Used 1998 Dodge Caravan

1998 Dodge Caravan
List price range

Pros

  • Roomy, easy to park, optional driver's side sliding door, optional ABS, good looks, easy-out roller seats

Cons

  • Less than stellar reliability history.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

If there is a perfect family vehicle in existence, it is the Dodge Caravan. What's the data say? The average American has two kids and spends a little more than $20,000 on a new car or truck. The Dodge Caravan fits into this scenario better than Velveeta in a grilled cheese sandwich.

We like the Caravan SE because it is the most flexible trim level and upgrades seating positions from five to seven. You can go with the bare-bones $20,000 edition, or add luxury items like remote keyless entry, CD player with premium sound, and a security alarm. A third way to spec an SE model is with a Sport Option Package, which includes a firmer suspension, alloy wheels, fog lights and monochromatic trim. Oddly, the 3.8-liter V6 engine cannot be purchased on an SE model, which means the most sport your Sport can attain uses the 158 horsepower churned out by the 3.3-liter V6 that comes with the package. Still, a Caravan Sport is the raciest minivan you can buy, short of popping an extra four grand for the LE model and its 3.8-liter V6.

Step up to LE trim level, and you buy your ticket to a stronger engine, traction control, trip computer, snazzy trim, and leather seating. Just for fun, let's see what a loaded LE runs...Whoa! $30,000 for a packed Caravan LE! Not much value here, folks. Stick with the SE.

Caravan offers several thoughtful details, but the most important are the easy-out rolling seats and the innovative driver-side sliding doora feature that makes so much sense, it's amazing that no one tried this before. Chrysler Easy-out seats are a snap to release and remove, though lifting the seat from the rear of the van may still require two sets of biceps. Optional on base and SE, and standard on LE, the driver's side sliding door offers the convenience of loading kids and cargo from either side of the Caravan. Also intriguing is the windshield wiper de-icer, which also comes standard on the LE.

Cupholders not only are numerous, they "ratchet down" to a smaller size. Except for an overabundance of climate controls and an oddly-shaped column gearshift, the attractively curved dashboard is a pleasure to consult. Seats are soft but reasonably supportive, with moderate side bolstering.

Light steering response gives the Caravan an undeniably car-like feel, with an exceptionally smooth ride. Highly maneuverable and easy to control, the minivan delivers just a hint that you could exceed its capabilities, as when rounding a sharp curve. A 150-horsepower 16-valve dual-cam four serves as the base engine, with a 3.0-, 3.3- or 3.8-liter V6 optional. The Sport package features specially tuned shocks and springs.

Chrysler notes that the Caravan is 3.6 inches shorter than a Mercury Villager and nearly 15 inches shorter than a Ford Windstar, but offers more cargo space than either rival. The Caravan doesn't feel nearly so massive from the driver's seat, which is one of its many charms. Definitely investigate the Dodge Caravan if a smaller minivan meets your needs.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Dodge Caravan.

My 1st 98 was better than the 2nd 98 YES I bought a 2nd one for my dogs and this one east money like a pig.
pianomann, 6/23/2011
I have been pumping $300-500 a month in repairs and replacement parts since Christmas Eve 2010,,,it has 98 800 it us going to get paid off in 1 lump hopefully and it is going to another Charity supporter I have HAD IT with Chrysler and wouldnt take another 1 if it was FREE !!
Caravan A Lemon?
Cartman, 4/10/2002
AC went out $700 to fix. Steering wheel electronics went out $400 to fix Blown headgasket $700 to fix. I'm selling this van soon.
InNeed of a Car
Slim Shady, 7/31/2008
Like any other vehicle, if serviced timely it'll serve it's purpose...I guess. Bought the car used in 2006 because my family was in need of a car at the time. I can say, "that the experience has been fairly decent...until the final note was paid." Hardly nothing went wrong; and then the bottom fell out! I may have replaced the alt., both water and fuel pumps, brake booster, therm, rad./relay fan, and several other parts all within 6-8 mos. But hey, what can I say. It was my only means of transportation and for that I'm blessed! I've said it before, and I'll say again: never buy a "Dodge" again!
So far, so good..
Evergreen, 10/7/2008
Bought this car with some misgivings because of their overall poor reputation for reliability but ours has been pretty sound. We are at 129K miles and only two real problems so far. Changed the engine main bearing seal for about $400. The dash indications go blank about once a week for a few minutes. You kinda know when it's coming because the ABS light comes on first. Consensus is it's the "Body Control Module" but since it's $900 to replace and hasn't broke permanent we haven't fixed it. Transmission is still okay. Can't beat the comfort/versatility for a family of five. Took a two week vacation last winter to the grand canyon and it plowed through ice, rain and snow like a champ.
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Features & Specs

MPG
16 city / 22 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
158 hp @ 4850 rpm
MPG
18 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
3-speed automatic
Gas
150 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
150 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 1998 Dodge Caravan features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Marginal

More about the 1998 Dodge Caravan
Used 1998 Dodge Caravan Overview

The Used 1998 Dodge Caravan is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include LE 4dr Minivan, 3dr Minivan, and SE 4dr Minivan.

What's a good price on a Used 1998 Dodge Caravan?

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Which used 1998 Dodge Caravans are available in my area?

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