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 w...
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.