If there is a perfect family vehicle in existence, it is the Dodge Grand 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 Grand Caravan SE because it is the most flexible trim level. You can go with the bare-bones 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, foglights 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. At the top is the ES, which adds alloy wheels, foglights and a monochromatic paint scheme.
Grand Caravan offers several thoughtful details, but the most important are the easy-out rolling seats and the innovative driver-side sliding door -- a 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. The driver-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 Grand Caravan an undeniably carlike 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 3.0-liter, 150-horsepower V6 serves as the base engine, with a 180-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6 optional.
With its combination of innovative features and carlike ride and handling qualities, the Grand Caravan deserves consideration from anyone looking for a family hauler.
After a one year hiatus, all-wheel drive returns to the lineup, available on SE and LE models. Traction control is newly available, and an enhanced accident response system will automatically unlock the doors and illuminate the interior when an airbag deployment is detected. A Sport decor group is newly available on Grand Caravan SE.
Read what other owners think about the Used 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan.
This was my first car and I paid $200 for it in 2009. During the time I owned this vehicle the only things that I had to replace were the fuel pump and the water pump. It had just about 200k miles on it and I trusted it to take me anywhere. It never died on me and always started right up. Went to trade it in at a dealership and the guy told me he wouldnt do it because the tranny was gonna go out of it because they are known for it. He got mad when I laughed in his face. The tranny had never been replaced and never gave me any issues at all. Would love to own another one. I had a 1999 Plymouth grand voyager and that thing was very solid aswell. Took a bad beating from the previous owner.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Long time fan
ES 4dr Minivan AWD
This is my third Dodge Caravan and the best of them. I've been driving this 1997 for 80k+ miles and I keep it in good condition with regular maintenance. The steering rack is the only major part that needed replacing. With 4 kids and a lot of very local driving, this is perfect for mom. The car is spacious, comfortable and easy to drive. Mine is AWD, which brings additional comfort in traction during wet or snowy weather. Very happy with it.
2.88 out of 5 stars
Whats wrong with american cars?
SE 3dr Minivan AWD
This car has major reliability
problems, I have replaced the battery,
the altenator, the water pump, the
device that raises and lowers the
driverside window, a starter, and now
I need to fix head and valve gaskets,
a 600.00 repair. we bought the
vehicle new and I haven't driven it
for more then 6 months without having
to do some sort of repair. A 7 year
old vehicle with 65,000 miles on it
shouldn't be costing me an average of
1,000 a year to maintain. American
car companies better wake up or
companies like honda, toyota, and new
arrivals like kia, and hyundai are
going to put them out of business.
3.88 out of 5 stars
Good People Carrying Van
ES 4dr Minivan AWD
We've just traded in our 97 Caravan for a smaller car, since gas prices has gone up the roof ! But it was a blast to drive. Power was not a problem on city or highway, and quite comfortable for all three rows of seats. Wished the headlights were brighter at night, but they've already addressed this issue on later models. I liked the removable seats instead of fold-down ones, it helps with gas mileage if you're not using the 3rd row often, and the 3rd row bench can be slided to the middle, making it a 5-seater van with plenty of cargo space.
The Used 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan is offered in the following submodels: Grand Caravan Minivan. Available styles include LE 4dr Minivan, 3dr Minivan, ES 4dr Minivan AWD, SE 3dr Minivan AWD, SE 3dr Minivan, LE 4dr Minivan AWD, and ES 4dr Minivan.
Pre-owned Dodge Grand Caravan models are available with a 3.3 L-liter gas engine or a 2.4 L-liter gas engine or a 3.8 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 166 hp, depending on engine type.
The Used 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan comes with front wheel drive, and all wheel drive.
Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic, 3-speed automatic.
What's a good price on a Used 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan?
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Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you
that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make
higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand,
can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a
new car every three years or so.