As Chrysler celebrates its 90th anniversary, announced plans to rework its current fleet and add new models, which will include the brand’s first plug-in hybrid vehicles.
The first to arrive will be a plug-in hybrid version of one of the brand’s most prominent models: the Town & Country minivan. Officially in its 25th model year, the minivan is currently undergoing a full redesign for 2017 (shown above is the 2016 Town & Country). A few spy shots have captured photos of heavily camouflaged Town & Country test mules, but little is known about what lies underneath.
If the plug-in Town & Country is still on track from earlier estimates, the U.S. can expect to see a pre-production version next January at the Detroit Auto Show. Sales for the conventional minivan will begin Spring 2016, according to Automotive News, with the hybrid Town & Country arriving towards the end of the year.
No other auto companies have hinted about working on an upcoming hybrid minivan for the U.S. And though a few alternatively-powered SUVs and crossovers are on the way, a hybrid Town & Country will likely stand out with no comparable competitors.
Fuel mileage has been estimated at about the equivalent of “75 mpg,” which may entice consumers wanting a larger vehicle with good fuel economy.
Of course this mileage is when the battery is charged. Unsaid is how it would do in basis hybrid mode using more of the gas engine.
And, the final price may put the hybrid minivan out of practical reach of many. It’s predicted that the gas-only Town & Country will be priced around $26,000 for 2017, and a hybrid powertrain will add thousands more.
Chrysler is also adding a full-size crossover that will feature all-wheel drive and third-row seating. It appears that this is being developed alongside the next generation Town & Country: both will share the same platform and boast similar characteristics. The gas-powered crossover will arrive first in 2017, with a plug-in hybrid version set for later that year.