A dire consequence of the in-the-floor-stowing Stow 'N Go seats is that the spare tire (a space saver) has wound up under the front row's floor, along the van's centerline. So...on a rainy night (these things always happen on rainy nights, right?), I suddenly saw tire-pressure numbers for the left rear rapidly dropping. Fortunately, I was able to skedaddle back to our (dimly) lit garage to change wheels, but, ahh, it's not so simple. The spare has to be lowered by a creaky crank, and after it finally completes its descent to the concrete, then what? If you're me, you lay on the ground and kick the spare like mad to maneuver it into a reachable location (our Paleolithic ancestors would have used a found tool, like a stick, but my first choice is to kick things). All very amusing in retrospect, but what if I hadn't managed to limp to a dry, (dimly) lighted location? On the other hand, the importance of tire-pressure monitoring that instantly shows you exactly which tire is deflating and how quickly its pressure is dropping is worth any number of Stow-'N-whatever option boxes. Ten minutes later I would've been doing 75 mph on the freeway. In the rain.

When we introduced this Town & Country to you in our August 2008 issue, we concluded by asking: "So, will its durability and dense concentration of creature comforts keep us giddy 12 months from now?" Answer: The giddy is gone. But our affection for it -- yes, even after being rattled by rattles, and bludgeoned by budget-draining repairs -- absolutely remains.

From the Logbook

I was impressed with the ease with which you can reconfigure the cabin. I needed the full flat cargo space, and had it in no time. The van held a lot of gear -- it didn't seem like that much when I stowed it all in there, but taking it out took several trips!
- Allyson Harwood

Despite being somewhat familiar with the navigation system, I had to refer to the manual too often. The useable map area is small, and why can you zoom out to a view of the Northern Hemisphere? How useful is that? If you have to consult the nav system to find out what hemisphere you're in, well...
- Thomas Voehringer

The powertrain is a little rough when you do weird things (abruptly get off the gas while accelerating for instance), but otherwise it's a hoot to drive. Gears one and two feel very short, but all the shifts have a smooth, uninterrupted feel.
- Ed Loh

Our Car
Base Price $37,345
Options Dual DVD w/Sirius backseat TV ($2020), MyGIG multimedia system w/Nav & Sirius traffic ($1300), pwr folding 3rd-row seat ($595), Inferno Red paint ($225)
MSRP, as tested $41,485
Total mileage 32,244
Avg econ/CO2 18.9 mpg
Problem areas Brake wear, radiator, pwr steering hose, pwr 3rd-row seat, rattles
Maintenance cost $299.56
Normal-wear cost $864.98
3-year residual value* $15,026*
Recalls None
* Automotive Lease Guide