Iconic Grand Caravan is the affordable option in minivan circles

SHARE Iconic Grand Caravan is the affordable option in minivan circles

With the advent of the Chrysler Pacifica landing squarely in the Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) stable, the senior member of that stable, the Dodge Grand Caravan, which hasn’t been redesigned in a decade, may seem like it’s too long in the tooth. But, alas, while the Grand Caravan has not been fully redesigned since 2008, there is still some very notable value to be had there.

What may seem to some as a negative, can become a positive for others in the market for a full-size minivan. The 2018 Grand Caravan is not the high-feature offering it once was, most rivals have taken huge leaps forward in mechanical, and creature comfort levels. It’s cousin Pacifica is at the top of the heap in terms of setting that bar – so how does it compete?

The Grand Caravan can be essential transportation for a family on a tight budget. Look no further than the innovative and easily foldable Stow ‘n Go seats as a reason to consider the Grand Caravan a formidable utility vehicle. Drop the seats and utilize maximum cargo room with little fuss. If you need reasonable cargo space and seven-passenger accommodations at the lowest possible price, the Grand Caravan is definitely worth buying.

Looking For Value

The 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan has a starting price at $25,995 for the SE trim, making it the lowest costing model in the class. The fully loaded GT trim starts at about $34,395, (still lower than most competing high-trim levels). Where even the Grand Caravan GT lacks some family-friendly features and advanced tech options, it makes up in affordability.

Interior Space Cabin Materials

The Grand Caravan, like all minivans, specializes in offering plenty of room for people and ‘stuff.’ Given the price-point, materials used for the interior are middle-of-the-road, though fit and finish is good. Hard plastics are still prevalent in the Grand Caravan, but it is roomy.

I found the high-mounted front seats to deliver outstanding driver visibility. Seats are maneuverable for good comfort and positioning no matter what size person is seated. The second- and third-row seats provide lots of space, though seats are firm and lack some extra padding that could make them more comfortable on longer trips. Look for second-row seats to offer a full set of LATCH connectors, as does the middle third-row seat.

Cargo Space

While the Dodge Grand Caravan has less comprehensive cargo space than competitors, with 140.3 cubic feet with both rear rows folded, there’s pretty much enough space to haul anything you might like, in almost any shape possible.

Thanks to the optional Stow ‘n Go seats, it’s easier to access all the available cargo space in this minivan than it is in most competitors. Instead of removing the second row from the van, you simply fold the seats into the floor. When the seats are occupied, you can use the convenient cargo bins under the floor.

Performance Standards

The 3.6-liter V6 is still one of the most powerful engines you can get in any minivan. While it is definitely not the most refined engine, it gets the hauling done with ease and delivers 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

Technology

The Grand Caravan’s standard features are worth mentioning given the base price to enter. Look for standards like tri-zone manual climate control, a 6.5-inch touch-screen infotainment system, a six-speaker audio system, and a rearview camera. Optional features include tri-zone automatic climate control, navigation, a nine-speaker audio system, satellite radio, a rear-seat entertainment system, remote start, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and traffic alert.

Overall, while it is an older design in all regards, it is a proven winner and there’s still great value in the 2018 Grand Caravan.

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