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2013 Dodge Grand Caravan Overview
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It’s the end of an era. In a 2011 interview, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne revealed that the significant-if-not-iconic Dodge Grand Caravan will be replaced with a crossover vehicle after the 2013 model year. (The minivan’s upscale cousin, the Chrysler Town & Country, will continue in production.)
Well, it’s been a pretty good run. Dodge created the minivan segment back in 1986 with the introduction of the Grand Caravan and has dominated it ever since. As SUVs and now crossovers have gradually eroded sales, this boxy 7-passenger vehicle with the sliding side doors will eventually be relegated to an exhibit at the Peterson Automotive Museum.
Because of this, not surprisingly there are few changes for this model year. Four trims are still available, all with the same 3.6-liter V6 FlexFuel engine with 283 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque; its mileage is estimated at 17 mpg city/25 hwy. The SE sits atop a 16-inch wheelbase (17-inchers are optional) and includes such features as heated door mirrors, keyless entry, power windows and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls for the 4-speaker CD/MP3 system. The SXT makes the 17-inch wheels standard and adds 2 speakers and collapsible second- and third-row seats; the Crew includes overhead storage and adds power to the sliding doors and fog lamps; the top-of-the-line R/T has all that plus a 9-speaker audio system with touchscreen and hard drive as well as sliding door alert.
The vehicle’s exterior is classic minivan with perhaps a sportier stance and nicer rear end. In spite of its name, minivans are actually quite large; the Grand Caravan is 202.5 inches in length and has a luggage capacity of 33 cubic feet and maximum cargo capacity of over 140 cubic feet. With the easily collapsible seat option of the SXT, it is good for stuff or staff.
All trims have front-wheel drive with a 6-speed automatic transmission, and all have a black cloth interior. Safety features include front and side airbags, as well as antilock brakes, electronic stability control and a panic button, which triggers the lights and horns. All trims but the R/T come with a driver's knee airbag.
It’s a bold move to end production in a segment in which it has always been a leader. Will soccer moms and dads miss the minivan and the distinctive shuhhh-clanng of its sliding doors? As Fiat and Chrysler exit the honeymoon stage of their marriage, there are certainly more big changes in store.
by Stephen Moramarco
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