Next-generation Chrysler minivan

What It Is: You are looking at an exceptionally rough early prototype for the next-generation Chrysler Town & Country minivan. Even though it is covered from wheels to roof in baggy, plastic covers, key visible bits such as the headlights, taillights, grille, and some interior pieces hail from the far reaches of the Fiat/Chrysler spectrum, indicating that, along with the minivan body, this cobbled-together vehicle is one of Chrysler’s first 2017 T&C development mules.

Why It Matters: Besides possessing one of the most historic names in the industry, the Town & Country, when it appears sometime in 2016, will carry Chrysler’s minivan torch alone. The van’s longtime sibling, the Dodge Caravan, is to be killed that same year and replaced with a three-row crossover along the lines of GM’s mid-size Lambda-platform CUVs such as the Buick Enclave and the GMC Acadia.

Chrysler, too, will get a version of the new three-row crossover, meaning the T&C will need to fight for relevance in Chrysler showrooms. Apparently, Chrysler recognizes the future Town & Country’s significance, and, per the company’s most recent product-plan update, will give the van a plug-in-hybrid powertrain option. We hope it works; for as much as we poke fun at minivans’ mulish nature, the Town & Country is a direct descendent of the vehicle that spawned the modern minivan, and it’d be a shame to see the segment and its namesake wither.

Powertrain: Just as it’s too early to surmise what platform will underpin the new Town & Country, it’s rather too soon to tell what will power it. That said, Chrysler has confirmed that the van will get a plug-in-hybrid powertrain. But there currently isn’t an equivalent setup anywhere in the U.S.-market Fiat/Chrysler lineup, so details are elusive. If Chrysler can keep the minivan’s weight down, we could see a four-cylinder engine—possibly turbocharged—paired with an electric motor or motors.

Alternatively, a hybridized version of Chrysler’s excellent Pentastar V-6 would fit nicely. We anticipate that some version of the Pentastar six also will serve as the van’s nonhybrid means of motivation. Front-drive will be standard, while all-wheel drive likely will be available as an option—something the current minivan does not offer due to the space eaten by the Stow ’n Go seats. The ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic from the Chrysler 200 and Jeep Cherokee probably will be the only transmission choice.

Competition: Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona, Nissan Quest, Toyota Sienna.

Estimated Arrival and Price: Per Chrysler’s stated future product plans, the new Town & Country will debut sometime in 2016 before going on sale as a 2017 model-year offering. It’s far too early to speculate about pricing; given the Dodge Grand Caravan’s departure and Chrysler’s sometimes-upscale ambitions, the T&C could be positioned as a more luxurious option than it is today, or it could be offered at the same $30, 000-ish base price as most of its minivan competitors.

Intro-Tech Automotive 2008-2016 CHRYSLER Town & Country Minivan Custom Fit Sun Shade Heat Shield
Automotive Parts and Accessories (Intro-Tech Automotive)
  • Finished with a UV resistant, non-abrasive velour binding
  • Multi-layered material with a metalized outer film that reflects harming UV rays
  • Reduces inside Temperatures up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Easy to roll up and with an attached Velcro strap makes item easy to stow
  • Lifetime Warranty

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