Auto123 evaluations the 2020 Dodge Grand Caravan.
It does not actually need a lot of an introduction anymore: the Dodge Grand Caravan is a part of the furnishings, as they are saying. And even it did want one, an introduction wouldn’t do it a lot good by this level, as a result of, sadly, the Dodge minivan that launched a section again in 1984 might be gone for good after 2020, because it makes means for the Chrysler Pacifica – but in addition for the Chrysler Grand Caravan, the automaker having determined to double its lineup in 2021.
Fact is, the Dodge – not Chrysler – Grand Caravan appeals at the start to younger households who do not care concerning the luxurious promised by different minivans in the marketplace… and detest the steeper asking costs of these fashions. As a result of, nicely, that is the primary attraction of what’s indubitably the “oldest” mannequin in the marketplace: Value!
We might have determined to let it go with out saying goodbye, however no, even after we’ve put it by a formidable variety of check drives over time, the Dodge Grand Caravan has known as to us yet one more time for a final lap across the suburban cul-de-sac.
Observe: A few of you could catch on to the truth that this right here isn’t any common press automobile supplied by FCA. As such, that is no top-of-the-line tuxedo-wearing trim. No, that is the actual deal, the one that almost all patrons within the minivan section have historically gone for: the proudly run-of-the-mill SXT model, which really simply debuted at dealerships this previous September.
And when it did seem, one of many patrons of the 2020 Grand Caravan SXT was a sure member of my quick household. My sister and her husband had determined it was time to say goodbye to their 2006 Toyota Sienna and welcome to the household a more recent, safer automobile. And so I benefited from their traditional generosity to abscond for a day of their brand-new experience, simply to remind me yet one more time of the pluses and minuses of the grand previous dame of the minivan section.
Extra utilitarian than a utility automobile
The first cause for the marked curiosity younger households have lengthy had within the Grand Caravan is that it will get the brood from A to B in higher consolation than any crossover accessible in the marketplace. Sure, that’s a bonus the previous Dodge shares with all others within the minivan class. However, and that is the place probably the most family-friendly automobile in model’s lineup stands out from its rivals, the Stow ‘N Go system is without doubt one of the most interesting options of this versatile people-mover.
Actually, based on FCA Canada, the Stow ‘N Go system is without doubt one of the most necessary components influencing patrons of the Grand Caravan and the newer Chrysler Pacifica, which may also be geared up with it. Admittedly, the power to rapidly fold the second-row captain’s seats into the ground of the automobile is an enormous plus that the opposite three minivans in the marketplace (Kia Sedona, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna) do not supply. That is what motivated the acquisition of this Grand Caravan SXT, which occurs to probably the most inexpensive trim within the lineup that may be geared up with this celebrated system.
That issues as a result of along with kids, this 2020 minivan might be known as upon to move very giant work every now and then, as its new house owners are painters once they’re not taking care of the three younger ‘uns within the family.
I’ve to confess, the Stow ‘N Go system is very easy to make use of and simplifies lives.
A 2011 inside
The Dodge Grand Caravan was final redesigned an eon in the past, extra exactly in 2011. On the level the minivan traded in its outdated 4.0L V6 engine for the then-latest 3.6L Pentastar block. The dashboard was additionally modified a bit at the moment, and the standard of the supplies was upgraded.
However stacked up in opposition to its rivals at Kia, Honda and Toyota, and even the Chrysler Pacifica, the Dodge Grand Caravan did not measure up, with onerous plastics right here and there and wobbly meeting relationship from a interval when FCA merchandise have been nonetheless lagging behind the pack for degree of high quality.
Alternatively, I’ve no complaints concerning the consolation of the fabric seats, the peripheral visibility or the placement of many of the dashboard controls. Nevertheless, I have to level out the absence of second-row home windows that may open, which is nonsense in a household van! Luckily, the rear facet home windows present some air flow – when the first-row home windows are additionally open. The one level of comfort right here is known as air-con and I firmly belief that that may turn out to be useful and reliably subsequent summer season.
I might additionally whine concerning the small dimension of the display screen related to the rearview digicam (positioned contained in the rearview mirror), however let’s not overlook that the present Grand Caravan was designed lengthy earlier than the legislation that obliges producers to equip all their autos with a rearview digicam in North America got here into impact.
On the wheel of a minivan
Regardless of its superior age, the Dodge Grand Caravan provides a really related kind of driving and live-in expertise to different minivans. As in, it is easy to get out and in because of the low ground and broad doorways, and there is no scarcity of human, storage and cargo house on board.
The V6 engine delivers 283 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, all managed by way of a 6-speed computerized transmission. On this respect it is true that the Dodge is somewhat scruffy in comparison with others, however it might have been worse. Anyhow I will not make up a fantasy concerning the Grand Caravan’s astonishing efficiency; its mission is of a distinct order. Fortunately, the American 6-cylinder engine sounds fairly acceptable, whereas the automated transmission does a superb job. I did not discover any irregularities throughout my transient time behind the wheel and I used to be even capable of push the mechanics somewhat bit on the freeway to commemorate the musicality of the Pentastar throughout acceleration.
As for dealing with, it is extra akin to that of an ocean liner, with the suspension calibrated for consolation, consolation and extra consolation. The steering can also be somewhat fuzzy within the center, however on the threat of repeating myself, this Grand Caravan is a practical automobile above all, and isn’t conceived to elicit ardour. Given its age, it’s not stunning that the soundproofing is extra approximate than in competing minivans.
The final phrase
The subsequent few months might be essential for the FCA group. The Dodge division is more and more positioning itself because the automotive large’s muscle, and the withdrawal of the Grand Caravan – and the Dodge Journey as nicely – confirms this shift.
However regardless of the addition of a Chrysler Grand Caravan (extra economical to buy than the Chrysler Pacifica) for 2021, the automaker might nicely discover itself with an exodus of consumers accustomed to Dodge Grand Caravans offered at a reduction for the reason that daybreak of time, particularly in Canada, the place the proportion of Grand Caravan patrons is larger than amongst our neighbors south of the border.
The reality is, although, that the producer stretched the elastic so far as it might go together with this present Grand Caravan, and possibly even past. Truthfully, the Grand Caravan ought to most likely have been retired from the market nicely earlier than 2020. Nonetheless, regardless of all its imperfections, the Dodge Grand Caravan has served tens of millions of customers throughout North America and around the globe proudly, and the items which might be offered earlier than its time is formally up are prone to proceed to take action for years to come back.
The inexpensive worth
The ingenuity of the Stow ‘N Go System
We like much less
The standard of some plastics within the cabin
High quality of meeting remains to be middling, even in any case this time
Increased gasoline consumption than different minivans
See additionally: High 20: Finest Household Autos in 2020, Based on Mother and father Journal
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