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Minivans upgraded; new price leader

by David Zatz on

Countering a fall in sales, the 2012 Chrysler Town & Country Touring (the base model) will get new features but might lose some existing ones. Already standard on the 2011 was a touch-screen stereo with backup camera, trip computer, auto temperature control, fog lamps, roof-rack, power doors and hatch, fold-away seats, 17 inch wheels, rear a/c, ambient lighting, power pedals, and power 8-way driver’s seat.

New for 2012 will be a power eight-way passenger seat; perforated-leather seats; a DVD video player; and hands-free phone system. The price will be $29,995 plus destination, a $265 drop from 2011 pricing.

tailgate

The 2011 Touring model was listed as having side curtain airbags, seat-mounted side airbags, active front head restraints, blind spot monitor, rear cross path detection, stability control, brake assist, rear park assist, SmartBeam headlamps, rain-sensitive wipers, individual tire pressure monitor, turn signals on the mirrors, and other safety systems. Some of these items, including blind spot monitor and rear cross path detection, are now listed as being available on Touring-L rather than Touring. This might be an error in Chrysler’s advance materials.

The Touring-L model remains the same, while Limited is similarly priced ($38,995) but adds Premium Navigation and a new heated wood steering wheel.

In comparison, the Honda Odyssey with leather starts at $34,725 ($36,325 with DVD video) and Toyota Sienna starts at $32,975 with leather, $35,470 with DVD video.

Those wanting something less pricey can find the Dodge Caravan, with a new SE model at $22,995 — almost $2,000 cheaper than Kia. The SE includes folding seats, power front windows, locks, and mirrors, 7 airbags, and 3-zone temperature control. Moving up to SE Plus ($24,695) 16-inch aluminum wheels and power windows all around, with body-color heated mirrors. SXT ($26,495), most likely the hot model, adds power doors, hatch, and pedals; “super console;” and roof-rack.

The Dodge Crew almost intrudes on Chrysler pricing at $28,495; it includes 17-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps, bright moldings, power driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, touch-screen stereo, remote start, and an alarm, with a price cut on the rear DVD video to $795.

The Man Van, Dodge Caravan R/T, returns with unique 17-inch wheels, body color grille, black leather interior with red stitching, unique tuning, and 506-watt, 9-speaker stereo.

2011 car review

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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