The Dodge Grand Caravan traces its roots back to 1984, when Chrysler introduced American families to a new, extremely space-efficient vehicle: the minivan. The larger, "Grand" version of the Caravan debuted a few years later. It was a huge hit that has remained a strong seller through the years, even as newer rivals outdid it in various ways. Despite innovations like driver-side sliding doors and Stow 'n Go seats, a poor reputation for reliability, a lack of refinement and disappointing execution made it difficult to recommend.
In recent years, however, the Dodge Grand Caravan has been improved significantly. With a strong engine and improved cabin quality highlighting this renaissance, the Grand Caravan is the most competitive that it's been in years. While Toyota and Honda still offer more well-rounded minivans, this Dodge provides several attributes that could make it a good pick for consumers.
Current Dodge Grand Caravan
The Dodge Caravan minivan can seat up to seven passengers and is offered in four trim levels: American Value Package (AVP), SE, SXT and R/T. All of them are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that produces a very strong 283 horsepower. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. Despite the horsepower advantage, the Dodge Grand Caravan is still a half-second slower to 60 mph than the top-ranked Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna.
The AVP represents the entry-level model and feature highlights include full power accessories, dual-zone climate control and an auxiliary audio jack. However, it's the only trim that features a two-person second-row bench seat -- a minivan rarity nowadays -- in place of the upper trims' excellent Stow 'n Go seats that fold into the floor with one tug of a lever.
As you move up through the trim levels, you'll find more standard features like rear air-conditioning, a power-operated liftgate, power sliding doors, leather upholstery, a rearview camera and a blind-spot warning system. Electronic features are plentiful as well, including a navigation system, Bluetooth and a rear seat entertainment system that includes rare features like a Blu-Ray player, an HDMI port and two screens. Like other loaded minivans these days, a fully equipped Grand Caravan can seem like a full-fledged luxury car in terms of features.
As far as passenger comfort, the Grand Caravan comes up a bit short relative to its rivals. Taller drivers may run out of legroom, the second-row Stow 'n Go passenger seats are a little less comfortable than the fixed captain's chairs of other vans and the third row's seat cushion is tilted down in an effort to increase rear legroom. There also isn't an option for an eighth passenger. On the plus side, though, those Stow 'n' Go seats are a cinch to transform the Grand Caravan from people carrier to cargo hauler. The second-row seats of most other vans must be physically removed or you end up with less maximum cargo capacity. In this way, at least, the Grand Caravan is hard to beat.
Read the most recent 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Dodge Grand Caravan page.