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1996 Chrysler Town & Country

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Key specs

Base trim shown


Body style


Seating capacity

186.4” x 68.7”


Front-wheel drive



3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • LX

  • Base


  • LXi


Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 1996 Chrysler Town & Country trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best Minivans for 2024

1996 Chrysler Town & Country review: Our expert's take

By Editors

THE BILLBOARD spoke highly of the Buffalo Lodge and Grill. We figured it had to be as good as McDonald’s. We stopped for breakfast.

The place turned out to be far better than any fast-food eatery. The food was great. The service was superior. Grill manager Kit West was genuinely nice. And the price for three people barely scratched $20.

We left feeling that the Buffalo Lodge and Grill folks knew how to run a business, that they took pride in providing top-quality service at a better-than-fair price, and that they actually cared about their customers.

At the end of our 8,000-mile, crisscross-country journey, we had similar feelings about the people who made the 1996 Chrysler Town & Country minivan — indisputably the best minivan on the market.

The Chrysler T&C never faltered, not in the mountains of Colorado, nor on the high-speed, long stretches of practically empty, rural highways that run through Wyoming and Montana. The T&C handled the hilly, urban congestion of Seattle with aplomb, as it did the intense, 100-plus-degree heat of Texas and central Georgia.

Chrysler invented the minivan market in 1984. If the tested T&C is representative of the company’s 1996 minivan line, Chrysler now has reinvented that market and redefined the standards of minivan excellence.

Background: Minivan sales in general are slowing down, partly because more people are turning to four-wheel-drive, sport-utility vehicles — such as the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee — as their family vehicle of choice. But minivans still account for 1 million new-vehicle sales annually in the United States, a bit more than 5 percent of all new cars and trucks sold in this country.

That’s a multi-billion-dollar market — enough to attract 20 minivan competing models, not one of which, so far, has managed to overtake Chrysler. Chrysler holds a 38 percent share of U.S. minivan sales, considerably less than its overwhelming 50 percent share in the 1980s, but still enough to maintain its dominance of that segment.

Obviously, Chrysler wants more; and as evidenced by its 1996 T&C, the company is going all out to get it. Here’s how:

* The T&C and companion Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan minivans have better interiors than any of their rivals, including the Ford Windstar, Chevrolet Lumina and Nissan Quest. The T&C’s interior is well designed, making it easier for passengers to move around. Cargo volume in the tested T&C is 22 cubic feet with rear and center seats and 167 cubic feet without those seats.

* The new Chrysler minivans have the easiest-to-remove rear seats, because they’re equipped with rollers. This makes more sense than the Honda Odyssey’s foldaway rear seats. Honda misses the point. Rear seats mean extra weight. Extra weight means more fuel consumption. If you don’t need those rear seats on a long trip, you want ’em out of the minivan. Period.

* Optional, dual-side sliding doors equipped with the best door handles on any car or truck sold in America. The Chrysler T&C handles were actually designed to fit the hand. They feel good! And the driver’s-side sliding door just makes sense, especially if you’re chauffeuring an elderly person who needs help to get in and out of the vehicle.

Other pluses include standard front discs/rear drum brakes with anti-lock backup; dual-front air bags; 1997 standard side-impact barrier protection; standard, four-speed automatic transmission; and a huge, tall windshield that enhances visibility and decreases driver fatigue.

The tested T&C was equipped with a 3.8-liter V-6 rated 166 horsepower at 4,300 rpm, with torque set at 227 pound-feet at 3,100 rpm. More economical four-cylinder and smaller six-cylinder engines are available. But the 3.8-liter V-6 is recommended for people who take long trips.

Complaints: The new Chrysler minis have lots of storage space. But some turkey in the company’s design department failed to put storage pockets in the doors of the T&C. Lots of complaints about this from riders and minivan visitors.

Praise: It’s simply the best minivan.

Head-turning quotient: The crisscross-country trip took two weeks, sometimes driving as much as 14 hours a day. We could’ve eliminated two days if we hadn’t spent so many hours in rest-stop and motel parking lots answering questions about the new T&C. People, especially veteran Chrysler minivan owners, loved the looks of the thing.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Triple aces, even over rough roads and at high elevations. Braking was excellent.

Mileage: About 19 miles per gallon (20-gallon tank, estimated 365-mile range on usable volume of 87-octane unleaded), mostly highway, running with three occupants and 250 pounds of cargo, with air-conditioner full blast.

Sound system: Electronically controlled eight-speaker AM/FM stereo radio and cassette with graphic equalizer. Chrysler Infinity system. Excellent.

Price: Base price on the tested T&C is $23,960. Dealer’s invoice is $21,800. Price as tested is $26,560, including $2,040 in options and a $560 destination charge.

Purse-strings note: The T&C is the top of the 1996 Chrysler minivan line. Less expensive models include the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Compare with Ford Windstar, Chevrolet Lumina/Pontiac Trans Sport, Mercury Villager/Nissan Quest, Toyota Previa and Honda Odyssey.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.7
  • Interior 4.4
  • Performance 4.0
  • Value 4.7
  • Exterior 5.0
  • Reliability 3.6
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Most recent consumer reviews


Great smooth ride

It's always been one of the best looking MiniVans made with the egg shaped body, and door slide integrated with the rear window. While it will never be mistaken for a sports car, the handling is responsive and true enough. The LXi had a more tuned suspension than the Plymouth or standard Dodge. Smooth ride to the beach or up and down I-95 even fully loaded (and you can load ALOT).


Some great aspects, but some big head aches.

We had a '96 Chrysler T&C with a 3.8L V6 (230 cubic inch) in my family, and it became my first car. I loved it for many reasons-- lots of good space, it was comfortable (mind you on both counts this was the longer length, leather laden interior), and had good features. Fuel economy wasn't great for a young driver-- maybe 14-16, but that's with a lead foot. Safety ratings were four stars for the front passenger and driver. The 3.8L engine didn't have a lot of horsepower: 166. But the 245 ftlbs or torque (spinning force of the wheels) wasn't surpassed by any other van until the 2006 Kia Sedona/Hyundai Entourage came out. The handling didn't have high limits, but could still be fun and predictable, and the brakes could get mushy but still get the job done. I also miss the spring loaded cup holders that could be adjusted, however they tended to block some of the heater and radio controls if you had anything big in them. The Infinity eight-speaker stereo is one of the best stereos I've had in any of our cars. Mainly I don't miss the reliability. It wasn't just ours that had the issue of bad transaxles, as it was a very big trouble spot for everyone. We would also have it die out on us because of a faulty O2 sensor that the dealer could never permanently fix-- by the end I'd had it die mid corner going up hill, and it ended up rolling backward onto the curb near someones lawn. Any of the possible issues can be found at Consumer Guide. As long as you can find one without the transaxle problem, there may still be little tweaks like clicking power locks or rear power window motors being on the weak side, but those aren't big enough to tear down these vans for good. They are still one of the most beautifully designed minivans on the road to me. I would recommend it for all but reliability of the 3.8L's (230 cubic inch) transmission, but otherwise great vans.


Best minivan We've ever had.

First of all,the ride is so comfortable in generall. The T&C we have sails across the highways with ease. It is such a smooooooth ride!!! We have owned other minivans in the past ; but this one offered the most space & comfort. The van we have is real attractive too.It has a deep burgandy color to it with smoked privacy glass.The standard wheele coverings even have a flare to them. In the shot time we have owned our van , it has never given us problems. I would recommend this vehicle to anyone who is looking for a dependable van.

See all 3 consumer reviews


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Chrysler
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 model years or newer/less than 75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
3 months/3,000 miles
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
125-point inspection
Roadside assistance
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