December 02, 2008
Minivans are a lot more popular in Canada (especially the Chrysler models) and so is hockey, soit seemed like the perfect vehicleto take last night to see my Toronto Maple Leafsbeat the L.A. Kings. For the last week, I've basically been driving the official vehicle of the Canadian hockey mom (joke, pit bull, lipstick) so it was probably about time I go to a hockey game. Thehockey was excellent and the van, well, "It sounds like we're in a covered wagon," my girlfriend said after the continuous creaking and rattling that comes with every road bump, driveway entrance or simple change in momentum.
Now for some house keeping. We've had the DGC since February and 21,611 miles later, we've never updated the fuel economy (there have been other things to comment about). So here it is. It's important to note that the Caravan lived with Dan Pund for a while in the less-congested confines of Detroit and has made quite a few long-distance trips, including his adventure out west.
Overall Fuel Economy: 18.6 mpg
EPA Combined: 20 mpg
Best Tank: 30.8 mpg (137.8 miles on 4.471 gallons of fuel achieved by photog Kurt Niebuhr)
Worst Tank: 9.7 mpg
Furthest Traveled on One Tank: 385.7 miles
Most Fuel Pouredinto the 20-gallon tank: 18.428 gallons
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 21,611 miles
May 07, 2008
If this 2,400-mile slog from Detroit to LA has taught me anything, it is the power of willful ignorance and blind faith. When the Dodge Carvavan balked at starting the end of yesterday's drive, I chose to put my fate into the spectral hands of the Dodge Brothers in hopes that the problem would be corrected before today's sunrise. And that's exactly what happened. The Dodge started each and every time I asked it to...
Now it is possible that I'd imagined the problem. I had spent a lot of time on the road and was, by last night, feeling a bit, um, unhinged. But neitherI nor any of my imaginary passengers believe this to be the case. We'll mention the incidents to the dealer when we take the van in for its first oil change, something the its computer is already demanding.
We averaged 20.8 mpg for the whole trip, which is a decent figure, although a couple of mpg below what the EPA predicted. With an internal hard drive, a CD player, an auxiliary input for my iPod and satellite radio at my command, I never once had to scan local radio for something decent to listen to. The van's developed a luxuriant goatee of 10 state's worth of bugs. Withsix cupholders in easy reach, I managed to surround myself an impressive array of digital devices, canned coffee beverages and assorted debris.In this regard, the van is anenormously convenient vessel forlongdayson the open seas.
Late today, I noticed a crumb on the "+"markingat the base of theautostick shifter.Iwiped it off with the tip of my index finger and ended up taking off the top section of the "+" so it now looks like a very small, uppercase "T."That shouldn't happen.
Good luck in California, Caravan. It's been...convenient knowing you. --Daniel Pund, Senior Editor, Detroit
May 05, 2008
Here's what I learned in my 825.8 miles of driving today: People in Iowa still wave at perfect strangers.
I was cranking along I-80 somewhere near Des Moines, the Caravan's 4.0-liter V6 mooing lightly. I'd locked in behind a hard-drivinglady driving a ruby-red GMC Envoy. We'd swing left around slow-moving Buicks together and tuck back into the right lane together. We both used three blinks of the turn signal each time we made a move...
It was like an exceedingly boring version one of those Swedish precision driving team -- only without the need for talent. Anyway, when she took an exit she gave me the wave. Not just the thanks-for-letting-me-merge-in-front-of-you motionless raised hand. No, this was a wave, like one you'd give to a, you know, friend or something.
When I'd pull off the expressway to grab some gas, people walking down the street would wave. This dealt a mighty blowto my adolescent fantasy of looking vaguely menacing. How bad could a guy driving a new minivan be anyway? Next time I drive from Detroit to Santa Monica, I'm going to roll in a primer-gray 1971 Dodge Super Bee with blacked-out windows, and maybe get a scar for my face.
The van likes to go 75 mph, which suits me just fine. For those times when the speed limit happens to be less than 75, I have Inside Line's trusty new Passport 9500i Blueradar/laser detector. This handy device saved my bacon twicein Indiana alone.Plus, its readout is -- get this -- blue.
April 28, 2008
Predictably, fuel economy in the big, old family truckster is improving as we accumulate some miles. So far, the van has really only seen city driving -- a regimen in which the EPA reckons our van with the optional 4.0-liter V6 should be getting around 16 mpg. Our early fill ups returned just above 14 mpg. Our most recent tank yielded 15.6 mpg...
That's still not a whole lot of miles for each gallon of 89 octane that the company recommends for this motor. But considering the utility and the relatively good performance of this package, we probably don't have a whole lot of room to complain.