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2014 Dodge Grand Caravan Overview
The “Chosen One” continues for 2014 without its second-in-command in preparation for a 2015 redesign. Dodge's Grand Caravan will be Chrysler's only minivan once its Chrysler Town & Country stablemate gets redesigned into a crossover for 2015, especially since Volkswagen's Routan spinoff isn't expected to return, given that maker's expansion into its own 7- and 8-seaters. As a result, Dodge dropped the Grand Caravan's second-from-top Crew trim, moved those features to the top-shelf R/T and otherwise left it exactly the same between 2013 and '14, excepting one paint color.
Now offered in American Value Package (AVP), SE, SXT and R/T trims only, the Grand Caravan stands out primarily for sharing Stow 'n Go seating and an able powertrain with its T&C brother. The lone 283-hp and 260-lb-ft/torque 3.6-liter V6 engine mates to a 6-speed automatic transmission that sends all that power to the front wheels while getting 17 mpg city/25 highway, which isn't terribly efficient but is about average.
The exact same “it's okay” can be said of its driving dynamics, comfort, interior materials and just about every other detail, most especially if you buy in at the AVP base. Having 33 cubic feet available behind the third row is pretty impressive, but again the Grand Caravan's 143.8 cubic feet of cargo space is merely competitive. The T&C saves the day here by going upscale with a leather interior and the works for features. The Grand Caravan, however, is more the little brother if you think of it in terms of price and feature content, so the upholstery is cloth, the seats are not as cushy, and you'll have to opt all the way up to the R/T for the same tri-zone automatic climate control included standard in every T&C, just as one example.
However, at least the busy ride and engine noise the GC got from its genetics are right at home in this budget people-hauler. Drivers also mention the transmission in previous models may have been poorly programmed for handling highway speeds, and there's no mention otherwise whether this has been addressed. At least some drivers report better-than-advertised fuel economy.
All that said, nobody has any clue what the next Grand Caravan will look like or use for power. So far it's been speculated that the new Town & Country will share a platform with the redesigned Grand Caravan, but what platform that may be is a total mystery. All we know is that Chrysler is moving upscale, while Dodge is moving toward heavy-duty applications. Given that we can only imagine more of the same so-so budget features and peppy go-go engines.
For now standard features for the Grand Caravan AVP base include heated mirrors, power front windows, dual-zone air conditioning, a conversation mirror and a minimalist 4-speaker stereo system with a CD player and an auxiliary jack. Stow 'n Go seating starts at the SE trim for just the second row, and powered sliding doors and a liftgate are not standard until the SXT. Most features available to higher trims are available as options, but there are several options exclusive to specific trims.
Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.
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