Dodge Grand Caravan ›› 2013 ›› 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan
Once the sole minivan offered (Dodge introduced the minivan back in 1984 with the Caravan and then followed up with the Grand Caravan a few years later), a slew of competitors soon entered the field. Today, the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, and Nissan Quest and even the Chrysler Town & Country (the corporate sibling to the Grand Caravan) are out to entice buyers. The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan seven-passenger front-wheel drive minivan offers the lowest-priced minivan in America with the American Value Package starting at $19,995 and four other trims and numerous option packages provide a compelling case for a versatile, affordable vehicle that can be tailored to meet a larger family's needs.
What Experts Think
Although the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan is the cheapest of all the minivans today (at least in the American Value Package), it faces stiff competition from the likes of the stylish Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna, the latter the only minivan offering all-wheel drive. Still, most auto reviewers find the Dodge Grand Caravan to be class-leading in a number of aspects, especially with regard to its versatile passenger and cargo capacity, fuel economy, overall value and price.
"If features-per-dollar, power and fuel economy are more important than styling and best-in-class resale value, the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan makes a very tempting prospect." (Kelley Blue Book)
"The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan offers attractive pricing and clever passenger- and cargo-carrying functionality, yet it still trails the competition when it comes to overall refinement." (Edmunds)
"It might not have the outstanding ride/handling combination of the Honda Odyssey or the Toyota Sienna's available all-wheel drive, but Grand Caravan might have the best overall balance of the primary attributes that are most attractive to minivan shoppers." (Consumer Guide)
"Now back up in the top minivan rankings after a recent update, the Dodge Grand Caravan drives with more precision, has a better interior, and is still hugely practical." (Car and Driver)
"The Dodge Grand Caravan is at the forefront of the minivan market offering the features and innovative seating that many families find indispensible." (AOL Autos)
"The Grand Caravan was extensively revised but still falls short of the best minivans. It does have a very comfortable and settled ride, and passengers will find a quite, well-equipped cabin that offers considerable versatility. But fuel economy is unimpressive and the transmission shifts slowly. Handling is sound in everyday driving but sloppy when pushed to the limits." (Consumer Reports)
What Owners Say
Owners of the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan, posting comments on sites such as MSN Autos, Yahoo Autos, Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book and Cars.com have a lot to say about their minivans.
The consensus of owner reviews on MSN Autos is overwhelmingly positive, with an overall rating of 9.5 out of 10. Owners like the affordability of the Grand Caravan, its initial cost, appearance, performance and stow seating. One user lauded the van's "excellent acceleration," calling the Grand Caravan "the best buy of all the vans hands down" (for performance, cost, design and space).
Other owners commented about the American Value Package, being happy to sacrifice a few comfort features in order to save thousands of dollars. Engine is quick, the van drives like a sedan, and the controls are easy for the driver to see and use. More than a few owners are happy with the fuel economy while others are less so, expecting more from the 383-horsepower V6 engine and six-speed transmission.
One consumer who lives in Kansas commented that worries about wind blowing the van around on the highway (it is very windy in that part of the state) proved groundless as the vehicle was very stable and "cruises awesome."
The fact that the Dodge Grand Caravan rides higher off the ground is another owner like, along with the many useful features and styling in the R/T trim.
A few complaints surface here and there from owners, including a "mysterious noise from the rear of the vehicle," which echoes complaints from expert auto reviewers. Other gripes include "sluggish transmission," standard rear liftgate difficult to close manually, horn hard to get to beep, low-quality on some of the plastic trim pieces, some shifting issues, uncomfortable driver's seat, some problems with brakes needing to be replaced at 28,000 miles.
The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan is a seven-passenger minivan that is available in five trim levels: American Value Package (AVP), SE, SXT, Crew and R/T.
For budget-minded families, the base American Value Package includes 10-inch steel wheels, power front windows, dual-zone air conditioning, heated mirrors, a reclining/folding/removable second-row bench seat, a conversation mirror, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
Next trim up is the SE, which adds body-color door handles and side molding, second-row captain's chairs with the Stow ‘n Go folding seats, a front floor console, triple zone climate control with rear air-conditioning, tinted rear windows, and a six-speaker sound system.
SXT swaps out the 16-inch wheels for 19-inch alloy wheels, adds power-adjustable pedals, a power liftgate, power sliding rear doors, power rear windows, and a larger floor console.
The Crew trim features automatic headlights, fog lights, chrome body-side accents, remote start, a trip computer, a roof rack, tri-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an overhead console, a power driver's seat, power-adjustable pedals, a 115-volt power outlet, a touchscreen display and an upgraded audio system with digital music storage.
The top-of-the-line Dodge Grand Caravan R/T features unique 17-inch alloy wheels, body-color grille, performance-tuned suspension and brakes, leather seats in the first and second rows, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, a backup camera and premium sound system from Infinity.
A number of option packages can be added, depending on trim level. Some of the available options include Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity, satellite radio, an iPod/USB audio interface, automatic wipers, a navigation system, heated front- and second-row seats, rear parking and cross-traffic sensors, a blind spot warning system, sunshades for the second and third rows, and a trailer tow package with trailer sway control.
Available in the R/T and Crew upper trim levels is a Blu-Ray-compatible entertainment system with an HDMI input and dual USB ports to allow for charging of electronic devices.
A single V6 engine powers the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan. But, in the view of most auto reviewers, this isn't just any V6 engine. The Dodge Grand Caravan sports a "dynamo" 3.6-liter V6 engine that delivers a class-leading 283 horsepower.
In Kelley Blue Book's review, editors said "We think this is one of Dodge's best V6 engines to date and a long-overdue enhancement for the Grand Caravan." The new V6 is also E85-compatible, allowing the Grand Caravan to run on any combination of gasoline and ethanol.
EPA estimated fuel economy for the V6 engine and new six-speed automatic transmission is 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway (gasoline), and 12 mpg city/18 mpg highway (E85).
Some auto critics complain of tire noise and ever-present engine whine. Others note that the van accelerates "adequately," but not as fast as its high horsepower would suggest. The transmission is considered smooth but can be "reluctant" to downshift when the driver request more power. Some even say the handling is "sloppy" when the van is pushed to its limits.
Most reviewers note that the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan targets budget-minded buyers. As such, its standard features list is fairly minimal. But most agree that the overall cabin design feels contemporary, but the materials are more durable than luxurious and certainly not as nice as competitive vans.
As a family mode of transportation, say most auto critics, the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan's most important feature - both for usability and compared with the competition - is the available Stow 'n Go seats. Both the second and third row seats can be folded into the floor, allowing for maximum cargo space. This makes a great deal of sense when busy families are trying to find room for the kids' gear and loading groceries or other materials. No fumbling to release and take out big, heavy seats and then trying to find somewhere to stash them.
Some reviewers, however, complain that these folding seats are uncomfortable. Complaints include padding that isn't thick enough in the second row and space and seat position in the third row is less than ideal.
As for interior features, auto critics are mixed in their comments. While most say the controls and gauges are well laid out and easy to read, a few complain that the optional Uconnect multimedia suite is difficult to use.
Another plus is the Grand Caravan's cargo hauling and flexibility for stowing items. The van has 33 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row seats and 83.3 cubic feet behind the second row seats. Overall, the Grand Caravan has 143.8 cubic feet of cargo space. Some in the automotive press also praise the number of discrete and handy small item storage spaces.
Safety & Reliability
In government testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan earned an overall four star rating, with four stars received for overall frontal impact testing and five stars for overall side impact testing. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Dodge Grand Caravan its highest-possible rating of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength crash tests, earning a Top Safety Pick designation for the 2013 model year.
Standard safety features in the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan include a driver knee airbag, full-length side curtain airbags, front-seat side airbags, active front head restraints, antilock disc brakes, stability control and traction control. Optional safety features include rear parking and cross-traffic sensors, a rearview camera and a blind-spot monitoring system.
In terms of reliability, the Dodge Grand Caravan fares less well than many of its competitors, scoring an overall two Power circle score in the J.D. Power and associates Predicted Reliability rating. Two circles means the Grand Caravan is well below average for reliability.
|Passenger Minivan - FWD|
|American Value Pkg||4dr Wagon American Value Pkg||V6||FWD||19995|
|SE||4dr Wagon SE||V6||FWD||19995|
|SXT||4dr Wagon SXT||V6||FWD||26695|
|Crew||4dr Wagon Crew||V6||FWD||28795|
|R/T||4dr Wagon R/T||V6||FWD||29995|
|2013 Dodge Grand Caravan|
|2013 Dodge Grand Caravan|
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