I had this car (model 2004) for 5 years and drove 64k miles on it (56-110k). The car probably had some prior frontal damage before I bought it, which may have propagated into some of the maintenance issues I ran into. We had to replace a number of things (radiator, alternator/battery, window motor, rotors, tail light, etc) and had the check-engine light on for most of the time, due to some emission codes which could never be figured despite a few tries by the local dealer and another garage. But the great thing about owning a Dodge in the US is that spare parts are easy and quick to get and we probably only lost a couple of days when we would have needed to use the car. Overall likable car.
The seats in this model are great and make traveling long distances pretty nice. I´ve also driven the newer Grand Caravans for rentals and I must say I like the old seats better. This is/was a great travel car for the extended family, and even though it was "just" the short version, we often went on trips with 7 people and luggage without problems.
I loved the versatile seating options: On family camping trips I would have the split bench as a 3-seat second row and stuff the immense back space with gear. Once we went 5 people camping with 5 bikes after I threw together a roof rack from 2x4s and some plywood.
I also bought a separate 3-seater bench to seat 8 people when I had visitors.
Overall the major comments are regarding reliability. When I got rid of the car it was leaking four different fluids (oil, transmission, power steering, coolant), and probably does not have a whole lot more to go, which is sad. Perhaps this all goes back to the alleged frontal damage. I wondered sometimes if the water pump was failing rooting some of the problems, but the garage disagreed so I never had it replaced.
It is a bother not to be able to roll down windows on the sliding doors. Has been implemented on newer models. Yay.
Fuel consumption is ok on the open road, but soars in traffic. I would be keen on seeing available diesel versions in the US.
This is our second Plymouth/Dodge van. We bought both new. The 98 was great. This van will not align without changing the toe-in to make up for the left veering. The front right side of the axle, is at the factory limit of degrees forward of ideal, the the front left side axle is at the factory limit for back of ideal. Consequently, when aligned, properly, the car is 3 or 4 degrees out of straight and veers left, a lot. The dealership kept it running straight when it was under warranty. It left the factory, driving straight. Both had to set the toe-in off to do this.
Once the warranty was out, we took it to a reputable automotive garage, where they told us the truth, only by setting the toe-in out, can you get the car to drive straight. Two other garages confirmed this.
Consequently, the tires wear much faster than they should.
My favorite feature is, this Caravan made me realize, Chrysler has management that puts immediate sales ahead of customer loyalty and repeat business.
Their motto is not, "Quality is job one, it is, get it out, quick, and get it sold, and make sure the dealerships play along.
Dodge did us a favor.
Prove to us you have changed your ways.
When last I checked, you still had the loosest engine tolerances in the industry.
Considering my Caravan has a little over 430,000 miles on it, I would say overall this model is worth the money. I purchased this vehicle from a family member about a year ago. At that time it had about 400,000 miles on it but had everything except the engine and transmission replaced in it. It was very well maintained and 90% of the miles were highway miles. I was told by the previous owner, whom bought the van brand new, that the brakes have never been up to par, the headlights are terrible, and the entire front end had been replaced (no accidents...just wear and tear).
I absolutely love the amount of space inside this vehicle. I can fit 5 carseats comfortably in this van.
Better braking system would be a nice start...no matter how much work I have done on the brakes they never work as well as they should. The cloth interior and floor mats are not kid friendly at all. Kid friendly everything should be standard in all vans. And how many times should an owner be expected to replace the rack and pinion set on this vehicle because once should be enough. The whole front end suspension is in desperate need of a revamp...and Im referring to right off the assembly line. I am now working on a broken front drivers side axle as well as new brakes (again in the last year) and another new power steering pump. I want my Mazda MPV back!!
2004 Dodge Caravan Minivan SE 4dr Minivan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
i bought this car from the US and took with me to Russia, it had 90k miles and ive been using it for 3 years, it has been SUPER PERFECT CAR i abuse the car by not changing the oil or the brakes n not warming the engine when its -30 degree and still the car never stopped or had any problems i just change the oil every 8 month and thts it, i never spent any money on it maybe because it has no options other than the CD and Airbags i want to change the car but im afraid that if i bought something else it wont be as reliable as this one
my favorite feature in this car that it keeps working and do the job no matter what its very reliable
2004 Dodge Caravan Minivan SE 4dr Minivan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
Our first one was 1997 Plymouth Voyager 3.L, Transmission went at 20k and then again at 100k.Had it rebuild by specialty shop and traded the van at 270k with no further issues. Mitsubishi 3.l engine never needed a tune-up! This one is 2004 special edition with 73k and transmission went without warning. A $3,000.00 repair cost plus towing. We do not complain, paid little, got little in return. Chrysler delivered as expected another poor quality product.
Very versatile vehicle, camping, people mover, overall concept is good.
Reliability, Reliability, Reliability, Reliability, Reliability, Reliability, Reliability, Reliability, as this is a family vehicle and Chrysler should be ashamed to cause unexpected expenses to growing families with kids, baseball games and so on to go to!