2015 Grand Caravan New Car Test Drive
Dodge Grand Caravan and the similar but more luxurious Chrysler Town & Country are the most popular minivans, accounting for nearly half the U.S. market.
For 2015, a new Grand Caravan SE Plus model features 17-inch Satin Carbon aluminum wheels, heated mirrors, silver accent stitching and piano black interior accents. Also introduced for 2015, Grand Caravan SXT Plus includes power sliding doors, a power liftgate, chrome roof rack, foglamps, automatic headlamps, and black leatherette seats. Both are actually option groups. The Blacktop Package, introduced for 2014, remains available. Today's Grand Caravan is a fifth-generation product launched as a 2008 model. It was revised for 2011, but little has changed since.
Grand Caravan rides smoothly and does not wallow and float. It is a large vehicle, however, and it can be a beast to handle in tight quarters. Grand Caravan, Toyota Sienna, Nissan Quest, and Honda Odyssey are all roughly the same size: extra large.
Power is provided by Chrysler's 3.6-liter V6 mated to a mediocre 6-speed automatic transmission, resulting in a combination that delivers barely adequate response.
The interior is attractive, with soft-touch door tops, boldly contemporary gauges, and some nice bits of trim, but hard plastic dominates the dashboard as is typical for the class. The seats are comfortable. Entertainment features include hard-drive radios, SiriusXM satellite radio, video entertainment, a wireless cell phone link, and a mobile internet hot spot.
Super Stow ‘n Go second-row seats fold into the floor, offering useful cargo space with those seats up or down. Third-row seats fold into the well behind them. With all seats down, Grand Caravan can accept a 4×8 sheet of plywood.
The 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan is offered in six models. All come with a 283-hp 3.6-liter V6 and 6-speed automatic transmission.
Grand Caravan AVP or American Value Package ($21,395) comes with cloth upholstery; dual-zone manual climate control; interior air filter; tilt/telescoping steering column with cruise and audio controls; folding, reclining and removable second-row bench seat with in-floor storage; 60/40 spilt Stow ‘n Go third-row seat; power windows; power door locks; heated power mirrors; remote keyless entry; four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input jack; trip computer; rear window wiper, washer and defroster; chrome grille; and P225/65R17 tires on 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers.
Grand Caravan SE ($24,195) comes with cloth upholstery; tri-zone manual climate control; an interior air filter; tilt/telescoping steering wheel with cruise and audio controls; Super Stow ‘n Go second-row bucket seats, 60/40 split Stow ‘n Go third-row seat; power windows and locks; heated power mirrors; remote keyless entry; six-speaker stereo; trip computer; rear-window wiper, washer and defroster; removable floor console with four cupholders; deep-tint sunscreen glass; and P225/65R17 tires on steel wheels with covers. SE Plus ($24,995) adds unique 17-inch aluminum wheels, body-color heated mirrors, black cloth seats, black leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an overhead console, second-row power windows, SiriusXM radio, and Uconnect voice command.
Grand Caravan SXT ($27,295) adds a power liftgate, dual power sliding doors, a more elaborate Super Console, power rear and rear-quarter windows, a black Stow ‘n Place roof rack with side rails, and 225/65R17 all-season tires on 17-inch alloy wheels. SXT Plus ($28,095) includes 17-inch polished aluminum wheels, foglamps, automatic headlamps, black leather seats with suede inserts, and a 10-way power driver's seat.
Grand Caravan R/T ($29,995) upgrades to black leather upholstery; Infinity 506-watt sound system with subwoofer and three additional speakers, DVD and HDD capability; sports suspension; and rearview camera. It's distinguished by body-color grille trim and Satin Carbon alloy wheels. R/T loses the roof rack.
The Blacktop package includes 17-inch polished aluminum wheels with black pockets, a black grille and headlamp bezels, all-black interior, and black cloth seats with silver accent stitching.
Option packages include a Driver Convenience Group ($895) with heated front and second-row seats, heated steering wheel, USB port, Uconnect with voice command, Bluetooth streaming audio and cell phone link, overhead console system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and second- and third-row window shades; Uconnect Hands Free group ($690) with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, SiriusXM satellite radio, Uconnect phone, voice recognition, and auto-dimming rearview mirror; DVD Entertainment Group ($1,495) that includes a single-screen rear DVD entertainment system, SiriusXM satellite radio, 40GB hard disc drive, rearview camera, and 115-volt outlet; Security Group ($395) with remote engine starting and an alarm; and a Trailer Tow group with heavy-duty engine cooling, load-leveling rear suspension, and a trailer wiring harness. Stand-alone options include a removable second-row console instead of a more elaborate unit (no charge); the Infinity sound system; and the load-leveling suspension.
Safety features include dual front airbags, front side airbags, driver's knee airbag, all-row curtain side airbags, active front headrests, tire-pressure monitor, four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS and brake assist, electronic brake-force distribution, traction control, and electronic stability control. Options include a rearview camera, rear park assist, Rear Cross Path Detection, and Blind Spot Alert. All-wheel drive is not available.