2017 Dodge Grand Caravan
Versatility. Reliability. Safety. Affordability. These are often the cornerstones of any search for an upsized family hauler (especially when the family demands seating up to seven). And while third-row SUVs might sit atop many lists, many small to medium crossover and SUV offerings are based around third-row seating that seems to be designed with children in mind, only. Limiting their suitability for older children, teenagers and adults it’s no surprise that so many buyers opt instead for classic minivan styling.
With this in mind, the enduring standard of passenger minivan excellence rests with the 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan – Keene, NH drivers know this, and recognize its near-limitless value. Its lasting appeal has ushered the Grand Caravan comfortably into its fourth decade of existence; and based on the maturity of its fifth-generation, the Grand Caravan seems almost self-aware in its ability to meet each of the aforementioned cornerstones. So what is it about the Dodge Grand Caravan that sets it apart from its less-enduring contemporaries?
Priced to start around $25,995 the Grand Caravan remains one of the most accessibly-priced, among both minivan and SUV offerings. Made available in four trim levels (SE, SE Plus, SXT, and GT) it seats seven and offers a number of options for upgrading the overall experience.
25 MPG Highway
And what discussion of a family-hauler would be complete without some discussion of its utilitarian features? Working from the rear, the DGC boasts 33 cubic feet of cargo space. And with second-row Stow ’n Go seating and third-row seating that easily recesses into the DGC’s cargo well, space increases to 143.8 cubic feet overall. Plenty of space for whatever it is that you need to carry.
Scoring four out of five stars in government crash testings, the GDC also received top marks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Standard features include active front head restraints, an array of protective airbags, stability control, and antilock brakes. Such features are further enhanced by the driver assist features included within the optional Safety Sphere Group. This includes blind-spot monitoring, rear-parking, and cross-traffic sensors, making the Grand Caravan a perfect partner for any drive.
And of course, performance matters. And in this regard, the front-wheel-drive DGC does not disappoint, offering 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque courtesy of a 3.6-liter V6 paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Rated for 20 mpg combined (17 city, 25 highway) it makes for a confident contender for the attention of any prospective buyer. And with an 8-second sprint from zero to 60 mph, the GDC accelerates admirably and comes to a stop with equal aplomb.
Complimenting the interior design of the Grand Caravan is the inclusion of three-zone climate control, which includes rear-seat air conditioning, ensuring that all passengers can ride comfortably.
Once inside, the Grand Caravan’s infotainment system is built around a 6.5-inch touchscreen (with rearview camera) and a six-speaker audio system, equipped with both CD and auxiliary jack. Even at the (base) SE trim level, you can explore enhancement options which include Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity, satellite radio and USB inputs.
Moving up the line to the SXT, additional features such as remote start sweeten the Grand Caravan’s list of offerings. Power features include seats, sliding rear doors and rear liftgate making further increase its overall user-friendliness. With such features as voice control and ambient lighting, the Grand Caravan’s enhancement options are well-worth exploring.
And atop the line, the GT trim level. Equipped with the diverse wealth of features listed above, the Grand Caravan is further enhanced with built-in navigation, an upgraded nine-speaker sound system, and a 15-volt household power outlet. Factor in the benefits of a performance-tuned suspension and the Grand Caravan becomes an impressive sum of its parts.
Regardless of trim level, the majority of entertainment features can be added to the Grand Caravan courtesy of the enhancement packages made available. Exploring which options are right for your needs, and you can guarantee that there truly is something for everyone.
Many of the DGC’s strengths come as a result of its versatility, and this sentiment is far from lost in the design of its cabin. Equally well-suited to accommodate cargo as it is to accommodate passengers, the DGC includes a number of features and configurations intended to enhance its overall capabilities. But as a family-hauler, it’s hard to argue its core attributes of comfort, and its available configurations to enhance the passenger experience.
Fabricated from soft, premium materials (with upgraded upholstery available in higher trim levels) the Grand Caravan is both comfortable and welcoming. But in terms of overall design, the DGC remains so endearing by incorporating a number of strong configuration options. Take, for example, the option of second row Captain’s chairs. While larger families may prefer maximized bench-style seating, individualized seating can be helpful in creating a separation between siblings (if/when needed).
And with regard to the rear seating, the Grand Caravan offers ample space for most every kind of passenger. And yet, the ability to make the seats rear-facing make them even more versatile in terms of customizing the passenger experience.
Adrift in a sea of competitor refreshes, the iconography of the DGC rises above trend. Simultaneously classic and timely, it carries the strength of on-brand Dodge styling emblazoned across its front fascia. And while minivan styling may not ring immediately of sporty design, some of the standard paint choices (Contusion Blue, for example) do a great job of infusing its classic look with a more sporty feel.