$10,000 Minivan Showdown: Toyota Sienna vs Chrysler Town and Country
Used car comparison: 2012 Toyota Sienna vs 2013 Chrysler Town and Country
Okay, so full disclosure here. I currently own and love my Toyota Sienna. Even though I have a large family, we were never really into driving a van until we purchased a pre-owned Sienna from our Kendall location.
First thing my wife pointed out was that it’s so easy to drive. Transmission and acceleration is very smooth and performs much more like a sedan than an SUV. Coming from a Nissan Pathfinder, the Toyota Sienna felt like a huge step up in refinement.
We looked at the Toyota Sienna and also compared it to the Highlander, but the comfort in the Sienna is just tough to beat. If you are looking for a true 8 passenger vehicle for adults, or growing children, few cars on the road can handle with the same aplomb like the Sienna.
But Chrysler practically invented the minivan, and there is a lot to be said about their innovation in the van segment. Chrysler sets a high bar of interior comfort and Stow-and-go seating, so lets compare the two vans from the inside out.
I have to be honest here, that middle-row fold down seat offered as optional equipment in Chrysler Town and Country is a real plus for those who need it. While the Toyota captain’s chairs do slide front to back, they don’t fold down into the floor. You can remove them if you need, but the chairs are large and a bit heavy and might require two people for some owners.
However, the downside to the Chrysler is that you lose a bit of overall comfort and cabin room. So, if you are planning on keeping those seats up most of the time, Toyota is the way to go. If you need the versatility of a lay flat floor (and seats sometimes), the Chrysler may be worth checking out.
Here is where the Toyota really stands out against any vehicle on the road, and that margin is really evident when comparing the Sienna vs the Town and Country. The Sienna is built to last, and has a very solid feel from the exterior to the interior finish. I took a trip to NYC recently and asked why all the cab drivers in New York drive Sienna vans and not Hondas or Chrysler. They all pretty much answered with the same response, that those other vans cannot stand up to extreme use in New York. With the Toyota you get a tried and tested, and tested again 3.5L V6 SMPI DOHC that is engineered to outlast just about anything on wheels. While the Chrysler is at about the same engine in a
3.6L 6-Cylinder SMPI DOHC, the nod has to go to Toyota here for its legendary reliability.
The same is true for the interior. The Chrysler feels comfortable, and it’s seating ergonomics are very good. While the Toyota feels a little more ‘van-like’ and less like a luxury vehicle, the Town and Country is a little more plush and puffy, where the Toyota is firm and streamlined. But that added padding and texture in the Chrysler may make it less able to withstand added wear that a trip to Home Depot or soccer cleats might bring.
So looking at the main thing our Miami used car shoppers in want out of a van: value, comfort and reliability, we have to give this one to the Sienna.
Interior comfort: Toyota
Overall build quality: Toyota