SE 3.0L 3 speed Bought it with 99640 miles on it on 08/2002. Since then, I was free of any problems. Taking care of it, oil changes every 3000 miles, transmission oil every 30k, tune-ups every 50k. And finally, transmission start hard shifting from first to second a week ago. Currently in the shop with $1950 to $2200 bill waiting for fixing transmission - total rebuilt. Plan to drive it for two more years minimum. Engine is still strong. Average is 22mpg. On freeway, with 65mph it reaches 24-25mpg. Rust is everywhere. My friend tells me that soon I will not have to open the door to enter inside :). Construction is still solid.
Tried new 2010 Dodge minivan. Rear seats are unbelievable. Steep seat and tall passengers hit their back of heads on upper rail trim. Stow and go seats are too short. Headrest hits in the back. Drives like a tank. My 1996 has smoother ride. I do not think my next minivan will be Dodge.
We bought the 1996 Grand Caravan 2 years ago. when we bought it, it's only got 65K miles on it. Now it got 81K miles on it. Transmission and water pump failed twice. Electrical problem, make me crazy sometime. We keep losing money for it every for like 11 months. We are afraid to buy a Dodge again.
It's funny, people have transmission problems because they just drive. You "must" change the transmission fluids at 30,000 miles, just like oil changes at 3000. I've had zero probelms with mine; now at 160,000 miles! It runs and drives like the day it was new, seriously! So if you like roomy, cadillac feel and excellent fuel economy, buy a Caravan. They are a hidden secret most people don't realize how nice they are to drive and haul just about anything around in. I've had passengers say how comfortable the seats are, you can remove the back seats for extra leg room, what more could you ask for. The perfect van for our family has been the Dodge Caravan "We own TWO!!!
Roomy interior, Drives like a Cadillac! Solid feel, nice drive hight.
Oh, You can't fix perfection. Spark plugs in the back of the engine compartment, very tough to get to.
Bought this Grand Caravan new in 1996 and have put 236,000 miles on it so far. Fabulous vehicle for hauling people and stuff. Great comfortable highway cruiser too. Averaged 22+ mpg at 75 mph on long trips. Hauled kids to school and events, college kids belongings, 4x8 sheets of plywood, and apartment loads of furniture easily. Many ski trips in the snow. The much maligned transmission has been great. Worked perfectly for 140,000 miles, then had it rebuilt (for $1500) and it has now gone another 100,000 miles and still working fine. If that is a bad transmission design, then I sure hope I get something as good on our next vehicle! No other major repairs.
Capacity is fabulous. Ride is great. Easy to roll out seats. Reliability and durability have been wonderful, even better than the Japanese cars I like. Even the cloth upholstery remains like new. (carpets are a little stained now though)