Used 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan Review

Edmunds expert review

The 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan offers a lot of features and versatility in an inexpensive package. Overall, the Grand Caravan's refinement is lacking compared to rivals from Japanese manufacturers.




What's new for 2016

Other than some minor shuffling of equipment, the Dodge Grand Caravan carries forward unchanged for 2016.

Vehicle overview

Although three-row crossover SUVs have grown in popularity over the last decade, they still can't beat a minivan for third-row comfort and an abundance of cargo room, And for the price, the 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan is hard to beat for the budget-minded buyer.

The Grand Caravan is all about value. While the base AVP and SE don't come with a whole lot of standard features, they're also the most affordable way to get into a new minivan. Comparably equipped, the "DGC" is still typically thousands less than other minivans, and nearly every model comes with second-row Stow 'n Go seats that fold right into the floor just by pulling a lever. In addition, niceties such as a rear DVD system and a smattering of safety features are available on higher trims to keep occupants safe and entertained.

Some versions of the 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan feature unusually sporty styling cues for a minivan.

This Dodge minivan isn't all sunshine and roses, however. Its orientation toward value shows in the cabin, where materials quality is notably lower than those found in competing minivans. It's also apparent in the way the Grand Caravan drives. The DGC's ride can get a little rough at times, and its engine and transmission aren't as refined or responsive as those found in other top minivans.

Heading that list of top choices are the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. The all-stars of the minivan world, they have more compliant ride qualities, higher-quality cabins and more high-end features available. Also worth considering is the 2016 Kia Sedona, which competes well against the Grand Caravan in terms of value. And if a more luxurious experience is what you're after, the Grand Caravan's mechanical sibling, the 2016 Chrysler Town & Country, may suit your needs better. But overall the Dodge Grand Caravan is extremely competitive on price, and that may be enough to give it the edge in your shopping decision.




Trim levels & features

The 2016 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, including 17-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, dual-zone air-conditioning, a second-row reclining/folding/removable bench seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a conversation mirror, and power locks, mirrors and front windows. Entertainment comes in the form of a four-speaker audio system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. Second row Stow 'n Go seats are available as a separate option.

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.

AVP and SE models can be ordered with the Uconnect Hands-free Group package, which adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, steering-wheel-mounted radio controls, satellite radio, a USB port and Bluetooth audio, and phone connectivity. The SE equipped with the Power Window Group package also gets power windows for the second and third rows.

The SE Plus gets 17-inch alloy wheels, special upholstery and trim, an overhead console, and the Power Window and Uconnect packages.

The 2016 Grand Caravan SXT packs in a lot of standard features for the money.

The SXT takes the SE model and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, power sliding rear doors, a power liftgate, a larger floor console and the Power Window package. The SXT Plus adds chrome exterior trim, foglights, automatic headlights, leatherette upholstery with suede inserts, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar) and the Uconnect package.

The range-topping Grand Caravan is the R/T. It takes the standard features from the SXT Plus (minus the chrome) and adds a body-colored grille, a performance-tuned suspension, remote engine start, unique interior lighting, black interior accents, tri-zone automatic climate control, full leather seating, a rear overhead console, a 115-volt power outlet, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera and an upgraded nine-speaker audio system.

Different trims also get access to special options packages. The SE and SXT models can be ordered with a DVD entertainment system, which bundles the R/T's touchscreen and audio system with a 9-inch second-row display screen, an HDMI input, a back-up camera, two USB charging ports and a 115-volt power outlet. The Blacktop appearance package, available on SE Plus and SXT trims, adds silver interior accents and a black grille, wheels and leather interior accents. Foglights are included in the SXT version.

The Driver Convenience Group for the SXT Plus and R/T adds heated front-row seats, a heated steering wheel and second- and third-row sunshades. The DVD/Blu-ray Entertainment System on these trims comes with the equipment from the DVD entertainment system and adds a Blu-ray/DVD player and an additional screen for the third row.

The R/T-only Safety Sphere group adds automatic wipers, rear parking sensors, a blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic detection.



Performance & mpg

There's a single engine for all versions of the 2016 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), which is also average for the segment.

Safety

Standard safety features for the 2016 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 R/T-specific Safety Sphere Group include a blind-spot monitoring system and rear parking and cross-traffic sensors.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Grand Caravan came to a stop from 60 mph in 123 feet, an average stopping distance for a minivan. An R/T with its 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 frontal-impact test, the Grand Caravan was given the lowest possible rating of "Poor," however.

Driving

The 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan comes up a bit short in overall driving refinement, though it's fair to say that not everybody is going to notice the difference in everyday life.

Family outings are where the 2016 Grand Caravan makes its best impression.

The V6 provides decent acceleration, although it does get pretty loud at full tilt and its automatic transmission doesn't always shift as smoothly as we'd like. The ride is generally comfortable, but other vans absorb road bumps better and transmit fewer impacts to the passengers. It's a similar story going around turns or maneuvering through traffic. Although agile handling isn't a requisite in this class, the Grand Caravan doesn't inspire as much driver confidence as the Odyssey.

Interior

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.

With 33 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, the 2016 Grand Caravan can swallow plenty of stuff, even with all three seating rows in use.

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 and includes the rearview camera.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.