2018 Dodge Grand Caravan GT Engine & Performance – A suburban standard considering that its 1984-model-year launch, the Dodge Caravan has outlived acid solution-scrub jeans, expert of happy times Spuds MacKenzie, and the relevance of Andrew Dice Clay-based. We may have believed the coming of Fiat Chrysler’s freshly produced Chrysler Pacifica minivan would set a risk via the overcoming cardiovascular system of the long-jogging Dodge, but on this page, we are in 2018, and factory-refreshing Grand Caravans carry on to appear on dealership plenty. But as opposed to most given birth to-in-the-’80s touchpoints who have slipped underneath the surf of nostalgia, the Grand Caravan remains to be a greatly sensible, if relatively outdated, instrument for controlling an active family existence.
Now in its fifth generation, the Caravan has observed a lot of changes, but not any modify its core mission of moving individuals and their items-and a great deal of each. Dodge shuffled the available trim amounts for 2017, removing the R/T model and the American Importance package, so the lineup now piles up as SE, SE Plus, SXT, and GT, in climbing get. Our test instance was a GT.
In add-on to which include all the features of the scuttled R/T model (a sport suspension, 17-inch aluminum wheels, leather seating, remote control starting, a power liftgate and moving side doors, a nine-speaker audio system, and a 6.5-inch infotainment screen), the GT contributes navigation and the Driver Comfort Group (warmed front- and second-row seats, a warmed up steering wheel, three-zone automatic climate control, Uconnect Sound Order, windowpane colors, and expense storage space receptacles). Fundamentally, for $35,490, you get a Caravan which has been dragged via the back garden of possibilities. There are nevertheless a couple of things still left on the food selection, but the only one we’d include for certain is the $995 Trailers package, that gives you a 2.0-inch problem recipient, an electrical wiring utilize, and a weight-questing suspension, all including up to make the Dodge excellent to tug 3600 pounds.
If retaining the tiny ones pacified in a glassy-eyed stupor is a concern, you are checking out one more $995 for the DVD Entertainment set-up (a 9.-inch video screen for the second row with wireless headsets, a remote control control, an HD multimedia graphical user interface, and a “charge only” USB port). Curiously, the $1495 Safety Sphere Group (blind-spot forewarning, rear cross-pathway discovery, and rear parking assist) is not rolled into the GT package-thinking about the Caravan’s family mission, we’d assume that each achievable safety feature will be cooked in from the start.
The Grand Caravan’s interior at first appears as large as a New York City condo, and the front seats are straight out of the La-Z-Son display room. Big, soft, and cushy in a quite 1980s, Bob Guccione form of way, the seats present an original impact of luxury that could give way to a careless feeling that will have you wanting for a lot more help when your time clock some miles. The sleep of the interior is just adequate. The switchgear on the gaming system and the door solar panels are standard Chrysler fare; the buttons, light changes, and container doors on the dash and overhead consoles function as meant but shortage any actual durability or preciseness. Finish off quality is a blended case of plastic-type material surface areas which range from soft to fragile, all with a feel that leans a lot more in the direction of manufacturing than luxurious. The plastic-type-chrome finish off on the dash-fitted shifter and its bezel, for example, appears in excess from a Monogram model kit.
High details include slipping handles for the dual containers in the gaming console and the match of 12-volt stores found in the forward’s container, frill-free gauges for vehicle and engine speed, and a realistically user-friendly button format on the dash. We wish Chrysler’s 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment set up had been available, but alternatively, the career slips to a 6.5-inch unit surrounded by physical buttons. The Grand Caravan has the renowned retract-into-the-floor Stow ’n Go seats, a standard of any FCA minivan, but we had been hit by just how much much less comfortable these were compared with the more recent ones in the Pacifica. In this Caravan, the low seat-cushioning elevation foliage grown-ups because of their knee joints uncomfortably raised and legs unsupported. Second-row buckets are standard in all but the base SE. If you are prepared to buy and sell aside some efficiency, you could possibly get a second-row counter in that model alternatively.
Put the hood, and the nostalgia journey persists with Chrysler’s tried out-and-accurate 3.6-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission. Whilst hardly a reducing-edge powertrain, it gives adequate gumption to drive the Caravan from zero to the 60-mph mark in 7.8 seconds and by way of the quarter-mile in 16.1 with a capture speed of 88 mph; the two instances are just .2 second right behind all those placed by a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica we fairly recently analyzed. That is a lot less astonishing when you take into consideration that the Pacifica also relies upon the all-pervasive Pentastar for determination, even though the Chrysler shuffles its a bit greater output (287 horses versus 283 for the Caravan) by way of a nine-speed automatic rather of the Dodge’s six-speed gearbox. In the Grand Caravan, a governor steps in at 113 mph, and you probably would not want to go faster anyway, as the Caravan’s numb steering, susceptibility to crosswinds, and growing older chassis call for the continuous modification to ensure that it stays on the straight and thin.
Braking from 70 mph essential 180 feet. Of the four nonhybrid Pacificas we have assessed, braking miles are already involving 177 and 187 feet. The new 2018 Honda Odyssey and the last front-wheel-drive Toyota Sienna we examined each essential 184 feet. Even though the Caravan has nothing at all to be self-conscious of in terminology of quitting range, the pedal feel was soft and obscure, and we seasoned reduce starting with the first quit. We signed up .77 g of hold, an outstanding number provided just how much the Caravan leans when questioned to change guidelines. A submit-test exam of the 225/65R-17 Michelin Energy Saver all-period auto tires disclosed an unevenly donned remaining front. Apart from most likely limiting performance and checking, this suggests some suspension or steering elements may will need repairing. Continue to, this van is no canyon carver regardless if the jogging products are appropriately categorized. The industry-off is a fairly easy journey, but it is practically extremely hard to overlook the nebulous, tired experience that permeates virtually all of the Caravan’s dynamic techniques, which demonstrates the amount of the competition such as the Pacifica-has enhanced in latest years.
The 20-mpg fuel economy noticed over the program of the Caravan’s stick with us particularly fits the EPA put together ranking, with the agency’s city shape at 17 mpg and the highway score at 25 mpg. The Caravan’s seen fuel economy also provides up very little soil to the 20 to 22 mpg we have observed in our testing of the Pacifica (even though a 2017 Pacifica hybrid accomplished a put together 28 MPGe). Whilst its demise is unavoidable, the Caravan has become awarded a remain of the setup of sorts. FCA is allowing it to coexist with the significantly vaunted Pacifica a minimum of by way of the sleep of the 2017 model year and probably into 2018 as properly. Wise purchasers know-and our study can handle-these points are making car dealerships with important special discounts off MSRP. Thus if uncooked utility and passenger-hauling capacity exceed you will need for parking-whole lot cachet and the most up-to-date styling and technology, the old Grand Caravan continues to a contender for your money-sometimes to get or to lease.