We don't know if New York Times Automobiles writer Christopher Jensen's got kids, but if he had them, he'd know that handling is not really the most important requirement for a minivan. More important is the need — which he admits in his smack-down this weekend on the new minivans from Chryslerberus almost reluctantly — to pacify children to the point of "superstupor" (Yes C.J., we do like that one and may use it as often as is possible). But to levy charges of inadequacy against the new 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan and the 2008 Chrysler Town & Country simply because the handling is merely "average" misses the point. No self-respecting driver's driver would ever be caught dead driving one of these, or any other people hauler down the road. No amount of fine-tuning, mechanics or changes in structural rigidity's going to make a minivan with this level of options (and weight) fun to drive.
Yes, yes, we know that's not the normal tack our site takes, but can you blame us? What in the segment is really all that fun to drive? Frankly, the Econoline's too big to compete, despite our desires to make such a head-on competition happen, and C.J.'s not impressing us with comparisons to "fun" vehicles like the Buick Enclave and most definitely not winning points with a Honda Odyssey. Sure, you could get a Honda Odyssey, but the average selling price — as C.J. points out — is almsot five grand more than the average selling price point on the Town & Country and Grand Caravan. It may not necessarily (it may be, someone check this one out for us — do some configurator work in the comments below if you could) be because they're just so much cheaper (re: crappier), but rather that the toys Mom & Dad want to keep the little brats quiet in the back two rows of seats are so much cheaper to get to in the Dodge and the Chrysler.
Also, let's be clear here — Dan Neil says the twin Chrysler minivans are the bestest people movers ever built. And if you're going to go negative on it, you certainly don't have the same panache as Clarkson. Frankly Ms. Cregg, you sir are no Jeremy Clarkson.And that's all there is to it. [NYT Automobiles]