Good basic family hauler
By Landric on
2004 Dodge Caravan SE 4dr Minivan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
I bought this vehicle used about six months ago. I discovered the day before my twin sons were born that I could not fit a car seat behind the driver's seat in my Toyota Matrix and still drive it comfortably. I couldn't afford a new van right then, but I needed something I could fit car seats in and still drive. I have the base SE with the 4-cylinder, AC, & CD Player. The only option it has are the side airbags. So far no break downs, though sometimes the transmission behaves strangely when the heater is on, shifting erratically. It's only happened a couple of times, but its disconcerting. I just bought a new 2009 Kia Sedona at a hefty discount, so the Caravan is now around town only.
Highway gas mileage with the 4 cylinder is better than expected, usually between 26 and 28 mpg. Excellent visibility, well thought out interior, roomy feel even with the short wheelbase. Cheap looking black bumpers don't look nearly as bad with the dark blue paint.
Gas mileage around town is pretty bad, sometimes as low as 15 mpg since the 3 cylinder has to work a lot harder then when cruising on the highway. Cruise control and power locks/keyless entry should be standard on any family hauler. I can live without the power windows and mirrors.
I've had this van about a year and a half now.
I started driving it daily back and forth to work when the clutch on my 1990 Mazda pickup went out (my usual back and forth vehicle).
Its only got 63000 miles on it, but so far no breakdowns.
Its been a good around town family hauler, but gas mileage with a 2.4 liter 4 Cylinder is as low as 12 mpg, worse than my 3.8 liter V6 Sedona.
My kids are old enough now that they are not rear facing, so I'm about ready to trade the Caravan in on a car that gets better mileage and inspires more confidence from a reliability standpoint.