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 Momma G on Wednesday, January 28, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "cheap, convenient stow and go seats"
Cons: "it's just a mini van"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Adequate transportation for a family of six and their stuff. Our SXT has some convenient features but lacks a lot of little things that would make it a really nice vehicle. You get what you pay for. Unfortunately they don't hold their value very well so unless you pay cash or put a LOT down you'll be upside down in your loan really fast."
By Bradsrq on Thursday, January 22, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,100overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have owned 3 Dodge Caravans thus far and they have been great vehicles. I purchased this one used in 2013. It only had 18K miles at the time and was spotless. Looked like it had just driven out of the showroom. It is great for a lot of things. Plenty of room to haul anything you want with the stow n Go seats that fold into the floor. Holds up to 7 passengers for road trips. Have driven it on a 2000 mile round trip with no issues-handled good and got up to 27mpg highway. I plan on keeping this van for a long time."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Jojo on Saturday, January 03, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 200,878overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "most comfy ride"
Cons: "no power lift gate, but will have on the 2010"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We have owned a 1998, 2004, 2000, and 2008 in that order. We have loved everyone. Most comfortable ride of any mini-van I've ever ridden in. We drive a lot of miles. No major repairs, only routine maintenance on all. We drove our 1998 to 180K + miles before trading for the '04. We would have driven the '04 to it's death if my husband had not totaled it. The 2000 was a loaner from our body shop which we ended up purchasing and bought the '08 a year old with about 30,000 miles on it. Getting ready to purchase a 2010 with 44,000 miles. I can't imagine driving anything but a Caravan! Love, love, love!"
12 people out of 25 found this review helpful
By artful dodger on Tuesday, December 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Driven Dodge Caravans since first 4-speed manual tranny in 1984. 2010 DGC has more comfortable seats than Odyssey or Siena. DGC seats are concave whereas other van seats bulge outward at low-back area. Their seats are not comfortable for long distances. I put 4 Blizzak snows on this and drive 6+ hours through snowstorms to top of Vermont with confidence due to front-wheel-drive and this vehicle's drive train. The Stow-N-Go seats are unmatched by other vans for convenience. Although the DGC engine and tranny are a little rough the other features compensate. No, I don't work for Fiat/Chrysler"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Meg on Thursday, December 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "So much fun to drive, comfortable, good looking"
Cons: "Resale value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Got this vehicle for the safety features and I love the way it drives. No one really gets car sick, even in the very back seats. I have taken it twice to Disneyland which means going through the grape vine. Was able to run A/C at temps of 98F. Second time we began over heating but it was 107F. The space inside is great and I can fold down seats to put my 150 Alaskan Malamute in back. Its comfy, mileage is great and the 3.6L 283 horse engine never leaves you looking for more."
18 people out of 36 found this review helpful
By wesn001 on Thursday, December 04, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: To trade up to newer model
Pros: "Best in the world for trips and "curb shopping"
Cons: "Need more and better designed cup holders"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have owned nothing but a voyager/caravan (with the exception of the Pontiac Montana) since 1986. Had some transmission problems with the earlier models, but I think that has been solved and haven't had any problems with the last three. I traded up from a 2012 to a 2014 Gr Caravan. I love the "store and go", and the auto sliding side doors and windows. The only reasons for my "8" rating are that it's a little under-power in mountain country; I hate the seat belt chafing on my neck (but I don't think I'm going to find any car/model that fixes that); and the lack of an ashtray. I know I shouldn't be smoking, but an actual built in ashtray would make it easier to avoid ash deposited everywhere. I also wish that automatic headlights was a standard feature."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful