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2015 Dodge Grand Caravan Minivan Review

2015 Dodge Grand Caravan Minivan
Summary

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan American Value Package Minivan

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • The 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan is priced right and chock full of handy features, but its lack of refinement keeps it a notch below the Japanese-brand competition in the minivan segment.

  • Pros

    Versatile seating and cargo bay configurations; affordable base price.

  • Cons

    Ride not as smooth as competitors; limited driver legroom; unrefined powertrain.

  • What's New for 2015

    The value-focused SE Plus and SXT Plus trim levels are added to the 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan. Seventeen-inch wheels replace 16-inchers as standard and power-adjustable pedals no longer are available.

Review

All manner of vehicles, particularly the ever-growing "crossover" class, purport to be family-oriented, but if you have either a lot of family or a lot of cargo to consistently move from place to place, it's still almost impossible to beat a minivan. And in many respects it's hard to beat the originator of the genre, Dodge's all-things-to-all-people Grand Caravan.

Chrysler long had a rather confusing array of minivan models from both its Dodge and Chrysler brands, but buying one is much simpler now that each brand's lineup has been pared to a single model. For Dodge, the 2015 Grand Caravan essentially is the culmination of everything most minivan buyers over the years proved was most important in a family hauler: plenty of engine power combined with reasonable fuel economy and Chrysler's still-brilliant Stow 'n Go instantly disappearing second-row seating.

What you don't get, unfortunately, is the utmost in refinement. For many drivers simply doing the weekly school run and grocery-store duties, the Grand Caravan's shortcomings may not even be noticeable. But longer trips likely will reveal that this Dodge people mover doesn't ride as compliantly as its Japanese competitors, nor are its engine and transmission as smooth or silent. There's a little more road and wind noise, too, although once again, this is conspicuous more at highway speeds than around town. The Grand Caravan's cabin finishes also aren't quite up to the competition's standards in a few places.

These are small flaws, certainly, but they show up nonetheless when comparing the DGC to its well-executed rivals such as the 2015 Honda Odyssey and 2015 Toyota Sienna. Both of these popular choices have fine engines, nicely appointed cabins and excellent road manners. The Sienna can also handle up to a total of eight occupants, where the Grand Caravan's limit is seven. Slightly rarer though no less worth your consideration is the 2015 Nissan Quest, nor should you overlook Kia's fully redesigned 2015 Sedona this year.

As there is a rich pool of strong entries, we recommend thoroughly considering all the choices for a minivan. But given that a well-equipped Caravan is generally less expensive than the competition, that advantage could be the ultimate deciding factor in the Dodge's favor.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan is a seven-passenger minivan offered in six trim levels: American Value Package (AVP), SE, SE Plus, SXT, SXT Plus and R/T.

The bargain priced AVP trim has a reasonably solid standard equipment list: 17-inch steel wheels; heated mirrors; power locks, mirrors and front windows; dual-zone air-conditioning; a second-row reclining/folding/removable bench seat; an overhead console; a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel; a conversation mirror and a four-speaker audio system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The SE adds rear privacy glass, tri-zone climate control (with rear air-conditioning), second-row captain's chairs with the Stow 'n Go fold-into-the-floor feature, a front floor console and a six-speaker audio system.

The SE Plus gets body-color heated side mirrors, special upholstery and trim, an overhead console and power windows for the second and third rows.

The SXT adds alloy wheels, roof rails, power rear windows and a larger floor console. Moving to the SXT also brings a power liftgate and power sliding rear doors as well as access to certain optional equipment and packages, including a rearview camera and a Blu-ray DVD rear-seat entertainment system.

For the SXT Plus, you get the SXT's standard equipment along with the Uconnect hands-free group (which also includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, voice command capability, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, steering-wheel audio controls and satellite radio) and an eight-way power driver seat

Top of the line for the 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan is the R/T. It incorporates all of the standard equipment of the other three trim levels, plus 17-inch alloy wheels with special tires, a body-colored grille, a performance-tuned suspension, remote engine start, automatic headlights, foglights, black interior accents, unique interior lighting, tri-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather first- and second-row seats, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), a rear overhead console, a trip computer, a 115-volt power outlet, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone connectivity and an upgraded nine-speaker audio system with satellite radio and a USB port.

For the midlevel SE and SXT, a single-DVD entertainment bundle is available. It adds the R/T's standard touchscreen and audio system along with a 9-inch second-row display screen and an HDMI input. The SXT Plus and R/T can also be outfitted with a Dual DVD/Blu-ray Entertainment package that boasts 9-inch screens for the second and third rows as well as the touchscreen display.

Available for all trims except the AVP and R/T is the Blacktop package, which features 17-inch aluminum wheels, a black grille, foglamps, leather interior accents, premium cloth seats and silver accent stitching.

The Driver Convenience Group also is optional for the SXT Plus and R/T; it adds Bluetooth audio connectivity, heated front- and second-row seats, automatic temperature control, a heated steering wheel and second- and third-row window shades. The Safety Sphere Group (R/T only) adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. All Grand Caravans with the touchscreen infotainment system can be equipped with an integrated Garmin navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

There's a single engine for all versions of the 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan: a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels.

In Edmunds testing, a Grand Caravan accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8 seconds, an average time for a minivan. Its EPA-estimated fuel economy is a combined 20 mpg (17 city/25 highway). The combined rating for competitors is a bit better, with the Honda Odyssey achieving a 22 mpg combined rating and the front-drive Toyota Sienna earning a 21 mpg combined rating.

Safety

Standard safety features for the 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan include stability control, antilock disc brakes, active front head restraints, a driver knee airbag, front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Optional features in the Safety Sphere Group -- available only for the Grand Caravan R/T -- include a blind-spot monitoring system, rear parking and cross-traffic sensors and a rearview camera.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Grand Caravan came to a stop from 60 mph in 130 feet, a bit longer than average for a minivan. An R/T with its grippier tires and sport suspension did better, racking up a 119-foot stop.

In government crash testing, the Grand Caravan was given an overall score of four out of five stars, with four stars for frontal impacts and five stars for side impacts. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Dodge Grand Caravan was awarded the top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact test as well as the side-impact, roof-strength and head restraint (whiplash protection) tests. In the IIHS' small-overlap front-impact test, the 2015 Grand Caravan was given the lowest possible rating of "Poor," however.

Interior Design and Special Features

You'll find good outward vision from an upright front-seat position, but some drivers, particularly taller ones, are likely to find the seat placement awkward, mostly because the pedals seem too close to the driver. Gauges are simple and usable. Cabin plastics and other materials, including the cloth seat upholstery, are satisfactory, but the Japanese vans' interiors manage to look and feel a little more upscale.

It's hard not to love Dodge's ultra-useful Stow 'n Go second-row seats that disappear into the floor with the flick of a lever. The Stow 'n Go seats are standard for every Grand Caravan except the base AVP model, where they're optional. Transforming from max people-carrying mode to max cargo-carrying mode couldn't be simpler, while the third-row seats fold backward into a deep cargo well, although they demand a few extra strap and lever pulls to make the transition. Luggage space behind the third row is a useful 33 cubic feet, while you can open up a maximum of 143.8 cubic feet, a space similar to most other minivans, by dropping all the rear seats.

It's worth the money to make sure you buy a trim level or option package that includes the Uconnect 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment interface. It's not the big 8.4-inch screen found in other Dodges, but the system is pretty easy to use otherwise.

Driving Impressions

Take a test-drive in the 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan and you'll find the 3.6-liter V6 engine generates satisfying acceleration, while the minivan's handling is stable and confident. It's the Grand Caravan's overall refinement that runs behind the smoother Japanese competition. There is more ruckus from the DGC's V6, and its automatic transmission doesn't always shift as smoothly as we'd like. The van's ride quality can also get a little coarse at times. The rival minivans seem to have more thoroughly integrated all the moving parts, though in everyday use this nuance can be difficult to notice.

Reviews from owners of the 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan American Value Package Minivan


4 of 8 people found this review helpful

Highly disappointed in dodge.

by on
Vehicle: 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan

After being a 2008 SE Grand Caravan owner, I expected so much out of my "upgrade" to the 2015 SXT. I owned my 2008 until it had 192,000 miles on it. We drove it hard, were rough on the inside, and used every feature it had. I have only owned the 2015 for 2 days and I am already very, very disappointed in Dodge. The first thing I noticed was that this SXT has a smaller engine. I had a 3.8 in my 2008, these new ones, no matter the trim level, only have 3.6. I didn't expect to notice what I thought was going to be such a small difference, but man, do I ever! These new vehicles have FuelEcon. This causes all kinds of different things to happen, which are supposed to be more fuel efficient.... "The feature adjusts engine timing and transmission shift points to optimize fuel economy. The transmission will upshift sooner, downshift later and skip select gears during shifts to allow the engine to operate at lower speeds. The torque converter clutch will engage sooner and remain on longer, and the engine idle speed will be lower." I am torn on using this feature. It was turned on when I picked it up, and I have driven over 75 miles in the 2 days I have had it. I live right off of a major highway, and acceleration is important. My 2008 got it, it would zoom up onto the highway, no problem. Eventually, when this 2015 finally accelerates, it does drives nice. It feels smooth and the seats are more comfortable than the '08. But, the acceleration on this '15 in no way compares to what I could do with the '08. I plan to drive with the FuelEcon off and see if this makes a difference. The next thing I noticed was that there was no "Info" button (so I can see who is singing), and no Bluetooth or UConnect. I had UConnect on my SE and an Info button, which I used all of the time to check out artist's names. Two nice features gone on this "upgrade". They also rearranged the dash, it looks a lot sharper, but the steering wheel blocks my speedometer and I can't see how fast I am going. I did find that I can now display my speed digitally, which is nice, so I keep that on so I can watch my speed. My son about flipped when he got in the car, to plug in his laptop, and there is no 110V plug!!! We use the plug for so many things. He charges his laptop, I run my oil diffuser, we used the wall charger plugged into it for one phone while another phone is plugged into the car charger. This feature can be added, by purchasing an adapter, but we will lose a car charger port in the process. The 2015 SXT has no compass, garage door opener, overhead storage or fog lights, all of which my 2008 SE had. The new van has both 3rd row vented windows on one switch, so you can't choose to open one or the other, it is both or nothing. Another thing that I will miss, in loosing these overhead bins, is the lighting. The 2008 had a nice lighting system. Each seat had their own reading light, and there was also a nice glowing light I could turn on and still see my kiddos but not impair my outside visibility at night. I have noticed a slight decrease in the cabin noise from my '08, but it is still considerably noisy. The 2008 had vibration noise with the overhead bins, by not having them, I have lost some of that noise. I was thoroughly disappointed that there is not USB in this vehicle. There was one available at the next trim level, but for a 2015 vehicle that is designed to carry many passengers, this was a shocker. Overall, if this one preforms as well, and for as long as my last one, I will ultimately be happy with it, but I just can't believe that Dodge took away so many features that were available 8 years ago on the lower, SE model. One feature that I do absolutely love is the new, taller console. Before, I had to reach down to the floor to get to the car charger. This new, taller center console, makes that so much more convenient.



2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Great value minivan

by on
Vehicle: 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan

Had this vehicle for 19 months and have already put 40,000 miles on it. Zero problems with it. We traded in a 2011 toyota sienna because of numerous electronic issues (battery drain, radio speakers cutting out when you turned left, power doors not working), so the caravan has been a nice change. Only complaint is everything seems a little tight in the interior. Particularly, leg room is not very good for a minivan.



1 of 9 people found this review helpful

Dumbell

by on
Vehicle: 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan

Bought new and sight unseen-no driver aids-no climate control-a very dangerous vehicle to drive



1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Tire pressure issue/sensor constantly on 2015

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Vehicle: 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan

I have bought my 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan in November 2014, first winter no problem, but 2nd winter in 2015 the problem began constantly light comes on that tire pressure is low, constantly going to garage to have tires filled up, light goes off for a couple of day and than it's comes on again. Took it finally April 2016 to Dealer to have it looked at, they said it was fine however, I left the dealer and the light was still on so they didn't do anything to fix it either, not even filled the air in tires so light would go off - never will buy a dodge again!!



3 of 16 people found this review helpful

Buy an old mini van

by on
Vehicle: 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan

So first new car.. junk. Took me a bit to find all the faults. But this is unacceptable from a new car. Went back to the old van parked the new one. So hear is wha I found is all wrong. Drive by wire is safty problem will not accelerate when needed. Can not make any little speed adjustments when driving works like an on off switch. the transmission wont stop shifting up shift and down shift. Clanks and clunks alot. Has 283hp good luck using it my old 102hp van will beat of the line and at top end. The new van is limmed to 113mph. No covers over the seat hooks on the floor so you cant use it to go camping with out being jabed with one. Sliding doors are slow. Far back seat cover over the junk is cheap plastic with no hing so im sure it will break in a couple of years. The far back seat does not move back or forward. So if your tall you wont fit in the back. The heat is ok not great. The duct gates for if the air is blowing on the floor or window leak badly so there is all ways air blowing in the wrong way. The stereo renders everything in two speaker stereo though 6 speakers. Any classic songs rendered in 7.1 sound horrible. There is no base from the back most of the base is from the front speakers. Rear visibility is poor. Don't lean on the side of the van or it will dent. On cold mornings first startup is accompanied by howling power stearing pump. Even when warm it idles at 1000 rmp vs 500 on the old van. When its running you will know it, noisy idle and acceleration poor exhaust design. Fuel mileage is poor for the vans size. O and the tracking controll doesn't do anything other then shuts down the rpms so you cant get up that last bit of driveway. The side windows cant be opened at highway speed with out risking poping a ear drum. The far back windows you cant open just one. Over all find an older minivan with out the drive by wire and with out the crapomatic 6 speed. Save your money.



3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Fun family hauler at a great price!

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Vehicle: 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan

We bought this van to replace our SUV. Bought in May 2015 and have put 12,000 miles on it since then. The power it has is awesome for a minivan, it tows beautifully as well. I average 24-25mpg combine driving (19.5 on E85). I have not had a single problem with this van. We bought an AVP because I didn't want all the extra frills. Just more that will go wrong over time. This is the first Dodge and also first minivan I have owned. It has changed my opinions of both. Our dealer is great, 4 free oil changes, and car washes for life! The price was very good at just over 20k, so it was extremely affordable too. The seats are incredibly comfortable, and I am grateful for a middle row bench vs the stow-n-go buckets, its more useful for our needs. After all, we still get the underfloor storage. The transmission could be smoother, but otherwise I cannot complain about anything. Buy one, while you can still get an affordable minivan! Update: I have had this vehicle almost a year. I was in a wreck with it 5 months into ownership. It took 3 weeks to complete the repairs. I was not injured despite the severity of the crash. On top of that, I have driven this vehicle 25000 miles without one thing wrong with it. I just replaced the cheap factory tires. I will say, it is nice to have the factory Yokohama tires off. Other than that, it has been a nearly peefect ownership experience.



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Talk About The 2015 Grand Caravan

2015 Dodge Grand Caravan Discussions See all Started By

Edmunds.com
Edmunds.com
10-05-2015
Sure you could take the kids to school in another Dodge, a Durango or Grand Caravan perhaps. You could also take them in a 2015 Dodge Viper and rule the parking lot....


stever
stever
09-12-2013
"Chrysler, the automaker that invented the minivan, is about to kill off the second of its three minivan brands. Automotive News reports that the Grand Caravan has been dropped from Dodge's model...



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