2018 Dodge Grand Caravan
Your eyes do not deceive you: Dodge still makes the Grand Caravan. Although its somewhat dated platform makes for middling driving manners, the Grand Caravan offers a spacious and innovative cabin that makes it an ideal choice for large families.
The Grand Caravan continues on essentially unchanged for the most recent model year.
The last visual update brought a crosshair grille and what Dodge calls ring of fire LED rear lights. Far larger and more substantive changes took place in the interior, however, which ditched the bargain-basement plastics and cluttered design of the previous model for a high quality and genuinely appealing look. The dashboard sports a much simpler and more elegant layout, while strategically placed soft-touch materials create an upscale feel.
What hasn't changed is the Grand Caravan's interior flexibility, which is largely due to Dodge's clever Stow 'n Go feature. Standard on the second row seats and available as an option for the third row, Stow 'n Go allows the seats to be easily folded into the floor, creating a flat loading space for cargo. Also standard are third-row tailgate seats, which flip backwards to create a rear-facing bench.
Seven passenger seating comes standard, while the second-row captain's chairs can be swapped out for a bench seat to create room for eight.
Cargo space is rated at 33 cubic inches behind the third row seats; with the second and third rows folded, a substantial 143.8 cubic feet of cargo room becomes available. It's more spacious than the newer Chrysler Pacifica.
The Grand Caravan comes standard with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which makes a healthy 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The engine sends power to the front wheels via six-speed automatic transmission and returns EPA-estimated fuel economy of 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.
The powerful six-cylinder helps the Grand Caravan tow up to 3,600 pounds when properly equipped.
Trim Level Breakdown
The Grand Caravan is available in three trim levels: SE, SE Plus, and SXT.
SE models come standard with body-colored door handles, power-sliding rear doors, daytime running lights, halogen headlights, black door mirrors, 17-inch steel wheels with plastic hubcaps, three-zone manual temperature control, grocery bag hooks, dome lights, a urethane shift knob, cruise control, a multi-function steering wheel, power windows, cloth upholstery, Stow 'n Go seating, a 6.5-inch touch screen backed by a 28GB hard drive, and a six-speaker sound system.
The SE Plus model brings a gloss black grille, body-colored mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a floor-mounted console with four cup holders, second row bucket seats, and in-floor storage bins.
The SXT gets chrome-look trim, power-sliding rear doors, fog lights, automatic headlights, a power-operated liftgate, a roof rack, 17-inch wheels wrapped by all-season tires, a remote engine starter, Dodge's super console, an eight-way adjustable driver's seat, and an alarm.
Buyers can choose from several option packages that bundle popular options like automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel, parking sensors, a rear-seat entertainment system, a universal garage door opener, and window shades.
Standard safety features on the Grand Caravan include dual front and side airbags, 1st, 2nd and 3rd row head airbags, traction and stability control systems and electronic brake-force distribution.
Minivan sales have been falling in recent years, forcing automakers to either put their best designs forward or cut out of the segment altogether. As a result, the Grand Caravan squares off against a small number of very strong competitors including the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna and the more modern Chrysler Pacifica that should have replaced it years ago.