Beyond that, this Town & Country was equipped with Chrysler's "Swivel 'N Go" seating system, a $495 option that adds a small table and swiveling second-row bucket seats with integrated booster seats (an additional $225) and seatbelts, so they can be flipped around when the car is in motion. These replace the standard "Stow N Go" seats and aren't foldable. Fortunately, despite the flashback to the old-school days of removable seats, these are lightweight and not hard to remove -- put the release handle into unlock mode, then get behind and pull up. But they do need be stored somewhere (hope there's space in the garage). The table is stored in the floor in front of the second row. It's a neat idea, but with the second-row seats turned around and the table in place, anyone taller than the average 10-year-old will be wondering where to put his legs, doubly so if the driver is north of six feet in height. The kids should enjoy it, provided the two rear-facing ones are immune to motion sickness.

Another included option is the Mopar Exterior appearance group, which for the sum of $937 adds running boards, bright doorsills, premium floormats, and splash guards.

Given the minimal mechanical changes, the 2009 T&C's ride remains relatively the same as the 2008 model, with the exception of its slightly grabbier brakes. The Town & Country moves smoothly and deliberately, its 240-hp 4.0L V-6 hauling the 4600-plus lb of minivan with relative authority when the gas pedal is buried in the floor. Its steering is better than on many sedans, striking a nice balance between weight and responsiveness, and the suspension isn't too soft.

While extra bells and whistles neither make nor break the vehicle, they do make it more appealing, albeit at the cost of eroding Chrysler's cost-advantage over the Japanese and Korean competition. Ticking every option on the list brings the pricetag to $44,667, not exactly the easiest pill to swallow for cash-strapped families. Skipping the sunroof ($895), trailer tow preparation group ($600), and exterior appearance group reduces that to a more manageable $42,235 while retaining all the comfort and safety features offered.


2009 CHRYSLER TOWN & COUNTRY LIMITED
Base price $37,300
Price as tested $44,667; $45,166 w/router
Vehicle layout Front-engine, FWD, 7-pass, four-door minivan
Engine 4.0L/251-hp/259-lb-ft SOHC 24-valve V-6
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight 4600 lb (mfr est)
Wheelbase 121.2 in
Length x width x height 202.5 x 78.7 x 68.9 in
Head room, f/m/r 37.2/39.7/37.9 in
Leg room, f/m/r 40.6/36.3/31.8 in
Shoulder room, f/m/r 63.0/64.7/62.0 in
Cargo volume, behind f/m/r 140.1/83.7/32.3 cu. ft.
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 17/25
CO2 Emissions 0.98 lb/mile
On sale in U.S. Currently