2011-15 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan Minivans
For 2011-2015, Chrysler Town & Country takes over where Dodge Caravan ends. All the minivans, though, come with a 3.6 liter V6 (283 hp / 260 lb-ft) and six-speed automatic; gas mileage is rated at 17 city, 25 highway.
The vans have substantial improvements in emergency handling and stopping power, compared with the 2010s, and a new Fuel Economizer switch that changes the transmission shift schedule for better mileage. “JTE” wrote that it maintained a 4x8 cargo space (with all seats down) in the back. Suspension tuning comes in four grades: Touring, Commercial (Ram Cargo Van only), Performance, and R/T. Height-control rear shocks are used on all but one grade of the Touring suspension.
On the Dodge, a 12 millimeter lower ride height, lower rolling resistance tires, a new spoiler, and reduced brake and rear bearing drag help gas mileage as well. Both Dodge and Chrysler minivans now have LED taillamps, and a heavily retuned suspension with different spring rates. Swivel ’n’ Go is gone, but seats are more comfortable, and captain’s chairs in the middle row return.
The base minivan will be the Dodge Caravan Express, starting (we believe) at $25,000 (plus $835 destination); it will come with "Super Stow N Go" with one-touch fold-down, steering wheel audio control, stability control, power heated mirrors, tri-zone climate control, seat-mounted side airbags, six speaker stereo, and tinted glass. Sold in that form, it is competitive with the current top of the line Dodge. (All have a 100,000 mile warranty).
The Dodge Caravan Mainstreet adds body-color mirrors, power second row windows, one-touch power down front windows, and aluminum wheels. The Mainstreet price is $1,000 higher than the Express.
Stepping up to the Crew adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, backup camera, trip computer, satellite radio, roofrack, fog lamps, adjustable pedals, power doors, leather-wrapped wheel and shifter, eight-way power driver's seat, and Super Console. At this point, the price ends up at around $28,695.
The Dodge “Man Van” is the Dodge Caravan R/T, with an all-black interior, body-color grille, unique wheels, red stitched seats, performance suspension, and roof-rack delete. It's priced above the Crew, but not by a large margin, topping out the range at $30,595 (at launch). Ralph Gilles said he expected normal minivan buyers to dislike the all-black interior and chrome-free exterior; it’s an experiment, trying to get a new market. It already has the most powerful engine in the class, but the suspension is greatly retuned. The system is around 20% stiffer and might be increased another 40% before production starts.
Chrysler starts after Dodge ends; the base Touring model, once home of the "ex-Plymouth" stripper van, will come with all the equipment of the Crew, as well as a power liftgate, automatic headlamps, and SafetyTec. The latter includes blind spot monitor, rear cross path detection, rain sensing wipers, parking assist, and "smart beam" headlights. This model starts at $30,995, including destination — above the Caravan R/T, but not above the rumored Lux.
Above even this exalted Chrysler is the Touring L, with leather seats, heated in the first row; second and third row window shades; remote start; and eight-way power passenger seat. Dual DVD is optional at this level. This model is to start at $32,995.
Finally, the Chrysler Town & Country Limited is set to sell far a far higher premium than the other models, starting at $39,495; in return, buyers will get a distinctive minivan with chrome-plated wheels, nine-speaker amplified audio, heated steering wheel, second row heated seats, upgraded leather, UConnect, seat/mirror/radio memory, HID headlamps, keyless driving, navigation system, and dual-DVD video. These prices are highly competitive with (read: cheaper than) competing Honda and Toyota models.
One new option is the Stow 'n' Place roof-rack system, whose lateral bars can be stored in the rails when not in use, slashing wind noise and drag.
The Lancia Voyager minivans are running down the line with both left-hand and right-hand drive, in preparation for sale in the United Kingdom and other left-lane driving nations. A 2.8 liter diesel joins the 3.6 liter V6, along with changes to protect pedestrians in an accident (hoods have charged actuators at the rear corners which sheer the hinge rivets, allowing the rear of the hood to raise in a pedestrian collision; hinges are spring assisted to cushion the blow, and an extended chin spoiler directs the body towards the hood.) Other features not found in domestic vans include headlight washers, power folding mirrors with auto return, and retractable cargo cover.
Changes over 2010 include a larger front sway bar; new rear sway bar; new rear suspension; increased rear roll center height; new spring rates; new steering gear; new front static camber setting; lowered ride height; extra sound insulation including acoustic glass; re-engineered seats; softer touch surfaces; new LED ambient lighting and center console; new fascios, fenders, hood, and deck lid; new tail lamps, fog lights, and halogen projector headlamps with LED accents, and grille.
Fleets can buy a cheaper van, the Cargo Van, with basic 16 inch steel wheels, cloth seats, the base radio with two speakers, two-zone climate control, manual tilt-telescope steering wheel, and no rear seats.
Chrysler has set a new precedent by including SafetyTec™ on every Town & Country; SafetyTec is a package of 40 standard safety and technology features, including the class-unique Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path Detection.
Stow ‘n Go has (as predicted by Allpar) been upgraded with more comfortable seats and a one-touch fold down feature for easier access to the third row, and a new ‘super’ center console. The exterior has been refreshed, replacing the “blocky” styling with luxury cues and replacing the “guppy” grille with more luxurious trim.
Electronics include the carry-over dual DVD system that can play different media at the same time, SIRIUS Backseat TV™ which offers three channels of children’s programming; and FLO TV featuring 20 channels of live programming – both of which are exclusive to Chrysler Group minivans; voice command functions for radio, iPod/mp3 players, phone, navigation, and information.
Improvements to the driving dynamics give drivers a more spirited driving experience, while noise, vibration and harshness have been reduced.
Updates include a new instrument panel and instrument cluster; new steering wheel with integrated controls that allow the driver to operate the radio, cruise control, hands-free phone and other vehicle functions while keeping their hands on the wheel; upgraded cloth and leather seating materials; new “soft touch” door trim and new heating and cooling control system.
The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan are built at the Windsor Assembly Plant, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Chrysler has sold more than 13 million minivans worldwide since 1983.
Eventually, Chrysler is expected to equip the Pentastar V6 with direct injection, pushing it over 300 horsepower. Europeans will use a 2.8 liter VM Motori diesel at 195 hp, as well as the Pentastar gasser, according to “mrmopar.”
An R/T model might show up late in the model year, sporting a little V8 either based off the Pentastar V6, or adapted from a Fiat company. This is an unsubstantiated rumor. Maserati currently uses a likely candidate, a 4.2 liter (259 cid) powerplant capable of 399 horsepower; it would likely be detuned down to around 340 hp, at most, and redesigned for lower cost and higher production.
oh2o pegged the six-speed automatic and standard 3.6 liter engine, but horsepower is substantially above our expectations. He and other sources were correct about “significant interventions” to the interior, with better comfort and efficiency, including softer seats; an optional Garmin navigation system is expected as well.
JRS told us, “changes include bigger, much more comfortable middle seats, with a redesigned mechanism for stowing the seats in the floor, requiring just one latch and much easier to operate.” This was accurate.
We were told to expect a new padded dashboard top with stitched instrument panels and door panels; an impressive, integrated center floor console (like that of the Pacifica); a restyled center stack; and push button start/proximity fobs. A new steering wheel has more control buttons. This was all true except for the stitching.
We were told: “The exterior styling will be modified somewhat, including new tailgates with LED taillights are expected and new front fascias. The suspensions are expected to be retuned, and the Dodge may once again have a sportier suspension than the Chrysler (we do not know for certain).” We still do not know about the brand differences in suspension tuning, if there are any.
After 2011 (possibly as late as 2014), dual-clutch, automated-manual transmissions are anticipated, to increase performance and gas mileage.
We reported: “Safety systems will continue to include (standard on some models, optional on others) blind spot monitoring and rear cross path systems, active head restraints, rain-sensitive wipers, and rear-obstacle detection display.”
oh2o wrote: “The heated steering wheel can be programmed via the display center to activate with remote start and will only turn on within a certain temperature range. The new media radios will be available, with updated features and Garmin based nav. Side mirrors will have signals, front seats will have active head restraints, Forward Collision Warning and Side Blind Spot Detection may become available. Overall, the list of refinements and improvements is going to be extensive. ”
Blind spot monitoring: (Aids driver when changing lanes if being passed by or passing unseen vehicles)
- Requires no customer input
- Active any time vehicle is moving forward
- Driver notified of vehicle(s) in blind spot via illuminated icon in mirror; customer-selected audible chime
- Dual ultra-wideband radar sensors
Rear Cross Path (RCP) System
- Chrysler exclusive: not available on any other vehicle
- In parking lots, warns drivers (typically backing out of parking spaces) of traffic moving toward their vehicle
- Activates any time vehicle is in Reverse
- Driver notified of vehicle(s) crossing behind vehicle via an illuminated icon in mirror, and with an audible chime
- RCP included with Blind Spot Monitoring System
Motor Trend claims that the 2015 minivans will once again have different wheelbases, with the smaller one also having a narrower track, for better sales in Europe under the Lancia label. All wheel drive is said to be making a comeback. Word from the factory is that the 2015s start production in late 2014, leaving a long 2014 model year.
Minivan 30th anniversary editions
The 2014 Chrysler Town & Country 30th Anniversary Edition includes black Alcantara seat inserts with Nappa seat bolsters, glossy black steering wheel bezels and interior trim, third-row power folding seats, power folding mirrors, light gray lower instrument panel, Super Center Console, and logos in the gauge cluster, radio splash screen, and key fob.
Standard on these cars is the Driver’s Convenience Group, with heated first- and second-row seating, a heated steering wheel, adjustable pedals, keyless entry/starter, and bright door handles.
The Town & Country S has revised trim with a monotone black interior with leather-and-cloth seats and glossy black appliqués and a standard dual-screen Blu-Ray system with HDMI input, two USB recharging ports, a 12- volt outlet and a 115v two-prong outlet. The screens are higher-definition than in past years. The van has a performance suspension.
The 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan 30th Anniversary Edition is available on both the SE and SXT. It adds unique 17-inch polished satin carbon aluminum wheels, body-color heated mirrors, and 30th Anniversary badging on the front fenders.
Inside, it has silver accent stitching and glossy black accents, black cloth seats, a black leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, black headliner and overhead console, chrome trim bezels, and anniversary logos in the gauge cluster and key fob. The SXT version adds bright chrome window trim moldings and roof rack, fog lamps, automatic headlamps, Black Torino Leatherette seats with suede inserts and silver accent stitching, and a 10-way power driver’s seat.
Minivan specifications and measurements
(Dodge Caravan; Chrysler T&C and Voyager are similar)
- Engine: 10.2:1 compression ratio, 283 hp @ 6,400, 260 lb-ft @ 4,400, limited to 6,800 rpm, 87 octane regular gas, 17/25 mpg.
- Transmission: 62TE automatic, ratios: 4.127, 2.842, 2.283, (Upshift: 1.452 / Kickdown: 1.570), 1.0, 0.69. Reverse, 3.214.
- Transfer ratio: 0.95; Final Drive: 3.16; OTGR: 2.24
- Electrical: 160 amp alternator, 700 CCA battery
- Max cargo height: 46.16”
- GVWR, 6,050 pounds. Curb weight, 4,510 lb (2,050 kg). Towing, tow package, 3,600 lb. 56/44 weight distribution.
|Specification||2008 Inches (mm)||2012|
|Overhang — Front||37.6 (955.4)||37.8|
|Overhang — Rear||43.7 (1108.9)||43.8|
|Track — Front||65.0 (1651.0)||65.6|
|Track — Rear||64.8 (1645.9)||64.8|
|Overall Length||202.5 (5142.5)||202.8|
|Overall Width||76.9 (1953.2)||78.7|
|Overall Width with Mirrors||88.5 (2246.8)||88.5|
|Overall Height||68.9 (1750.0)||67.9|
|Liftover Height||24.4 (619.9)||24.4|
|Cargo Width at Wheelhouse||49.03 (1245.5)||49.03|
|Angle of Approach (Curb Load)||14.3°||13.4°|
|Angle of Departure (Curb Load)||18.7°||17.5°|
|Breakover Angle (Curb Load)||14.5°||13.6°|
|Min. Running Ground Clearance (Curb Load)||6.1 (154.2)||5.6”|
|Fuel Tank Capacity, gal. (L)||20.5 (77.6)||20.0 (76)|
|EPA Interior Passenger Volume, cu. ft. (cu. m)||163.5 (4.63)/156.1 (4.42)||same|
|Max width x length for cargo, all seats down||4 feet x 8 feet, min.|