Skip to main content
Loading...

Featured Post

Amazon's Black Friday Sale Begins: See What's On Offer

Amazon's Black Friday Sale is finally here. Here are some of the best deals on now.
We've had our fingers poised over our keyboards long enough in anticipation of Amazon's Black Friday Sale, which went live at midnight and will last until 25 November.

Dodge Grand Caravan


The Dodge Grand Caravan is the longest-running minivan currently offered in the U.S.–with more than three decades of models to its name. While neither short-wheelbase Caravan models nor all-wheel-drive versions are any longer part of the mix, and Chrysler's narrowed the focus of its vans, they continue as an important family vehicle both for the brand and the market. Today the Grand Caravan...

The Dodge Grand Caravan is the longest-running minivan currently offered in the U.S.–with more than three decades of models to its name. While neither short-wheelbase Caravan models nor all-wheel-drive versions are any longer part of the mix, and Chrysler's narrowed the focus of its vans, they continue as an important family vehicle both for the brand and the market.

Today the Grand Caravan doesn't have a lot of rivals; the Toyota Sienna, Nissan Quest, and Honda Odyssey are the closest, while the Ford Flex comes close to offering that kind of flexibility, albeit with hinged rear doors. Then there's the Mazda5, which is a sporty-driving minivan, and essentially the size that U.S. minivans used to be.

Read our full review of the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan for more information, including pricing with options

The current Grand Caravan is the direct descendant of the original minivan, a new kind of vehicle thought up in the early 1980s and at first, shopped around at Ford Motor Company. The Dodge Caravan was launched by Chrysler in the 1984 model year, after then-CEO Lee Iacocca had brought the idea and execs responsible for it from Ford to an ailing Chrysler. In retrospect, Ford's pass on it was one of the greater misjudgments in the auto industry.

First conceived for Ford as early as the 1970s, the original Voyager and Caravan were moved across town to Chrysler and unveiled as 1984 models. Those two short-wheelbase vans would be considered compact cars today, based as they were on front-wheel-drive K-Car underpinnings, but a car-sized vehicle with the practicality and volume of a traditional van proved an instant hit with consumers--especially families. Early models were powered by four-cylinder engines, soon expanded to turbo fours and V-6 engines as well. They came mostly with three- and four-speed automatic transmissions, though some Caravans were built with four- and five-speed manual gearboxes.

Despite what now seems incredibly primitive equipment--no airbags, no anti-lock brake systems--the first minivans offered three rows of seating for up to seven occupants, and a single sliding door on the passenger side that made access easier for parents in parking lots with kids. A long-wheelbase Grand Caravan variant joined the range in 1987, and a small number of cargo-panel bodies were sold as commercial vans as well. A left-hand sliding door was offered first as an option, and then became standard some years later, as well.

The second-generation Dodge Caravan, sold from 1991 through 1995, added many safety features, though it still ran on updated K-Car running gear from a decade earlier. All-wheel drive appeared as an option for snow-belt buyers, anti-lock brakes were added, and safety features came to include dual front airbags and integrated child safety seats. Too few mourned the end of artificial woodgrain, an option on more luxurious versions of the minivan, which was finally killed off by Chrysler's younger, hipper designers--and its customers.

With the all-new 1996-2000 minivans, Chrysler hit its engineering and design stride in the segment. The third-generation minivans had a totally new architecture underpinning them, and a handsome, rounded shape to complement numerous innovations under the skin-with hidden tracks for the side doors' sliding action. In this era, Chrysler added standard anti-lock brakes, and a driver-side sliding door became available.

A range of V-6 engines and automatic transmissions dominated most order sheets, though Chrysler still offered a four-cylinder engine for the most frugal buyers. The middle and rear rows of seats gained rollers for easier removal. These minivans had better crash-test performance than previous versions, but reliability became a concern for the early model years, as the automatic transmissions were cited for frequent failure by various consumer groups.

In the 2001 model year, a reskin of the previous generation minivan added more distinct grilles for the Chrysler and Dodge versions. The Plymouth version left the lineup as the brand was shuttered. The Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan gained a crosshair grille that would find its way across the brand lineup. Wider and longer, the new minivans added features like power operation for the sliding side doors. A cargo version reappeared in 2003, and for 2005, the company revamped the vans with a new feature: Stow 'N Go seating, which allowed drivers to hide the second and third-row seats under the floor, or to use the allotted space for storage. The feature was planned in as Chrysler spun a new crossover, the Pacifica, from the same architecture. The seating flexibility remains among the best in the class, five years later. Side airbags also were added as an option.

In 2008, Chrysler updated the minivans with more upright styling, which seemed to be more appropriate for the Dodge Grand Caravan. A flex-fuel version that could run on E85 fuel was added, and a new Swivel 'N Go option added a picnic table and rotating seats to the popular minivan--though that option proved unpopular and was later dropped. The short-wheelbase Caravan disappeared with the new generation--replaced by the crossover-like Dodge Journey instead--and the new vans were saddled with a plasticky, inexpensive-looking interior as Chrysler struggled to avoid bankruptcy. Stability control became standard, along with curtain airbags; options included satellite radio and TV, provided by Sirius. Three V-6 engines made up the engine lineup, and a new six-speed automatic joined the powertrain roster.

For the 2011 model year, the Dodge Grand Caravan continued to resonate with families on the go, more than 25 years after the minivan first rolled out of showrooms. Chrysler's new owner Fiat gave it a new interior with much nicer finishes than that of the 2008-2010 models, plus a new 283-horsepower V-6 coupled to a six-speed automatic--which became the only powertrain. Safety features and flexible seating continued to lead the class of minivans, and it was awarded almost perfect crash-test scores. Mild handling and sheetmetal updates were less dramatic. Fuel economy approached best in class, at 17/25 mpg.

Through the 2012 model year, Chrysler built a version of the Dodge minivan for VW, which sold it as the Routan. It's since been discontinued.

For 2013, the Grand Caravan offers an optional entertainment system that offers Blu-Ray compatibility--an industry-exclusive, Chrysler says--with two separate screens that let rear-seat passengers watch two different video programs. The 2012 models, however, were carried over largely unchanged from the revised 2011 version, and the same held true for the 2013 model year.

In the 2015 model year Chrysler is expected to replace its minivans with a new vehicle, but the Dodge Grand Caravan may not make it to the new platform. It's possible the name could be applied to a new crossover vehicle, or dropped entirely, as Chrysler tries to split the images of its brands more finely.

Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

LG G5 Review In-Depth

Can LG take on the Galaxy S7 with a metal design, dual-cameras and an accessory slot? Here's our first LG G5 review, focusing on LG G5 design and build, LG G5 specs, LG G5 cameras and LG G5 software and apps.
Alongside the Galaxy S7, the LG G5 is one of the biggest phones (not literally) to launch in 2016 – and we're not just talking in the Android world. It's one of the heavyweights and LG will be looking to set the market alight with the G5's alternative and innovative modular design.

Oppo RX17 Pro Review: Hands-on

We had time with Oppo’s new RX17 Pro. It may be blue and purple but how different is it to the similar OnePlus 6T and is it worth your time?
Should I Buy The Oppo RX17 Pro?
Oppo has made a solid mid-range phone in the RX17 Pro. Build quality is premium, fast charging is industry-best fast and the display is of high quality.But the price is high at 599€ considering the OnePlus 6T with a better processor starts at £499/€529. And while functioning as it’s supposed to, ColorOS is still unrefined for the western market with far too many changes to Android to recommend over competitors.

BlackBerry KEYone Review

BlackBerry soliders on with a curious Android device that gets nearly everything right. It’s not for everyone though, in fact, it’s not really for anyone. But if you want a physical keyboard you will absolutely love it.
Should I Buy The BlackBerry KEYone?
But then, the KEYone is the best BlackBerry phone for years. It has (finally) successfully melded classic BlackBerry design with the necessary mix of Android and nostalgia. Importantly, the latter is only faint this time – this is a device for 2017, not 2007.If you love your iPhone or Samsung, you’ll hate the KEYone and won’t even consider buying it. But if you’ve made it to the end of this review, chances are you’re weighing up a buy. If you think you’ll love the BlackBerry KEYone, then I’m pretty certain you won’t be disappointed. You’re part of a minority, but finally BlackBerry has a phone for you that doesn’t force you to compromise.

Google Pixel Review

Not everyone wants a phone with a big screen, but most small-screen phones compromise on performance and cameras. Not so with Google’s latest flagship Android phone: Here’s our Google Pixel review.
Joining the ranks of the Pixel C and Chromebook Pixel are Google’s new Pixel phones. We’re reviewing the smaller 5in Pixel here, but you can read our separate Pixel XL review if you’re after a bigger phone.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 Review

Is there more to the Surface Laptop 2 than a lick of black paint? Find out in our full review.
Should I Buy The Microsoft Surface Laptop 2? The Surface Laptop 2 is a slightly odd one as it's not a huge upgrade on the original. That said, it comes in at the same price with a few upgrades and the new black colour.You get an 8th-gen Intel processor giving a nice performance boost as well as double the memory for the entry-level model. Battery life is a little down in our test but it's still a decent effort making this still one of the best laptop around.

Like Fan Page