2011 Dodge Grand Caravan Review

Grand Caravan

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3.8 5 stars
Based on 6 reviews

2011 Dodge Grand Caravan Overview

Though for some years now considered the poster child for all that’s wrong with the American automobile industry, Chrysler/Dodge has a winner in its 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan. An all but complete do-over of the exterior and interior, a major shuffling of the trim lineup, and the whittling of two mediocre and one very good engine down to a single more-than competent powerplant has suddenly elevated this one-time pariah among the likes of Honda’s Odyssey and Toyota’s Sienna, two of its perennial competitors. This seven-passenger minivan's lineup is comprised of four trims for 2011, the base Express, lower-midlevel Mainstreet, amped-up Crew, and the pseudo-sporty, definitely top-shelf R/T. All feature split-folding rear seats with reclining Stow ’n Go second-row seating that complement a decently workable third-row seat to present 144 cubic feet of cargo room with, believe it or not, a genuinely flat cargo deck. The popular Stow ‘n Go seats fold completely flat into the floor and when upright, provide ample extra cabin storage. A more pliable dash and sportier gauges are just two of the interior improvements for the Grand Caravan’s 2011 lineup, while a new grille highlights the exterior of this class-climbing minivan. Alas, the Grand Caravan is still available with only front-wheel drive (FWD), but a well-wrought 6-speed transmission that debuted in the 2009 Grand Caravan SXT now graces all four trims and keeps mileage, pulling power, and engine noise far more manageable than did the outdated 4-speed of yesteryear.

A single engine offering, a 283-hp, 3.6-liter Flex Fuel V6, powers the 2011 Caravan lineup. Under the tutelage of a six-speed shiftable automatic transmission, the 6-banger throws down 260 lb-ft of torque for a maximum towing capacity of 3,600 pounds with the optional tow package installed. Variable valve timing allows the V6 to get some 17/25 mpg, and Flex Fuel technology allows the Grand Caravan to burn E85 ethanol-based fuel as well as regular unleaded gasoline.

Though not yet at the pinnacle of the minivan heap (even though it introduced the genre way back when), the 2011 Grand Caravan offers significantly more cabin refinement than previous versions. The base Express trim, for example, is delivered with such standard amenities as 16-inch steel wheels, cloth upholstery, three rows of seating, reclining second-row seats, power front windows, doors, and heated outside mirrors, and tri-zone air conditioning. Niceties like cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering are also thrown in, standard, while entertainment is provided via an MP3-capable single-CD player with six speakers. The Mainstreet adds 16-inch aluminum wheels, second-row power windows, and third-row power vent windows, while the almost plush Crew trim boasts such additional standard goodies as 17-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack, power-adjustable pedals, driver’s-side power-adjustable seat and lumbar support, universal remote garage door opener, and a rear-view camera. The Grand Caravan Crew trim also sports standard Sirius satellite radio and Chrysler’s Uconnect audio, communications, and navigation wireless interface technology. Finally, there’s the flagship R/T trim level that tosses standard leather upholstery, power-adjustable front passenger seating, remote power door locks, and a 500-watt Infinity premium audio system with nine speakers into the mix.

Options include rear-seat DVD entertainment, heated front seats and steering wheel, touchscreen DVD navigation, remote engine start, step running boards, a power liftgate and sliding passenger-side rear door, and a Trailer Tow Prep Group. Lower Grand Caravan trims also gain several items that are standard for the higher trims, while some options are available only in package form.

Safety-wise, the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan comes equipped with standard four-wheel disc ABS, traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, three-row head airbags, front head restraint whiplash protection, and a post-collision safety system across the lineup. The Crew and R/T trims, meanwhile, add in standard front fog/driving lights, and both can be equipped with the optional Safety Sphere Group with Blind Spot and Cross-Path Detection and an auto-dimming interior mirror. Additionally, the Mainstreet, Crew, and R/T can all be equipped with an optional remote antitheft alarm.

Owners of the 2010 and 2011 Grand Caravan are turned off by its green dash lighting as well as a few glitches with interior gizmos. Questionable Chrysler/Dodge reliability also rears its ugly head, though many are willing to give this classy mini a chance to prove itself. Kudos from owners, meantime, encompass the 2011 Grand Caravan’s tweaked exterior and interior, massive cabin and cargo spaces, the new 3.6-liter V6, and, above all, the well-designed Stow ‘n Go second-row seats. Value is a word that owners also use a lot when talking about their new Grand Caravan.

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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.

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    Dodge Grand Caravan Questions

    Vegasrookie
    80

    I Disconnected The Alternator From My 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan To Replace I...

    Taking the alternator off was a snap. Getting it out of the compartment seems to be my roadblock.

    722 views with 2 answers (last answer 3 weeks ago)
    MetaMas
    0

    Van Won't Start Battery Was Charged No Sound From Engine

    Hello all. I am new to the forum. I am having trouble with my 2011 Grand Caravan R/T It was running great. I drove it to store and when I got back into it would not start. I turn the key and it has...

    11 views with 1 answer (last answer 4 weeks ago)
    pec2926
    0

    I Need To Replace Heater Controls For My 2011 Grand Caravan And The Books S...

    I can get bottom out but it hang's up on the vents. Is there some clip i am missing?

    7 views with no answers yet
    Laurie Moyer
    0

    2011 Dodge Grand Caravan...where Are The Cam Position Sensors Located? And ...

    13 views with no answers yet
    hmisuraca
    0

    I Replaced The Batteries On The Key Fobs Of My 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan.

    I replaced the batteries on our key fobs for our 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan and thy don't wok now. Someone said we may need to have them reprogrammed. If so is this something I can do? I can't afford ...

    17 views with 1 answer (last answer 5 months ago)