Minivan; Built in USA
  • 4-door van
  • 4-door van
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,800 – $4,100*


1996 Chrysler Town & Country LXi


1996 Chrysler Town & Country LXi


1996 Chrysler Town & Country LXi


1996 Chrysler Town & Country interior


1997 Chrysler Town & Country LXi


1997 Chrysler Town & Country SX

Pros:
  • Acceleration (3.8-liter)
  • Antilock brakes
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Ride
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Wind noise

On the road, Chrysler’s minivans feel like big cars. Ford’s Windstar and the latest GM minivans also are tempting, but Chrysler deserves to hang on to its title of best all-around buy. All of the Town & Country’s extras are appealing, but of course a Dodge Caravan or Plymouth Voyager offers most of the same features, for fewer dollars.

Overview

In the spring of 1995, Chrysler issued a dramatically redesigned Town & Country–and equivalent Dodge Caravan/Plymouth Voyager–as early 1996 models. Meeting 1998 federal passenger-car safety standards, the new Town & Country could be ordered with an optional sliding door on the driver’s side–a “first” for minivans. Three versions went on sale: a standard-wheelbase (113.3-inch) LX; a base model on the long (119.3-inch) wheelbase; and a top-of-the-line LXi, also on the longer wheelbase. Base and LX minivans got a 3.3-liter, 158-horsepower V6 engine. A 166-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6 went into the LXi, and was optional for its mates. Both engines drove a 4-speed automatic transmission. All models offered 7-passenger seating, including two front bucket seats and a 3-place rear bench. Base and LX models had a 2-place middle bench; LXi, twin center buckets. Center and rear benches had new “Easy Out” built-in rollers. Dual integrated child safety seats were optional on models with a center bench seat and cloth upholstery. Even in base form, the Town & Country’s long list of standard equipment included dual airbags and antilock braking, plus air conditioning with dual controls, cruise control, and tinted glass.

Yearly Updates

1997 Town & Country
Permanent all-wheel drive arrived as an option for ’97 on long-wheelbase minivans, and AWD models got 4-wheel disc brakes. Front-drive minivans gained a new traction control system, which works at low speeds to prevent wheel slippage. All 1997 models got the extra driver-side sliding door. The lineup now included a short-wheelbase SX model and two long wheelbase models: the LX and LXi. The 3.8-liter engine was standard on the LXi and optional on the others.
1998 Town & Country
Town & Country got a new look with an open grille and winged emblem for ’98. The new grille features new headlights that offer better illumination. Also, the 3.8-liter V6 gained 14 horsepower for a total of 180.
1999 Town & Country
The middle bench seat was dropped for ’99, and a child seat was now available in one of the two reclining middle-row buckets. Other additions included a small cargo net between the front seats and 16-inch chrome alloy wheels on the Limited.
2000 Town & Country
Regular-length minivans were dropped for 2000, leaving only extended-length models, with new interior and exterior colors. All models seated seven and had sliding doors on both sides. A new Rear Seat Video entertainment system, with VCR and 6.4-inch display screen, could be dealer-installed.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Town & Country buyers could choose from two V6 engines: 3.3-liter, developing 158 horsepower; or a 3.8-liter that made 166 horsepower. Both engines drove a 4-speed overdrive automatic transmission. All-wheel drive was available on 1997 long-wheelbase models. Voyager joined the Chrysler brand late in 1999 with an available 2.4-liter I4 engine.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/153
Engine HP 150
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 167
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
3-speed automatic

20/26

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.3/201
Engine HP 158
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 203
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

17/24

17.4

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/230
Engine HP 166
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 245
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

17/24

15.1

Road Test

The latest Town & Country is more spacious and practical than its predecessor. Door sills were lowered by 1.4 inches to improve entry and exit, which is easy all around–especially with the available driver-side sliding door. Step-in height is actually among the lowest in the minivan class. The dashboard is lower and side windows deeper, so visibility is improved. Choosing a long-wheelbase minivan means everyone has plenty of room. You get ample cargo space at the rear in long wheelbase models, and adequate space in the standard-size version. Cupholders and storage bins are sprinkled throughout the interior, with plenty of space for stashing small items.

Steering is precise, and hard cornering produces only modest body lean. The ride is supple, yet well-controlled at highway speeds. The shorter wheelbase Voyager gives a jumpier, less-forgiving ride, but offers good steering feel and adequate brakes. Voyager buyers should steer clear of the 4-cyl, as it lacks power for a vehicle this size. Acceleration is adequate with the 3.3-liter V6, even in the heavier long-wheelbase models, but the bigger engine has enough extra muscle to make a noticeable difference when merging onto the expressway and running uphill. Fuel economy is gloomy with any engine: Expect an average of 15-17 mpg in urban driving, or into the low 20s on the highway. Base Voyager’s overworked 4-cyl likely will offer only slightly better economy. Tire noise is low, but wind noise grows prominent at highway speeds. All seats are comfortable for long treks.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 Chrysler Town & Country LX 3.8-liter

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 9
90%

Other

Value - 8
80%

Total: 59

Specifications

4-door van
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
113.3 186.3 75.6 68.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
141.9 20.0 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.8 38.1 41.2 35.2
4-door van
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
119.3 199.6 75.6 68.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
167.0 20.0 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.8 38.4 41.2 38.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Town & Country 4-door van

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 3
60%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 73
Injury 55
Theft 87

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: Transmission may shudder when accelerating from a stop, thump when coasting down to a stop, or slip when shifting. (1996)
Blower motor
Description: Blower motors make a whine in low and second speed. (1996)
Blower motor
Description: Blower motor quits working and a new resistor and wiring repair kit is required. (1996-97)
Brakes
Description: The antilock brakes may activate at speeds under 10 mph due to one or more faulty wheel speed sensors. (1996)
Dashboard lights
Description: The instrument cluster, mini-trip computer and/or compass may show incorrect information or go completely blank due to a bad relay for the heated backlight. (1997)
Doors
Description: Sliding door and/or liftgate power locks fail to lock or unlock both manually or electrically. (1996)
Engine temperature
Description: Reprogramming the powertrain control module might correct overheating. (1997-98)
Radiator
Description: The radiator fan may run after the key is turned off, or may not run leading to overheating because the fan relay attaching screws break and the relay overheats. (1996-97)
Rough idle
Description: Vehicles equipped with a 3.3-liter or 3.8-liter V6 may lose power and/or buck and miss. Problem can be fixed by disconnecting the knock sensor. (1996-97)
Rough idle
Description: Rough running in 3.3-liter and 3.8-liter V6 might be due to broken pedestals in the cylinder heads. (1996)
Vehicle noise
Description: A thud or thump when accelerating or stopping is caused by fuel sloshing in the tank. A foam pad and strap kit does not always fix the problem. (1996-97)
Wipers
Description: Windshield wipers come on by themselves or fail to stop when the switch is turned off due to a problem with the multifunciton switch on the column. (1996)

Recall History

1996
Description: Fuel-tank rollover valve can allow fuel to enter vapor canister, creating potential for leakage and fire.
1996
Description: On certain minivans, fuel can leak from tank at interface of fuel pump module attachment.
1996
Description: On a few minivans, bolts holding integrated child seat modules to seat frame can break.
1996
Description: Static charge could cause spark as tank is filled; vapors could ignite.
1996-97 w/integrated child seats
Description: Shoulder-harness restraint on child seat can be difficult to release when latch plate becomes contaminated.
1996-98
Description: The clockspring may have been wound incorrectly, resulting in illumination of airbag warning light and possibly causing the driver’s side airbag to not function. Dealer will inspect and replace affected parts on vehicles with 70,000 miles or less.
1997
Description: Certain master-cylinder seals will not seal adequately, allowing hydraulic fluid to be drawn into power-assist vacuum reservoir; brake warning lamp will then illuminate.
1997
Description: The D-pillar mastic sound barrier patch could loosen and drop into the seatbelt assembly, rendering it inoperative.
1998 w/integrated child seats
Description: Shoulder-harness webbing was incorrectly routed around reinforcement bar; can fail to restrain child properly.
1998-00
Description: Driver’s airbag on some minivans may become disabled due to a failed clockspring in the steering-wheel hub; airbag warning lamp should illuminate.
1999
Description: Front-seatbelt retractor does not work properly and will not adequately protect occupant in a crash.
1999-00 w/3.3-liter & 3.8-liter engines
Description: Fuel could leak from the underhood fuel-injection fuel rail, increasing risk of vehicle fire.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.