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Dodge Grand Caravan review: The best used minivan for most families


Is the Dodge Grand Caravan a good car?

Seems that way, if the sales volumes are any indication. The Dodge Grand Caravan has been around for decades—refined for each generation—and it’s the strongest-selling minivan by a considerable margin.

The main draws of this vehicle are its size, space, features and flexible interior. Recent-model Grand Caravans will come with plenty of features, too, including Dodge’s proven Pentastar 3.6-litre V6 engine, remote start, power sliding doors, a motorized tailgate, a heated steering wheel, a sunroof, rear-seat entertainment consoles, premium audio systems, multi-zone climate control (on some models) and enough storage bins, compartments, cup holders, power outlets and media hookups to keep the whole family organized, connected and charged up on the go. It’s hard to think of a more family-friendly vehicle. 

The Stow ’n Go seats can flip, fold away into the floor or exit the vehicle altogether, turning it from a people mover into a cargo carrier in a jiff. Aside from family transportation, many owners use their Grand Caravan as a work truck, a delivery vehicle, a pet hauler, camping headquarters, a mobile office and more. Even pack rats will find a place to store all their stuff. 

How does it drive? The Grand Caravan’s long wheelbase adds smoothness and stability, while stretching out the cabin to clear room for three rows of seats. Its suspension and ride are nicely suited to long-distance driving, though ride comfort stands up well on rougher roads, too. Drivers can expect a commanding driving position with a generous forward view—a perch that inspires confidence without towering above the road.

The minivan’s advanced safety equipment includes adaptive cruise control, a backup camera, stability control, automatic high beams and a pre-collision warning system. Rear Cross Path Detection, if equipped, alerts drivers to approaching vehicles as they reverse out of a parking space or into a laneway. Features like these add confidence for parents, as well as peace of mind when younger drivers start to borrow the family vehicle. 

The Dodge Grand Caravan powertrain: What makes it tick?

The used Dodge Grand Caravan you’re considering has a tried-and-true powertrain configuration that’s helped sell countless minivans. Under the hood is a V6 engine, connected to the front wheels by an automatic transmission.

Newer used Grand Caravans will run the 3.6-litre V6 engine. Dubbed the Pentastar, this award-winning engine gives the vehicle a 283-horsepower punch. All models come with automatic transmission, and all are front-wheel drive.

Long story short? Dodge has been building and tweaking this powertrain team for many years. The same engine is also used in the automaker’s crossover SUVs and pickup trucks because it’s a time-tested workhorse.

If you use ECO mode and drive light-footed, there’s rarely a need to get this engine working hard—it’s set up nicely for low-RPM performance and maximum fuel efficiency. There’s generous punch available when needed, though mostly, the Grand Caravan’s drivetrain does its best work when being driven in no particular rush, as its fuel-saving tech works to minimize your gas bill.

Some competitor minivans are available with all-wheel drive (AWD), a feature that the Grand Caravan lacks. For added safety in colder months, be sure to use quality winter tires—they’ll help the Grand Caravan’s traction and stability features work better, too.


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