Toyota Alphard vs Chrysler Town & Country?

Help our letter sender decide
by Botchi Santos | Jul 8, 2011

Hi, Botchi!

I need help in deciding between these two vans: the Chrysler Town & Country diesel and the Toyota Alphard 3.5V.

My requirements in a car van are:

1. Space for four adults, three kids/babies with car seats
2. Comfort and safety for monthly out-of-town trips to Batangas and Baguio
3. Space for cargo that includes a foldable playpen, stroller and luggages (installing a Thule is fine with me)

The van will be used everyday by the wife and kids.

What I like about the Town & Country are its iesel engine, safety features that include stability control and rear crumple zone. If I installed the Thule, it would not be as high if I installed it in the Alphard.

As for the Alphard, I like the second row seats with ottoman, exterior looks that will last for two generations, the two moon roofs. I'm just concerned with the YouTube side crash test that showed the Alphard rolled over and it doesn't have stability control to help it's tall height during cornering.

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Your help would be a great help. Thanks!


Hi, Ian!

Thank you very much for your email, we really apreciate you taking the time to send us your thoughts on the matter.

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The Toyota Alphard was made for tight Asian city streets, which explains its narrow track, compensating for additional room by extending the ceiling or roof higher. It's an amazing van, surprisingly comfortable despite being quite narrow inside. And the V6 is indeed the preferred engine for such a big and relatively heavy van. Regarding the side-impact test, I agree that it is a concern but anything can happen. I've seen a diesel, pickup based SUV roll over when it made a turn, albeit at low, low, parking lot speeds. So while it is possible, it is, in my opinion, highly improbable. The wife and kids will love the refinement and comfort it brings.

The Chrysler Town & Country, on the other hand, is from the makers of the segment themselves so you know that the originators have indeed done a great job with it. However, the biggest problem with the T&C is that resale values for American cars, vans and SUVs in general are not very good. Maintenance cost will be on the expensive side for sure, and I personally do not think very highly of American-made diesel engines even if these have in fact been designed by or co-developed with European companies. It does, however, deliver better fuel efficiency into the equation as the Alphard guzzles gas like a sportscar inside the metro. American cars also tend to age horribly; in a year or two your T&C will look very worn and dated, a relic from a different era. European cars age best, followed by Japanese cars. The Alphard, despite having lots of beige, will age far better in my opinion.

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Tough call for me, but I prefer the Alphard because resale value will be better, reliability will be better and maintenance cost will be lower, plus, well, for me it looks better than the T&C.

Hope this helps, good luck and God bless you and your family!

Botchi Santos
Consumer editor

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