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2015 Dodge Grand Caravan Overview
What can you say about a value-toting minivan that’s soon to be history? That’s right, as Chrysler/Dodge begins a re-branding program, pointing Dodge vehicles toward the muscle-car crowd, while Chrysler aims to win the hearts and minds of the daily commuter, the touring enthusiast and the typical family, after the 2015 model year, the Dodge Grand Caravan will be sold only at used car lots. As the progenitor of the now ubiquitous and often maligned minivan concept, this ground-breaking Dodge people-hauler finds itself unceremoniously shoved aside in favor of its Chrysler Town & Country cousin.
But the 7-passenger Grand Caravan isn’t done quite yet as it returns its 4 trims, the base American Value Package (AVP), the slightly up-featured SE, the sporty SXT and the curiously named yet nonetheless top-shelf R/T (Road/Track) for one more year of service in 2015. Three rows of seating remain standard across the lineup, as do the foldable rear seats that allow some 143.8 cubic feet of cargo space. Hinted upgrades for the 2015 trims, meantime, include the addition of an exterior color selection, some improvements to the touted Uconnect infotainment feature and a few tweaks to the surprisingly efficient Sto 'n' Go rear seats that come standard in the SE and higher Grand Caravan trims. Oh, and lest we forget, the SE and SXT 30th Anniversary Edition twain are unavailable in this 31st year of production.
All iterations of this downsized van are offered only in front-wheel-drive (FWD) format, which places the otherwise capable Grand Caravan at somewhat of a disadvantage when compared to, say, Toyota’s Sienna minivan with its all-wheel-drive (AWD) option. Furthermore, Asian usurpers of the minivan concept remain significantly roomier and more refined than either the Grand Caravan or its Town & Country kin. But fear not, the Grand Caravan lineup still packs a slew of standard creature comforts and appearance bling, with the Town & Country upping the posh ante even more.
For instance, the base 2015 Grand Caravan AVP is again expected to come with standard 17-inch steel wheels, heated power-adjustable mirrors, auxiliary transmission cooling and a pair of sliding rear passenger doors adorning its profile, while cloth upholstery, full power accessories, reclining second-sow seats and dual-zone climate control should again grace the cabin.
Meantime, look for this entry-level trim to additionally sport standard cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering, as well as a single-CD player with 4 speakers with the entertainment components all interfaced via basic Uconnect 130.
Higher trims, furthermore, add stuff like upgraded 17-inch wheels, Sto 'n' Go fold-away rear seats and tri-zone climate control, with the flagship R/T also slated to return boasting a performance-tuned suspension, a bunch of added power features, leather upholstery, a remote garage door opener and a rear-view camera. Said top-shelf trim is also expected to boast the improved-for-2015 Uconnect 430 system managing a standard 530-watt sound system sporting 9 speakers and satellite radio.
Options, meantime, will doubtless include the Driver Convenience Group, flaunting Bluetooth streaming audio, heated front and second-row seats and a heated steering wheel, not to mention the Safety Sphere Group, with blind-spot warnings and cross-path detection, rear parking sensors and rain-sensing wipers. And yes, the Trailer Tow Group, with hitch and wiring as well as a load-leveling suspension, should again be available lineup-wide for 2015. Lastly, a pair of rear-seat DVD entertainment packages, one featuring Blu-Ray technology, can also be added to higher Grand Caravan trims, while available GPS navigation is reserved for the R/T exclusively.
Gearheads out there, meanwhile, can rest assured that the Flex Fuel (FFV) 3.6-liter V6 powerplant, again managed by the ubiquitous 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission, will return for 2015. Thus, look for the return of 283 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque from this peppy 6-banger, with mileage once again estimated at 17 mpg city/25 highway. Towing is, of course, expected to remain maxed out at 3,600 pounds with the proper equipment.
To finish up, standard safety stuff aboard each 2015 Grand Caravan iteration includes 4-wheel antilock braking (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, 3-row head airbags, daytime running lights and a post-collision safety system. The high-end R/T, furthermore, is again expected to add standard front fog/driving lights and a remote antitheft alarm to this already hefty safety resume.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.