2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Review

Pros & Cons

  • Versatile rear seating configurations
  • welcoming cabin
  • capable handling.
  • Ride not as smooth as rivals', limited driver legroom
  • only seven seats
  • engine lacks refinement.
List Price Range
$3,500 - $13,990

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Although the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan offers a low starting price and clever passenger- and cargo-carrying functionality, it still trails the competition in terms of overall refinement.

Vehicle overview

At its debut back in 1984, the Dodge Caravan introduced American families to a new, extremely space-efficient vehicle: the minivan. The larger, "Grand" version debuted a few years later. It was a huge hit that remained a strong seller through the years, despite rivals that sprouted like so many dandelions on a suburban lawn. The 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan isn't the dominator it was so many years ago, but it's also much improved compared to past DGC iterations.

Dodge refreshed the Grand Caravan last year to bring about increases in engine performance, fuel economy, driving dynamics and cabin quality. Specifically, the V6 provides class-leading power along with decent fuel economy, the handling is fairly agile for such a big vehicle and the cabin boasts not only solid materials quality but also the clever Stow 'n Go feature that allows both the second- and third-row seats to fold flat into the floor.

Nevertheless, the Grand Caravan still finds itself in an uphill battle against a couple of very tough competitors. Lined up tire-to-tire against the Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna, the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan (and its Chrysler Town & Country twin) comes up a bit short in terms of engine refinement, ride quality and passenger comfort, even though the Dodge has the advantage in all-out cargo-carrying ease thanks to those Stow n' Go second-row seats. As such, unless you plan to frequently switch your minivan from people mover to cargo van, we suggest cross-shopping the competition.

2012 Dodge Grand Caravan models

The 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is a minivan that can seat up to seven passengers. It is offered in five trim levels: American Value Package (AVP), SE, SXT, Crew and R/T.

The AVP comes with 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, power front windows, dual-zone air-conditioning, second-row Stow 'n Go bucket seats, a conversation mirror and a four-speaker audio system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and steering-wheel-mounted controls.

The SE adds body-color door handles/side molding, tinted rear windows, triple-zone climate control (with rear air-conditioning), a front floor console, floor mats and a six-speaker audio system. The optional SE Plus group includes alloy wheels, body-color mirrors and front/rear power windows. The available UConnect group includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel/shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The SXT is essentially an SE with the SE Plus group. But the SXT offers more in the way of options, such as a power liftgate, power sliding doors, power-adjustable pedals, remote start and a rear DVD entertainment system.

Stepping up to the Crew trim level gets you foglights, a roof rack, chrome body-side accents, power sliding doors, tri-zone automatic climate control, a larger center console, an overhead console, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power driver seat, power-adjustable pedals, a trip computer, a 115-volt power outlet, a touchscreen display and an upgraded audio system with satellite radio and digital music storage. Optional is a Media Center package that includes the upgraded audio along with a larger display screen, a back-up camera and a navigation system with real-time traffic and weather.

The sporty R/T lies at the top of the DGC lineup with 17-inch alloy wheels, a body-color grille, performance-tuned suspension and brakes, leather first- and second-row seats, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, a back-up camera and a premium Infinity sound system.

Various other option highlights (some depending on trim level) include automatic headlights, automatic wipers, running boards, a trailer tow package, rear parking and cross-traffic sensors, a blind-spot warning system, second- and third-row sunshades, heated second-row seats and a heated steering wheel.

2012 Highlights

For 2012, the Dodge Grand Caravan lineup receives revised trim levels, including a new, lower-cost base model dubbed the American Value Package.

Performance & mpg

All 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan models are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.

In Edmunds testing, the 2012 Grand Caravan accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8 seconds -- average for a minivan. Fuel mileage estimates stand at 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.

Safety

Standard safety features for the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan include active front head restraints, driver knee airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front-seat side airbags, antilock disc brakes, stability control and traction control. Optional features include a blind-spot monitoring system, rear parking and cross-traffic sensors, and a rearview camera.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Grand Caravan Crew came to a stop from 60 mph in 130 feet -- an average distance for a minivan. The R/T with its better brakes stops in a strong 119 feet. In government crash testing, the Grand Caravan was given an overall score of four out of five stars, with four stars for overall frontal-impact and five stars for overall side-impact testing. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Dodge Grand Caravan was awarded the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side crash tests.

Driving

In terms of acceleration and handling, the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is a contender. But segment leaders like the Odyssey and Sienna are still steps ahead as they boast greater refinement in terms of powertrain performance and overall ride quality, both of which are smoother than the Grand Caravan's. For example, the Dodge's responsive six-speed automatic transmission does an admirable job of keeping power on tap, but sometimes its gearchanges can be jarring. The steering is slightly heavier and the suspension is a bit less compliant compared to its competition.

Interior

The Grand Caravan's interior features quality materials and solid build quality that make it equal to -- if not better than -- rivals such as the Sienna. There is a total seating capacity of seven, which is in contrast to the eight possible in the Odyssey and Sienna. In terms of comfort, the front seats are supportive, but even drivers of average height have noted that the driver seat doesn't slide far enough rearward. The bottom cushions of the second-row seats are somewhat low to the floor, but they are tilted back slightly to make the seating position comfortable for passengers with long legs. The third row is tilted even farther back, which may make it a bit strange for children and smaller adults. Taller adults may find limited headroom back there.

Unlike other minivans that require the removal of the middle row of seats to achieve maximum cargo capacity, the Grand Caravan benefits from its Stow 'n Go second-row seats that fold flat into the floor. Operating these seats is fairly simple -- only a quick tug of a strap and a few gentle yanks are required to make them disappear into the floor. The third-row seats fold into a deep cargo well, but require several more steps to transform. Luggage space behind the rear seats is a generous 33 cubic feet. Stowing all seats opens up 143.8 cubes, comparable to other minivans.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Liked it so much I traded for another.
Dennis Voorhees,11/22/2015
SXT 4dr Minivan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
I have had 3 minivans since 1989 A Ford Areostar, a Dodge Caravan, Chevy Venture. The Venture was used and a disaster. Dumped a lot of money into it and just got tired of doing so, so I bit the bullet and bought a 2012 Program GC SXT in December 2012. The 2012 van was red and had 28000 miles on it. I drove it to 91,500 miles in just a month under 3 years. Not one lick of problems. A couple recalls though, but nothing serious. Replaced the front brakes at 90k miles, and 1 set of tires at 55k. Replaced the air filter once and did oil changes and tire rotations every 5k miles. I did replace the battery, twice though, as I had an aftermarket back up camera installed that didn't shut off the monitor, which ran down the battery a couple times. It was awhile before I caught the problem. It was quite comfortable on long trips, I drove many 12+ hour days with no issues. I was so happy with this van that I decided to trade it for another nearly identical Red 2015 SXT. The main reason was the 12 was nearing 100k miles, I had another year of traveling planned, and the 6 year 100k warranty was about to expire. I could trade to a 3 year newer with lots lower miles for nearly the same payment. I hope this one will be as trouble free, as the 12. I'm a retired, but active guy, that appreciates the utility of the MiniVan. I highly recommend them. UPDATE on the 2015. I purchased it was 22000 miles on the Odometer, It now has 62000 trouble free miles. The tires were replaced at 48k. That's it. Still performs like the 2012, and I maintain it like I did the 2012. I still travel quite a bit and this vehicle suits my needs. The other day I had lunch with 3 other old guys from work I had not seen in several years. All 4 of us were driving 5th generation Dodge Caravans. They are the new Lincoln I recon.
Love it
nateo2,04/03/2014
I dont know why people complain about this van ours has 54,000 miles and never had a single problem besides the brakes squealing put better quality rotors on it and have not squealed since has plenty of power and we think its very comfortable all around great van
A lot for the money
homerkc,11/25/2012
We have 3,500 mi. on our van and it has exceeded many expectations. We took a 2000 mi trip shortly after buying (only 500 break-in miles) and saw 28mpg on the interstate. We can get 20mpg around town (suburban driving) if we watch what we're doing. Very comfortable seats and ride, plenty of power, and the flexibility of the stow n go always amazes. For a very reasonable mid-20s price, it's a lot of car that can do a lot of things (like haul 2 new exterior doors from Home Depot) without any fuss. Once you have had that capability at your disposal, it would be hard to give it up.
Eating my words.....Sell or Don't buy!
trafficfdr2,11/01/2014
SXT 4dr Minivan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
This is an update to a review I wrote when I bought this van used. Nothing but problems. Great concept but loses all around. The problem with the newer Pentaster 6 cylinder engine has has the heads rebuilt, but they won't acknowledge a recall. They will fix it after it breaks. Recall on rear window switch, dlr disconnected it Chylr has no solution for it. No rear windows. Really! On a minivan. Brakes are garbage and so are the OEM tires, mine separated. Side rear sliders rub on fenders, no fix, gas cap broken=bad gas mileage. And the piece de resistance the drivers window leaks so when it is rolled down the smell that punches you in the face is unbearable. No solution there either. Update:2016 Sold it, lost a lot of money. Nothing but problems. #buyahondaodyssey, end of sentence.

Features & Specs

MPG
17 city / 25 hwy
Seats 7
6-speed shiftable automatic
Flex-fuel (ffv)
283 hp @ 6400 rpm
MPG
17 city / 25 hwy
Seats 7
6-speed shiftable automatic
Flex-fuel (ffv)
283 hp @ 6400 rpm
MPG
17 city / 25 hwy
Seats 7
6-speed shiftable automatic
Flex-fuel (ffv)
283 hp @ 6400 rpm
MPG
17 city / 25 hwy
Seats 7
6-speed shiftable automatic
Flex-fuel (ffv)
283 hp @ 6400 rpm
See all Used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover16.4%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan

Used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Overview

The Used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is offered in the following submodels: Grand Caravan Minivan. Available styles include American Value Package 4dr Minivan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), SXT 4dr Minivan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Crew 4dr Minivan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), and R/T 4dr Minivan (3.6L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan American Value Package is priced between $6,999 and$13,990 with odometer readings between 19854 and117520 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT is priced between $3,500 and$7,491 with odometer readings between 128794 and188201 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Crew is priced between $7,915 and$7,915 with odometer readings between 120340 and120340 miles.

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Which used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravans are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan for sale near. There are currently 14 used and CPO 2012 Grand Caravans listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $3,500 and mileage as low as 19854 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan.

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Find a used Dodge Grand Caravan for sale - 12 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $18,758.

Find a used Dodge for sale - 6 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $12,943.

Find a used certified pre-owned Dodge Grand Caravan for sale - 12 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $25,643.

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Should I lease or buy a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan?

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.

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Check out Dodge Grand Caravan lease specials