We neded a van for our family due to an accident which totalled our previous Plymouth Voyager. I bought a '96 Grand Caravan (Dodge)with a 3.8L V-6. A ton of room! Five of us, plus grandpa, ride comfortably with pleny of cargo room. Interior lighting is excellent with well-placed lights. We haul furniture, and bulky loads by removing the rear seat. Handling on freeway is superb. Have replaced battery, brakes and a set of tires at 159K, & change fluids regularly. We got a good one!
We bought it with 72K miles and it's close to 200K now. We've had to replace the transmission and the body control module, but nothing else. We drive it a lot and with 5 children, it gets a lot of use and abuse. It's held up very well considering. Overall, we've been very satisfied with it.
This was our first minivan & first Dodge. I couldn't believe how comfortable and easy it was to drive! I loved it from Day 1. It was perfect for our toddlers & now for our teenagers. Very roomy with useful features - lots of cup holders, folding seats, lots of leg room. While it has been a headache at times - transmission/oil leaks, many sets of brakes, nonstop electrical problems (windshield wipers like to wave expectedly!), overall, we have loved this van & are currently shopping for another one. I couldn't imagine buying anything other than a Caravan! Would love an 08 but I don't love the price tag.
I've had my LE for 10 years. Very comfortable on long trips, decent mileage and good power with the 3.8 engine. Seats are actually more comfortable than the stow+go seats on the new models, also interior much nicer on the '96LE. The new ones have an overall cheaper feel. Reliablity is only fair although the engine and tranny have not given me any problems. If you can find one that's been well maintained, especially with a 3.8, it might be worth buying.
Ride, overall comfort, usable space, overall value
This is a nice looking, but poorly engineered vehicle! The old saying about not buying the first year of a re-designed model is true. The torque converter, A/C compressor, and all 4 brakes were replaced (twice) by 35,000 miles. There's a reason why the factory warranty for brakes is only 12 months/12000 miles!
The sound system is very nice and the drink holders are well placed. Smooth riding vehicle.
Chrysler's ABS brake system in general needs to be looked at. The days of 50- 70,000 miles between brake jobs are long gone!