2000 Grand Caravan New Car Test Drive
Year after year, the Dodge Caravan is one of the top two or three best-selling minivans in America. Most years, it's been in the No. 1 spot. After all, what's not to like? Caravan and Grand Caravan outpace most of the minivan field when it comes to interior space, and it boasts a versatility that allows it to carry varying configuations of humans and cargo.
The Dodge Caravan provides the kind of comfort, styling, ride quality and handling buyers have come to expect from the company that has dominated the minivan field since the early '80s. And, amazingly, for all of that, the Caravan is priced so that it's still one of the best buys in the minivan market.
DaimlerChrysler knows there are many different types of minivan buyers out there, so the company offers a model to suit the tastes, needs and budget of every imaginable buyer. Buyers can choose from among short- and long-wheelbase versions to accommodate different lifestyles and space requirements. Chrysler Town & Country rides like a luxury sedan, while the Chrysler Voyager and Dodge Caravan are more value-conscious. The base Dodge Caravan doesn't skimp on the essentials, but is priced about $18,000 less than the Town & Country Limited.
For 2000, some new colors were added to the palette--patriot blue, bright silver, inferno red, aquamarine and shale green.
For those who carry smaller loads, Dodge offers the short-wheelbase version, which comes in two flavors: entry-level Caravan and mid-line Caravan SE. Buyers with larger loads can choose from among the longer-wheelbase Grand Caravan, Grand Caravan SE, Grand Caravan LE. The top of the line is the Grand Caravan ES. Both the Caravan and Grand Caravan can be ordered with the jaunty Sport package. Grand Caravans can also be ordered with all-wheel drive (AWD).
Prices for the Caravan stable run from $18,685 for the base Caravan to $30,010 for the Grand Caravan ES with all-wheel drive.
Several engines are available in the Caravan line. In the short-wheelbase editions, the base Caravan comes with a 2.4-liter 16-valve four-cylinder engine as standard with a 3.0-liter 12-valve V6 as an option. A 3.3-liter 12-valve V6 is available as an option on the base Caravan and the Caravan SE. A 3.3-liter Flex Fuel V6 is available in some states. A three-speed automatic is standard on the base Caravan; a four-speed automatic is optional on the base model and standard on the SE.
For the long-wheelbase Grand Caravan line, the 3.0-liter V6 is standard in the base model. In some states, the 3.3-liter Flex Fuel V6 is standard in the SE and ES. A 3.8-liter 12-valve V6 is standard in the mid-line SE and LE all-wheel-drive models, and optional on the LE front-wheel drive model. The 3.8 liter plant is standard on the top-line ES.
All of the long-wheelbase Grand Caravans come with a standard four-speed automatic transmission. The short-wheelbase base Caravan comes with a three-speed automatic. The four-speed AutoStick is standard in the top-line ES. All-wheel drive is available on Grand Caravan SE, LE and ES.