2009 Dodge Grand Caravan Minivan Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Dodge Grand Caravan Minivan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Dodge Grand Caravan Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.3 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 175 hp @ 5000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan

  • Despite loads of innovative, family-friendly features, the 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan is poorly made and nearly impossible to recommend.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Innovative rear seating options, kid-friendly entertainment options, loads of space, powerful 4.0-liter V6 engine, superb safety scores.

  • Cons

    Poor build quality, substandard interior materials, Stow 'n Go seats aren't very comfortable, slow and inefficient base engine, confusing option packages, not as nimble as other minivans.

  • What's New for 2009

    The base model Grand Caravan SE gains more standard equipment for 2009, including Stow 'n Go seating. The upmarket SXT gains more optional equipment, including a dedicated iPod interface, rain-sensing wipers, a blind-spot monitoring system and the new Rear Cross Path System. All Grand Caravans get improved brakes, while the SXT with the 4.0-liter V6 gets a sport-tuned suspension derived from the European version of the van.

Full 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan Review

What's New for 2009

The base model Grand Caravan SE gains more standard equipment for 2009, including Stow 'n Go seating. The upmarket SXT gains more optional equipment, including a dedicated iPod interface, rain-sensing wipers, a blind-spot monitoring system and the new Rear Cross Path System. All Grand Caravans get improved brakes, while the SXT with the 4.0-liter V6 gets a sport-tuned suspension derived from the European version of the van.


You know that guy you meet at a party who seems really cool? Then you hang out with him for a whole weekend and that cool guy is actually a loudmouth sexist who chews with his mouth open? Well, the 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan is the automotive equivalent of that guy.

If you happened to read our reviews of last year's Caravan, we were quite high on Dodge's all-new minivan, chock-full of innovative, family-friendly features. We also found its engine to be strong and its interior comfortable. We thought cabin materials could be better, but we could live with them given the van's other high points.

But that was based on our typical two-week evaluation period with a new car. Then we received a Grand Caravan as a long-term vehicle -- and our tune quickly changed. We encountered a host of problems, from a finicky radio and passenger sliding door to constant creaks and rattles. Build quality was terrible -- the "+" marking on the shifter was wiped off by someone's finger, the tan leather quickly showed signs of discoloration and the rear bumper plastic warped to the point where we couldn't open the tailgate. This was all after only six months, and you'll find similar experiences in our consumer reviews of the Grand Caravan.

In other words, the Grand Caravan is not a quality product, more a perfect example of cost-cutting and half-hearted design from a company just trying to survive. As we found on our initial experiences with it, the Caravan has some unique and useful features like Swivel 'n Go seating, a dual-screen rear entertainment system, Sirius Satellite TV and hard-drive audio storage. It also boasts the usual minivan attributes of abundant passenger and cargo space. Unfortunately, it's all sloppily executed.

As you can tell, we do not recommend the 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan. The Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Kia Sedona/Hyundai Entourage and several full-size crossovers like the Chevrolet Traverse would be much better choices for your family.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan minivan is available in three trim levels: C/V, base SE and SXT. The C/V is a stripper intended for commercial use only. The more common SE comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, full power accessories (including second-row power windows and third-row power vents), air-conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry, tilt steering column, Stow 'n Go second-row seats, stain-repellent cloth upholstery, a flip-down kiddie mirror and a CD/MP3 player. The SXT adds a larger engine, 16-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, eight-way power driver seat with manual lumbar, power-adjustable pedals, power and remote-operated sliding side doors (optional on SE), rear manual climate control (optional on SE), an overhead console with storage bins and ambient lighting, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, and satellite radio. With the optional 4.0-liter V6, the SXT gets a sport-tuned suspension.

Optional equipment is plentiful but typically grouped in a confusing array of packages. The SE can be equipped with a second-row bench seat, while both trim levels can be optioned with a power tailgate and Swivel 'n Go second-row seats that include a removable table. Integrated child booster seats can also be added to Swivel 'n Go. Both trims can also be equipped with an upgraded audio system with 30GB hard drive for digital music storage, touchscreen controls, satellite radio and a rearview parking camera. A rear DVD entertainment system includes the upgraded stereo plus a 9-inch flip-down screen, remote control, two wireless headphones and 115-volt outlet.

With the SXT, the rear DVD entertainment system includes a swiveling second-row flip-down screen. Also optional on the SXT is the Premium Group that adds rain-sensing wipers, automatic climate control, a power-folding third-row seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, uconnect Bluetooth phone connectivity with iPod interface (also a stand-alone option on all trims), and a nine-speaker audio system. The Family Value Group adds second- and third-row sunshades, sliding front center console and remote ignition. Stand-alone options on the SXT include a sunroof, heated front and second-row seats, a navigation system with real-time traffic, and Sirius Satellite TV with Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney Channel presently provided. Sorry, Dad; no NFL Network.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan can be equipped with one of three V6 engine choices. The base SE trim gets a 3.3-liter V6 good for 175 horsepower and 205 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic is standard. Fuel economy for this engine is disappointing given its meager output at 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.

The SXT comes standard with a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 197 hp and 230 lb-ft of torque. Optional is a more modern 4.0-liter V6 making 251 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. Both SXT engines come with a six-speed automatic. Despite their differing power outputs, they also get the same fuel economy at 16 city/23 highway and 18 combined. The 4.0-liter Grand Caravan goes from zero to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds, which is rather quick for a minivan. All Grand Caravans are front-wheel drive.


The Grand Caravan comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, and full-length side curtain airbags. Optional on both the SE and SXT Caravans are second-row integrated child booster seats (requires Swivel 'n Go). Optional on the SXT is the Security Group, which adds rear parking sensors, a blind spot monitoring system and Rear Cross Path. The latter item aids drivers any time the vehicle is in reverse by warning of cross traffic in both directions to prevent getting your Grand Caravan T-boned. A rearview camera is also available.

In government crash tests, the 2009 Grand Caravan scored a perfect five stars in all frontal- and side-impact categories. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Grand Caravan also scored the best possible rating of "Good" in the frontal offset and side-impact crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Grand Caravan's design theme can be described as appropriately plain and utilitarian. Audio controls are mounted very high for easy viewing and use (although the optional touchscreen and its menus can be cumbersome). The climate controls are located a little too low and require a downward glance away from the road.

Like all minivans, the 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan has its fair share of innovative interior features. The most notable are the various second-row seating choices. Standard Stow 'n Go features a pair of captain's chairs that disappear into the floor (as the third row does) creating a perfectly flat load floor and up to 140 cubic feet of cargo room with no hernia-causing seat lifts. Unfortunately, Stow 'n Go's short seatbacks aren't as comfortable as conventional chairs -- like those found in the optional Swivel 'n Go. As the name suggests, these can be spun around to create a trainlike face-to-face traveling experience for second- and third-row passengers. Fittingly, a pole-mounted table can be fitted in between both rows with Swivel 'n Go. Other innovative features include two rear video screens (one that swivels), a power-folding third row, huge under-floor storage, Sirius Satellite TV, ambient cabin lighting, a pop-out cargo-area-mounted flashlight and a driver-seat umbrella holder.

Despite these highlights, as earlier described, the Grand Caravan's materials quality is worse than all its competitors, while build quality is shoddy at best.

Driving Impressions

The Grand Caravan's handling is certainly adequate for most owners. For 2009, the 4.0-liter SXT gets the sport-tuned suspension setup from Europe's Chrysler Voyager, which improves the van's responsiveness. Still, the SXT remains a step or two behind the Honda Odyssey in terms of ride and handling refinement. The interior remains quiet even at highway speeds, and the 4.0-liter V6 makes the Grand Caravan one of the swiftest minivans available. The 3.8-liter V6 delivers adequate, if not spectacular, acceleration. Grand Caravans with the 3.3-liter engine, meanwhile, are sluggish and don't deliver any corresponding increase in fuel economy.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

I wish i could recommend

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Vehicle: 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT 4dr Minivan (3.8L 6cyl 6A)

Bought the 3.8L SXT version, only have 33k on it. Having the transmission rebuilt right now. My wife drives this van around our small town, and we take weekend trips. It's well taken care of. We've had to have ALL the brakes replaced three times now, the tires are pretty much shot because of the brake problems, and there is a bad motor mount, and now the transmission. The engine is great, and the features and interior are phenomenal, but with the brake problems and now the transmission, clearly the build quality leaves much to be desired. That's why a Toyota is 20k more...

Family hauler

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT 4dr Minivan (3.8L 6cyl 6A)

We have the 4.0 engine and it performs great. This van is the only way to travel with your family. However, Dodge needs to get some thing right. The brake rotors started going bad at 15,000 miles and Dodge would not honor the warranty. They wanted $100 to fix their problem. Next, the Bridgestone tires on the van are garbage (nearly worn out at 20,000 miles). The air conditioner fan motor goes out after a while (however it will work after stopping the van and restarting a short while later). The radio conked out in the first year. A good vehicle with some minor changes would be a great vehicle. Dodge needs to step up and cover their mistakes.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Horrible , never again

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Vehicle: 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SE 4dr Minivan (3.3L 6cyl 4A)

Had an 02, loved it. This 09 is a piece of do doo. Chewing up front tires like crazy, alignment issues, steering issues. Car drifts and moves side to side (cant even explain, its something you have to feel ) steering wheel moves on its own over not smooth road, bumps railroad tracks, etc. Car flexes bad by the sliding doors. Even had transmission experiences and the radio tuning all by itself. All dealers say they don't see any issue, and one said the steering wheel moves to compensate for the road? Personally, I think they know it's messed up and won't admit. So going the lemon route after I hear back from Chrysler! Gas mileage is horrible.

Nice family van with several

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Vehicle: 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SE 4dr Minivan (3.3L 6cyl 4A)

I got a chance to own this vehicle for a period of 12 months which gave me a chance to do a fair evaluation of this product. Let me state first that I do like this vehicle. I purchased one with the weakest engine, so I do sometimes wish I had spent more money and should have gotten at least the 3.8 L one. I had issues with the rotors at 7K which is a well documented issue with this vehicle and now at 11k had a problem with front wheel bearings going bad which is another documented issue. Otherwise, the vehicle is solid with several immaterial shortcomings. I will be looking to trade it in and get the 2011 year model for this brand new 3.6 L Engine and 6AT transmission.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

09 grand caravan sxt 3.8l

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Vehicle: 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT 4dr Minivan (3.8L 6cyl 6A)

This is probably the best vehicle I have ever owned. I cannot say enough about it. We travel cross country from New Mexico to Michigan twice a year (pulling a pop-up camper) and we are very pleased with the performance and comfort of our new van. If you are in the market for a new vehicle and need to cart kids around town and still need room left in the vehicle for your whatnots, then skip the gas guzzling SUV's and go for this van, this is not the soccer mom van of the 90's. Dodge has done a great job upgrading every feature to make this a very desireable vehicle for people who want comfort and practicality.

Not my vanagon but pretty

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan C/V 4dr Minivan (3.3L 6cyl 4A)

Bought this one the first day of the bailout when Chrysler said they'd match the C4C money. Traded in my 86 Vanagon and got a $29K van for $17,5. I never thought I'd buy a chrysler product and really loved my VW, but there were a lot of things that needed fixing and with a new baby I wanted something safer for her. I test drove the Japanese and Korean vans and I can't see why anyone would pay 2X as much for one of them. Stow and Go is the single greatest feature. I've already hauled full sheets of plywood in the van and also carried 7 people on a moments notice. We'll see what happens in terms of reliability but I've driven 2 1000 mile trips and it's been great.

Talk About The 2009 Grand Caravan

2009 Dodge Grand Caravan Discussions See all Started By

Hi, I have a 2009 sxt dodge grand caravan (6 speed). My problem is my transmission. It suddenly quit shifting.The transmission went into neutral (free-revving). There was no bang no nothing. It does...

This just happened tonight. Went to close sliding door but it did not close completely. I checked for anything blocking it but found nothing. What do I do now....

I had similar experience with my 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT. After a lengthy drive, both local and highway, my van kept accelerating even after the cruise control was off and my foot off gas pedal....

Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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