By KBB.com Editors
The Grand Caravan may have been the vehicle that started the American minivan revolution, but it now has plenty of competition. A somewhat bland redesign a few years back, coupled with some quality issues, allowed the Grand Caravan's rivals to slip past the venerable family hauler, a situation worsened by Chrysler's financial meltdown. The 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan looks to regain some buyers by offering a host of interior improvements, aggressive new pricing and a freshened appearance. Still, with stalwarts such as the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna firmly entrenched in the market – and the bargain-priced Kia Sedona – the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan has its work cut out, especially in a time of rising fuel prices and a still-shaky economy.
If you're looking for a full-size family hauler that's as clever about maximizing space as it is pampering your kids, the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan leads the pack.
There is a lot to like in the newly-improved 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan, but the jury is still out on its long term reliability and resale value prospects. Also, if all-wheel-drive is an important consideration in your next minivan purchase, only the Toyota Sienna now offers it.
The 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan receives a major overhaul, with more attention paid to its interior and exterior styling, a revised suspension and new equipment packaging. The standard powertrain on all Grand Caravan models is now Dodge's Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine teamed to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Driving Impressions Improvements to the suspension, steering and transmission have transformed the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan into a world-class minivan. The new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 has lots of power and low-end torque...(torque is what helps quickly move a loaded minivan from a dead stop or when passing), yet delivers relatively good fuel economy, at least on the highway. More sound-deadening material and structural improvements help quiet the Grand Caravan's cabin, while improved seat cushions help fight fatigue on long trips; the Stow 'n Go seating has also been improved this year, with more padding and softer materials. Although we found the Grand Caravan easy to drive, its somewhat wide turning radius makes U-turns and tight parking maneuvers a bit more burdensome.
Uconnect hard-drive navigation
With navigation by Garmin, Sirius Travel Link and a 30GB hard drive for music storage, the voice-activated navigation system does everything except drive (and it probably won't be long before we see that.) You can even add a mobile WiFi unit to the system, transforming your Grand Caravan into a rolling internet hot spot.
Perfect for a day at the game or a shaded family picnic, the Grand Caravan's third-row seat can be flipped 180 degrees backward, creating a comfortable couch on which to perch your weary bones.
Dodge has made major improvements to the 2011 Grand Caravan's interior, adding a new one-piece dash, a larger and more detailed instrument cluster and a number of new storage compartments, including an available "super console" fitted between the front seats (it can conceal a large purse and accommodate one-liter drink bottles.) Fit and finish are vastly better this year, with more soft-touch materials on the dash and door panels, better lighting and more ergonomic seating. The Grand Caravan also offers one-touch Stow 'n Go seats that fold flush into the floor and a tailgate third-row seat that flips 180 degrees to face outward when the rear hatch is open. Some of the Grand Caravan's more desirable options include a heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, a power-folding 60/40 bench seat and a built-in rechargeable LED flashlight.Exterior
Although the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan retains its familiar silhouette, the new model includes more detailing in the grille, headlamps, wheel designs and rear fascia. An available Stow 'n Place roof-rack system allows the roof-rack cross bars to be concealed in the side rails when not in use, thus reducing wind noise and improving aerodynamics. Large sliding side doors permit quick and easy access to the Grand Caravan's interior and shaded privacy glass keeps prying eyes from seeing valuables left in the open. All models except the Express feature power-retractable side windows and third-row power vent windows, while the Crew and R/T trim feature power sliding side doors.
A base 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan Express includes keyless entry, heated side mirrors, three-zone manual air conditioning with rear-seat heater controls, rear wiper/washer, rear defroster, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, Stow 'n Go second- and third-row seating, AM/FM/CD/MP3 six-speaker stereo with steering-wheel audio controls and auxiliary audio input jack, 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers and cloth seating. All models feature a 3.6-liter V6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, electronic traction and stability control and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. Standard safety equipment includes front, front side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags.
The 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan offers three additional trims beyond the base Express: Mainstreet, Crew and R/T. Each trim adds various features that are standard on some and optional on others. Among the more notable options are the Stow 'n Place roof rack, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, leather seating surfaces, a power liftgate and the Uconnect GPS hard-drive-based navigation and entertainment system featuring 30GB hard drive, Garmin navigation and voice-command feature. Other options of note include a 506-watt nine-speaker audio upgrade, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, satellite radio, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, rearview monitor, Uconnect Web mobile WiFi Hot Spot, rear backup sensors, Blind Spot Monitoring system with Cross Path protection, manual sunshades, rain-sensing wipers, power-adjustable pedals and power sliding side doors.
The 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan sees its powertrain choices paired from three to just one: A 3.6-liter V6 engine developing a class-leading 283 horsepower. We think this is one of Dodge's best V6 engines to date and a long overdue requirement for the Grand Caravan. The new six-speed automatic shifts seamlessly and, unlike some other minivan's we've tested, resists the urge to hunt around for the perfect gear. The new V6 is also E85-compatible, meaning it can run on a combination of gasoline and ethanol.
283 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (Gasoline), 12/18 (E85)
By Delaware Rob on Thursday, October 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good value and 100,000 powertrain warrantee"
Cons: "SE model has no rear tinted glass"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"My 2012 Grand Caravan SE is vastly improved over older models. The 3.6 new engine has plenty of power, and great on gas for such a large vehicle. The interior is nice, and the seats are very supportive on long trips. Stow & go middle seats are an added convenience, but with the 3rd row seats down there is tons of space. The new 6 speed AT is great and has a manual option for more power and control. The ride is a bit firm, but when loaded can handle very well. I paid $21000 for this Se model, about the cost of many small under powered cars. I've averaged 17-19 mpg city, and 25-27 mpg on long highway trips fully loaded at 65-75 mph."
20 people out of 28 found this review helpful
By booboom on Tuesday, October 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "lots of room to haul stuff"
Cons: "replacement parts are way to expensive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"it was ok untill I had to replace a y hose and I could not buy just the hose you have to buy the hose and a pipe and you do not need the pipe it was so stupid. I need a reliable car and this is not it."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Tom on Monday, October 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good value, does the intended job."
Cons: "We listen to books on cd. It would be great if we"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have driven this car for 3 years for 45,000 miles. This is the second caravan that I have had and I am rather pleased with the performance an (knock on wood) reliability. The fold down seats are a real plus for me since we haul stuff more often than people. I don't understand the low ratings others have given this car. I think it is good value for the money."
12 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By Ted on Thursday, September 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Did not know that a auto with this size could get such good mileage (28 to 32) with speed limit speeds. The fold down seats are the best. Other reports say that it is not quite but with my ringing ears who knows. I really love all the features for the price and mileages. I don't see how a family can go wrong with this auto."
17 people out of 31 found this review helpful
By Sons on Saturday, September 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 950overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Value, Cargo Space!"
Cons: "Its still a minivan."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I personally was never going to EVER buy a minivan, because frankly they are about as boring as watching CSPAN at 2AM. Yes I have done that to put me to sleep! I rented this 2012 and then 2013 for 2 cross country trips and it turned me into a full convert. These things can do it ALL that SUV's can't with better MPG. Sure some of the styling of SUV's can be "cooler," but Dodge played it smart in 14 with the blackout package. That was the final straw for me to pull the trigger and buy. Love it!! You get R/T looks at an SE price. I absolutely love what they have done with the styling of the GC 30th Anny for 14. The blackout package was not merely "putting lipstick on a pig." It added the sense of, "yeah it's ok for a guy to drive this completely functional vehicle." Love the fact that I can have all the seats down in less than 5 mins and boom - cargo van. Then switch over just as fast to hauling the kiddos. The versatility of GC can't be beat. Disclaimer- I am partial to Dodge after having a 2001 Dakota for years and I personally would never buy a vehicle in which the worker wasn't treated fairly. I am 100% partial to American originated cars. I know these are made in Canada, but the real $ stays here, not vice versa like some imports that are merely "assembled" here. Never liked the look of the competitors imports anyway. My opinion, buy it, you'll love it."
10 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By rsm on Friday, September 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "economical, roomy, high off road, low maintenance"
Cons: "resale value low, too few cup holders,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We have purchased three grand caravans in succession (every 5-6 years) and have thoroughly enjoyed each one. We plan to buy a fourth soon."
10 people out of 16 found this review helpful