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Old 03-19-2012, 09:43 AM   #1
jermil01
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2012 Chrysler Town and Country - Not impressed

This post if for anyone considering the purchase of a Town and Country or Caravan, essentially the same vehicle. Some background, I've been driving one for the last two and half weeks while our Honda Odyssey is getting repaired. A tree fell on it while my wife was driving, but that's a whole other story.
I didn't intend to get the T&C, but it was all they had left @ Enterprise,and I needed to get to work so I took it...

First let me say that we bought our Odyssey brand new in 2010..it had about 14K on the clock, the 2012 T&C about 15 so that was comparable.

Fit and finish not even close, the T&C has a cheap plasticy feel to the interior and all the bells and whistles on this particular model were definitely not intuitive, especially for the instrument cluster. I didn't have a chance to use the stow and go seating feature, but I can tell you that with the Odyssey I'm able to tilt one of the 2nd row seats forward with a car seat in it, can't do that in the T&C.

The engine is noisy as hell, the tranny has a vague feel and shifts poorly. It has decent pick up for a minivan, but there is an initial hesitation when you put your foot on the gas before the vehicle starts to move..that's really nerve racking.. can't even compare it to the Odyssey in this category with it's quiet engine and smooth shifting tranny..I was averaging about 20MPG which is pretty close to the Odyssey.

Of the things I did like in the T&C, the lane change and blind spot sensors are helpful and the full size back up camera in the dash comes in handy. In comparison, our Odyssey has a small one in the rear view mirror.

The T&C is quieter on the highway and has a much heavier feel in the steering. I liked this, but it definitely did not outweigh the other things.

All in all, I'd give the T&C a 6 out of 10 and that's pushing it, the Odyssey and 8.5, so if you're in a market for a minivan take heed..
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:19 AM   #2
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Dodge always boasts about being the first to make the minivan....everybody else just pulled it off better...especially honda.

Dialmer's bailout money just went to making their stuff look nicer. After the warranty is out you are screwed
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:22 AM   #3
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I always say you can't polish a turd and that's clearly the case here. Don't get me wrong, there are some good points it, but like you said, Honda just does it better..
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:01 AM   #4
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Dodge always boasts about being the first to make the minivan....everybody else just pulled it off better...especially honda.

Dialmer's bailout money just went to making their stuff look nicer. After the warranty is out you are screwed
shit, my mom has a 2010(?) i think. it was the first year for that bodystyle and the 6sp auto trans.

what. a. PIECE OF SHIT. i'm not gonna list the amount of crap that went wrong before the warranty expired. but my mom was in the dealer at least every 6 weeks for some stupid issue that should NEVER happen. the power steering lines got lunched with 40k on the clock. The egr valve took a shit 500 miles after the bumper to bumper (36k) was over. what kinda bullshit is that?

my old Venture (other than the 3.4 it lunched ) didn't have 1/10th the problems in 260k, that my mom's T&C has had in less than 40k.

Run far an away from these things. Far, and fast.
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:31 AM   #5
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Wow that is bad. I would think you would have some problems with it inside the warranty, but that is bad.

Another reason why the govbment should have let diamler burn
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:47 AM   #6
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Wow that is bad. I would think you would have some problems with it inside the warranty, but that is bad.

Another reason why the govbment should have let diamler burn
ok, i'll put other things up.

AC went out, the charge leaked out from a bad oring within the first 20k.

front pads GONE after 25k, and would soot the wheels up within 2 weeks of cleaning. thermoquiets stopped this.

tie rod went bad because a boot ripped off at 15k.

rear brakes at 30-34k.

it uses coolant, the overflow bottle has been dried up at least once. who knows how much it has really used though, as it's dealer serviced.

it RAN OUT OF OIL once. 4.5qts GONE in 5k miles. it only did this once, not sure if the tech didn't add enough oil or what, but that's ridiculous that it used up any oil at all.

i think i'm forgetting other stuff.
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:08 PM   #7
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that's awful..let me put it this way, if I had driven off the lot in this thing, I'd have been back to the dealership within 1K demanding my $ back..
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:14 PM   #8
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ok, i'll put other things up.

AC went out, the charge leaked out from a bad oring within the first 20k.

front pads GONE after 25k, and would soot the wheels up within 2 weeks of cleaning. thermoquiets stopped this.

tie rod went bad because a boot ripped off at 15k.

rear brakes at 30-34k.

it uses coolant, the overflow bottle has been dried up at least once. who knows how much it has really used though, as it's dealer serviced.

it RAN OUT OF OIL once. 4.5qts GONE in 5k miles. it only did this once, not sure if the tech didn't add enough oil or what, but that's ridiculous that it used up any oil at all.

i think i'm forgetting other stuff.
ignition module.......wouldn't start
overhead lighting quit working
rear ac/heat quit working
5 safety recalls

Easy fix..............gallon of gas and a match.
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:16 PM   #9
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Oh ,and you be surprised how much is "normal" wear according to Chrysler.
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:39 PM   #10
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I work for honda, right now there is a t&c on the used car rack 2005 has 97,500 been there for a week getting all kinds of emmission shit done EGR cats head gaskets and plenium.... the reason why is cause we took it in for 4000 but at auction we only got 2500 highest bid, there is a 2005 Odyssey 275000 on the clock getting its first tranny
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:16 PM   #11
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back in the 90's, some of them used mitsubishi engines......i guess thats when they were halfway decent, my dad had one with over 300k on it with no major engine problems....he did replace the tranny about a dozen times though.
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:26 PM   #12
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I have an '04 T&C with just over a hundred thousand miles on it. I haven't had as many problems as some folks, but the thing is pretty chintzy.

After all the bailout money Chrysler took, along with the sale to Fiat, well, this is the very last new Chrysler I'll ever own. Shoot, I've had THREE K-cars, not one of them had as much trouble as this van.
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:32 PM   #13
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I HAD a Caravan until I got divorced. I didn't like it one bit. That being said.. I didn't have any mechanical issues with it, I just didn't like the vehicle.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:44 PM   #14
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It's a Chrysler, nuff said.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:48 PM   #15
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Dodge always boasts about being the first to make the minivan...
Yeah, because Volkswagen refers to theirs as a "Bus" I'd trade my wife's '04 for a '70's VW bus in a heartbeat... although she might have a fit (no A/C, manual trans, no power steering, etc.)
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RichG: The subtitle under your name says it all ("Low Buck Bum"). You are pretty low level, aren't you?
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:07 PM   #16
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I work at a Chrysler dealer and have done all the above.

Brakes have gone metal to metal at 8k(was not uncommon for some to have thefront brakes replace 3 times by 25k)
The a/c line splits in half
Ignition modules go bad and keys
Rear rotors warp
Front hub bearing
sliding door latches
Tranny problems

Recalls for..
a/c line
a/c drain
hub bearings
sliding doors
air bag modules
ignition detent ring

I am probably forgeting something.
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:32 PM   #17
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Yeah, because Volkswagen refers to theirs as a "Bus" I'd trade my wife's '04 for a '70's VW bus in a heartbeat... although she might have a fit (no A/C, manual trans, no power steering, etc.)
Strange….Volkswagon buys their minivans from Chrysler. They alter the grill and tail lights, but underneath they are IDENTICAL because they “ARE” Chrysler minivans.

When the Germans engineers give up and buy from you, you know you’re doing something right.

Interestingly both GM “and” Ford have both quietly ceased production of all minivans as it is clear they are unable to compete with the Chrysler/Dodge minivans.

Since it’s inception, years ahead of every copy cat competitor, and for every single year of it’s production the Caravan (and sister vehicles) outsold all other foreign and domestic competitors……….combined.

The two minivans that are supposedly marginally better than the Caravan are the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Both of which are priced WAY out of reach of most families. Also, neither sells more than a few thousand units into the North American market, to only the best heeled customers.

For the rest of North American families (many of which are former auto workers) the Caravan goes on sale twice a year at prices neither Japanese models can hope to touch.

I have many friends who have owned numerous Caravans and wouldn’t even consider another brand, much less are ever planning to go back to a car.

It was Graham Richardson, the very objective tester at Motoring 2012 who was quoted saying “ I have seen the new benchmark of minivans, the Toyota Sienna. That said it’s virtually twice the price of the 95% as good Dodge Caravan. I’ll have two Dodge Caravans thank you very much”.

I’ve never owned a minivan, though I’m very impressed with Chrysler’s stow and go seats and the engineering in that incredibly powerful and thrifty new 3.6 litre engine.

The amount of mechanics I’ve talked to who call it the “have your cake and eat it too engine” is staggering, I mean 36 mpg hwy !

I owned one used Nipponese vehicle over 25 years ago and I’ll never make that mistake again. The parts prices are prohibitive. I can buy a whole used North American vehicle for less money than some of the Japanese components.

You can drive what you like still in North America, but I pity the person whose Japanese warrantee runs out and is left bent over at the parts counter, holding his ankles waiting for the screwing he thought would never happen with Honda quality.

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Old 03-19-2012, 08:37 PM   #18
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True, VW does use rebadged T&C's, but I think that's because of the horrible failure of their Eurovan series. I love the style of the Eurovan, but the mechanicals left a lot to be desired.

For all its faults, the best minivan I ever have owned is the Aerostar, I've had three, and if Ford still made it (and in front wheel drive), that's what would be parked in my driveway today. Instead, they gave us the Windstar, quite possibly the best example of engineering by braille ever conceived.
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:54 PM   #19
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For all its faults, the best minivan I ever have owned is the Aerostar, I've had three, and if Ford still made it that's what would be parked in my driveway today. Instead, they gave us the Windstar, quite possibly the best example of engineering by braille ever conceived.
Had several buddies who felt the exact same way about their Aerostars. One guy owned three of those burgundy, full load Aerostar Sport versions.

He and the other two guys had no rocker panels left (in less than 5 years) but fortunately they were full frames (weren't they?) and they had those cool body kits fake running boards that hid the fact there were no rockers left

In spite of that, once we added huge stacked plate trans coolers and remote transmission filters, they were very reliable vehicles.

I wouldn't run the Windstar down too, too much, there were worse minivans, the first, stop gap, ill conceived, Toyota effort (grafting a van body over a RWD Corolla platform) springs to mind(the shuttlecraft).

Most people I know with minivans work the heck out of them and aren't looking for anymore out of them, than our Dad's wanted out of their station wagons.

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Old 03-19-2012, 10:26 PM   #20
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My inlaws had the Windstar, and while it wasn't the worst, it had a plethora of engineering issues (wiring from hell, along with fuel system issues that were ridiculous) that made it, in my opinion, a vehicle rating right down there with the Mustang II as one of Ford's "Not so better" ideas.
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