In another thread, I spoke of my '83 Cad dying horribly on the freeway. I was about 60 miles from home, and my wife wasn't going to be able to get into the tow truck, not to mention we still had some errands to run in LA. So....I had to rent a car.
Sunday afternoon isn't the most opportune time to rent a car...most car rental places are closed. However, we were just a few miles from Bob Hope Airport (Formerly Burbank airport, Hollywood-Burbank Airport and Lockheed Airport). Enterprise rent-a-car was open, and was running a good special on minivans.
The Chrysler Town and Country was only about $10 over the cost of a regular car, and so that's what I went for.
First impression...this thing is big. Second impression...it sure has a funny looking key...just a plastic thingie that sticks into a big hole on the steering column, yet it works just like a key. There is a regular keyhole on the door, but I didn't receive anything that fit it. Not that it was necessary...the key had a remote on it.
The van I rented came with a Sirius satellite radio...first time I've used one of these. My wife saw it, and now wants one. So I guess when I get a radio for the '98 Ford Windstar I just got for her, I'll have to get one with the satellite feature.
When I got on the freeway, I felt that it seemed just a slight bit underpowered...yet I was able to chirp the tires when taking off from stoplights. This van also has great brakes...stops a lot better than my Geo does.
This morning, when I turned it in to the rental company, I was really impressed by how quickly it warmed up. In just a couple minutes, the frost was melting from the windshield. The only car I've ever seen that had heat coming from the heater as fast as this was my 1960 Corvair with the gasoline heater.
This van has a mileage indicator which gives you the average mileage from reset. I reset it in Pacoima, drove to West Hollywood, then returned to Lancaster. Running 65-75 on the freeway, northbound on the Antelope Valley Freeway (uphill much of the way, from about 1000 feet to 3300 feet), I averaged 18.1 mpg. Because my mental state was not particularly conducive to hypermiling, I didn't get as good of mileage as I might have, and going uphill on this freeway kills your mileage anyway. I don't know which engine it had...the 3.8 highway mileage is rated at 23 mpg, the 4.0 is 25 mpg (go figure).
*Pretty good mileage considering.
*If you are a big person, it might be a bit tough to get into.
*The headrests on the rear seats block rearward vision.
*If you are not careful, the powered tailgate might eat you.
__________________ "We are forces of chaos and anarchy. Everything they say we are we are, and we are very proud of ourselves!" -- Jefferson Airplane
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The Chrysler towne & country has an A/C inverter to power the heated windshield. Even if the engine didn't warm up, the ice would still melt. (before he retired) My dad's company bought him new cars each year. Whenever the option was presented to him, he always took the Chrysler/Plymouth/Dodge minivan. He had them all throughout the years, but always enjoyed the Chrysler products the best. His last company car was the Towne & Country.
I have the 2010 Town and Country with the 4.0 and I get about 27 mpg on the highway. Small trips kill the gas mileage which is about 18-20 mpg when I am the Mom taxi. I like the extra room for the kids but I do miss the 36 mpg I was able to acheive with the 2003 Subaru Legacy. My husband now drives the legacy and he only gets 18 mpg on the thing. He is a very aggressive driver, if you can tell from his gas mileage. lol When hubby drives the minivan, I think he gets about 14-18 mpg. There is a lot of gunning the motor and slamming on the brakes.
I also must add that my daughter was the reason we got the minivan. She now plays the Contrabasse, also known as the upright bass in the orchestra. Imagine trucking that thing over to school in a sedan! The instrument is nearly 6 feet tall and about 3-4 feet wide.
all cars nowadays heat up REAL quick thanks to the EPA (gotta get to warm closed loop ASAP)
The tailgate won't eat you. in my electronics class 2 months ago my group spent an afternoon playing with the power liftgate and doors seeing how we could break it and what it took to stop it. short answer: don't worry.
most current cars have great torque down low, short lower gears, and torque multiplication of the converter. Then really tall gears for cruising at speed for the better highway mileage. The idea being A. car weighs a million lbs and need to get it moving and B. from a stop is where most people (foolishly) judge the overall power of the car. "it must be fast since it can chirp the tires" nevermind it falls on it's face over 3k.
1991 Toyota Pickup 22R-E 2.4 I4/5 speed
1990 Toyota Cressida 7M-GE 3.0 I6/5-speed manual
mechanic, carpenter, stagehand, rigger, and know-it-all smartass
"You don't get to judge me for how I fix what you break"
As luck would have it our family friends, who have relatives from out of the country, shows up in a 2011 Chrysler Town and Country for out trip to Las Vegas and Williams, Arz. There is six of us in the van, with luggage its about 1600 pounds(they are not light weights) and I get to drive. Our friend is a truck driver and the last thing he wants to do is drive. Once I get used to it, I like it. On the flats I was taching 2000 rpm at 68 mph. Using mild hypermilling
I was able to avg 22.5 mpg, A/C on at 68 mph, up and down hills and passes.
I think if I had one full time i could get it to 38 or so mpg. As stated above the brakes were great, handling was touchy(understeered) but once I got the hang of it was no problem. All in all i drove it over 700 miles, overloaded with the ac on and going 68 mph.