Generally, I trust Edmunds for good reviews. I do, however, feel that Edmunds bias towards the Dodge Grand Caravan. We looked at the Odyssey, Sienna, and Kia Sedona. The odyssey at the price we purchased the fully loaded model R/T DGC blows the odyssey out of the water. The Sienna is a goofy, heavy, unattractive minivan with expensive models. The Sedona's second-row? captains chairs can't be removed, so it is sort of comical that they bash and go after the DGC for its outdated or design, when it has amazing cargo space, and very handy stown'go features. I have a hard time trusting Edmunds anymore.
I bought this brand new van to feel safe while transporting our family of 6 around. At 3,000 miles all of a sudden the windshiled wipers came on and would not turn off, all of the warning lights came on, a "No Bus" code appeared and I lost power to all the sliding doors. I have had it in for service twice (both times they kept it for a week). They are taking electrical components all apart (harness wires, etc) which makes me nervous because things never go back together the same way. The problem is still happening at random times and it always seems to be after business hours. The most recent time was while driving in a busy downtown area and I had no operating turn signals and did not feel safe driving this vehicle. The dealership and the headquarters want me to basically drive the vehicle (with no prediction of how long this will take) until the problem happens so that they can get an "active code" reading to help fix the problem. So here I am with a brand new unreliable vehicle that I spent thousands and thousands of dollars on that is now requiring multiple service appointments. The whole reason I went for a new vehicle was to have a reliable vehicle that I did not have to take in for service all the time.
We have owned two Caravans before this one so we are familiar with the line. I had one of the originals as a company car in 1986. We bought a base model Caravan in 1999 when starting our family. It was then a great value in a new vehicle and we drove it up until 3-years ago when the cost of fixing it was greater than the value of the vehicle. That was the 4-cylinder model with a 3-spd tranny and we put about 175,000 miles on it before it's useful life ended (14-years). During that time we replaced one transmission, a couple timing belts and otherwise just normal upkeep. We bought a used one 3-years ago that was a 2005 with 90,000 miles on it because we needed a vehicle in a hurry. I only changed oil, tires and brakes on that one but the engine light started coming on (rich fuel mixture) and the transmission started doing it's goofiness at about 120,000 miles. So... with the big rebates on the 2016 I took it in and exchanged it for the base model 2016. I had bought it for $5500 and got $1200 on the trade so $1433/year to drive wasn't bad.
Base models sure have changed in 17-years. I feel like the base model vehicle has everything I wanted and at $16,971 after rebates, I feel it has very good value over the estimated 15-year lifespan of the vehicle. The fuel economy is actually worse than our 4-cylinder but not enough to sour me on the engine. The storage and the stow-n-go seats really make for maximum usable space and capacity. Obviously our reliability experience is minimal since we have only owned it a month. I do know that the quality differences between manufacturers have greatly narrowed. Where the Japanese machines used to have commanding quality advantages the differences are much less now. I also like to buy models that are mature and this vehicle certainly qualifies in that this is the 8th year without meaningful platform changes on the model. If you look at the reported defects/service visits on one of the online resources it shows that Dodge has improved dramatically from the earlier model years (2008, 2009) in terms of initial quality. The maintenance requirements are also drastically lower compared to older vehicles. You change the oil, tires and brakes and there is no more timing belt. The transmission is sealed and pushes out the first service to 120,000 miles, plugs @ 100,000. I think I'll preempt those numbers slightly but overall that decreases the cost of driving.
Everyone who rides in it comments on how nice it is but that is the case with most new vehicles. It is a minivan, not a Porsche so I set my expectations accordingly. It drives well for extended trips, low road noise and I think the front seats are the best I've ever seen in a vehicle. They are exceptionally comfortable. The transmission is a 6-spd which is a dramatic difference from the older vehicles. I don't know how it rates vs. the Japanese or S. Korean rivals because I didn't drive them but it strikes me as a perfectly acceptable driving experience for a minivan. I own Hyundai and a Chevy as other vehicles so I don't have a brand loyalty other than I buy mainly for value. The Dodge was $9,000 less than the nearest competitor that I could buy. Whatever flaws it may or may not have are easily overcome by that price delta. Resale value.... it doesn't hold up as good as the Honda or Toyota. But I'd focus on the cost to drive, not absolute resale value. Look at the delta in price rather and consider sales tax, insurance and financing cost in the equation. If you plan to turn a vehicle over every 3-years then I'd do the math using data from current model vehicles that are on the market and compare buying one vs. the other. If you buy and hold a vehicle I don't see how resale value matters.
I did a lot of shopping for this van and am well pleased. I got a great deal on the price [better than the websites suggested would be an excellent deal] and the dealership was one of the best I have ever dealt with. I realize you get what you pay for, and so many of the "convenience" items are missing from my van [power seats, power side doors and liftgate, dvd, etc.] but I decided I did not need them and they would only be something more to eventually break if I kept the van for a lengthy time. I am totally impressed with the bluetooth and satellite radio function, and the seats are tremendously comfortable. My biggest reason for purchasing Dodge was the price break and the stow and go seating. I have the room of a regular size pickup truck bed behind the front seats with all the seats folded into the floor and the seats are easily used or stowed in minutes. I can now take the bicycles on long trips with them being safely stored inside the van. The 283hp is plenty and it will accelerate to highway speedo very easily. Obviously a minivan will always look like a minivan, but the Dodge does have a certain rugged look about it with the black grill and crossbars.
The most car for your $!!!, I had both Sienna and Odyssey, and the front seats are for very small people, another question: who needs a build in vacuum cleaner when most garages have a shop-vac just in front of the car. If one have to own something else then Chrysler product I still recommend Toyota Sienna without the leather interior. But if looking for fastest (0-60 in 7.2 seconds) and still the best in the minivan class Dodge AVP/SE Plus with option 29Q is the best value for your $ !!! I wonder if the Gentlemen writing bad story about Dodge front seats ever sit in one...???