noise is minimal. Chrysler engineers worked hard to ensure carrying on a conversation inside the Town & Country is easy and pleasant. And they were successful. Special gaskets, re-engineered suspension attachments and other measures have resulted in a quiet cabin when cruising along at 70 mph.
Town & Country comes standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes and it stops quickly and without drama. Heavier duty brake rotors and new brake calipers improve braking performance, durability, and enhance pedal feel. Having ABS as standard equipment is good as it helps the driver maintain steering control in an emergency or panic stop. An available traction control system reduces front wheelspin on slippery surfaces. Better is the all-wheel-drive system, which redirects power to the tires with the best grip; all-wheel drive is a smart option for drivers who live in the Snowbelt.
Lots of glass makes for good visibility all around, though the thick A-pillars hamper front three-quarter vision. Rearward visibility is greatly enhanced with big side mirrors, though third-row headrests block the rear-view mirror somewhat.
An automatic load-leveling system is available that automatically trims the Town & Country to a level ride height.
The people who wrote the book on minivans have produced another winner. DaimlerChrysler has sold 8 million minivans in 16 years and continues to dominate the market; Chrysler and Dodge own about 40 percent of the minivan market in the U.S.
This new Town & Country shows why. It's roomy, comfortable, practical, powerful and nimble. Order the Limited model and add the word luxurious to that list.
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