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2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Passenger

Overview
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2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Passenger Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.0

The 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is locked in a struggle to regain turf it has lost to newer, sleeker, and more affordable competitors. A new pricing structure and more standard equipment across the line are only part of Dodge's battle plan, which it hopes will put the 2012 Grand Caravan minivan back on top of a segment essentially invented by Dodge. If its lackluster exterior styling isn't a put-off, there is much to like about the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan minivan. The Grand Caravan includes some segment exclusive features such as the efficient Stow 'n Go second-row seats that fold into the floor, and a best-in-class horsepower rating from its 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine. For those who need a purely work-oriented van, Ram carries a non-passenger version of the Grand Caravan (dubbed the Ram C/V) fitted with numerous options catering to your every delivery-oriented need.

You'll Like This Car If...

If your minivan shopping list is all about functionality, features and price, the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is bound to be an attractive option.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a minivan with a bit of an edge, the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan's rather conservative styling probably won't float your boat. Both the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna hold far higher resale and reliability ratings (as well as price tags), and the Sienna is the only van in this segment to offer the option of all-wheel drive (AWD).

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Dodge Caravan minivan carries over largely unchanged for 2012. A new American Value Package (AVP) is offered creating the lowest-priced minivan in the segment. The AVP package has a host of features including second- and third-row Stow 'n Go seating, cruise control, and a V6 engine.

Driving the Grand Caravan Passenger

Driving Impressions Thanks to last year's extensive overhaul of its suspension, steering and transmission, the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is one of the best-handling and most enjoyable minivans on the road today....

Of course, much of the Grand Caravan's thrill comes from its potent 283-horsepwoer V6 engine, which has tremendous pulling power yet achieves world-class fuel economy ratings of 17-mpg city and 25 highway. Low-end torque is what is required to move a heavy object quickly from a standing stop and the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan minivan has it in spades. An ample helping of sound-deadening material and a stiffer chassis help minimize outside road and wind noise as well as calm squeaks and rattles. The thin Stow 'n Go seats may look a bit stiff, but they are actually quite supportive and comfy, designed with special foam cushions that help fight fatigue on long trips. 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 Wi-Fi unit to the system, transforming your Grand Caravan into a rolling internet hot spot.

Tailgate seating
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.

2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Passenger Details
Interior

While the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan's exterior doesn't thrill us, its interior is a different story altogether. The large one-piece dash and detailed instrument clusters are among the nicest in the minivan world, featuring soft-touch surfaces, chrome bezels and colorful backlighting. The 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan minivan is loaded with storage areas, and on Crew and R/T trims, with an available "super console" between the front seats. This Super Console is large enough to hold 1-liter drinks or hide a large purse. Soft surfaces abound in the Grand Caravan, as do little details like premium stitching on the seats and clever overhead lighting throughout the cabin. The 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan's Stow 'n Go seating folds completely into the large floor wells, which can be used to store more stuff when the seats are in place. The third-row seat can be stowed or flipped back 180-degrees to create the perfect perch for tailgate parties. Among the Grand Caravan's more desirable options is a heated steering wheel, a power-folding 60/40 bench seat, built-in rechargeable LED flashlights and heated second-row seats.

Exterior

Where it was once on the cutting edge of minivan design, the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is now behind the curve. Although some nice exterior upgrades last year help add a bit more character, the overall boxy shape and flat sides stand in stark contrast to the elegant flowing features of the Nissan Quest and Honda Odyssey. Unique to the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan minivan is its Stow 'n Place roof-rack system featuring swiveling roof-rack crossbars that can stow away in the side rails, thus helping to reduce drag and wind noise when not in use. The Grand Caravan's large sliding side doors can be power operated and fitted with roll-down power windows (SXT, Crew and R/T trims). Rear shaded privacy glass covers most of the side glass, and, on upper-level trims, the rearmost glass panel can be vented for better airflow.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

A base 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan SE-AVP includes keyless entry, heated side mirrors, 2-zone manual air conditioning, rear wiper/washer, rear defroster, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, Stow 'n Go second- and third-row seating, AM/FM/CD/MP3 4-speaker stereo with steering-wheel audio controls and auxiliary audio input jack, cloth seating and 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers. All models feature a 3.6-liter V6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, electronic traction and stability control and 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. Standard safety equipment includes front, front side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags.

Optional Equipment

The 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan offers four additional trims beyond the base SE-AVP: SE, SXT, 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 an Infinity 506-watt 9-speaker audio upgrade, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, satellite radio, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, rearview monitor, Uconnect Web mobile Wi-Fi 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.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan minivan offers only one engine choice: 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 6-speed automatic shifts seamlessly and, unlike in some other minivans 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.

3.6-liter V6
283 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (gasoline), 12/18 (E85)

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2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
6.9
Out of 10

Based on 282 Ratings for the 2008 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.4/10
    Quality
    7.0/10
  • Reliability
    7.5/10
    Performance
    7.4/10
  • Comfort
    7.9/10
    Styling
    7.8/10

This is a very versatile yet comfortable vehicle!

By on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Comfort, Ulitity, Hauling Power, Room!"

Cons: "Fuel Economy, Road noise at acceleration, Resale"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The Dodge Grand Caravan is one of the most versatile and affordable vehicles on the road. While it might not do everything as well as other specific vehicles - it does all things well! It has the utility of a truck, the comfortable ride of a family car, and the people hauling capacity of a van. The engine is peppy and powerful- and can tow smaller loads well. It does get a bit loud and a little buzzy when accelerating at higher speeds - but performs well when you aren't leaning on it hard. ( After-all, this isn't meant to be a sporty vehicle!) The interior is very comfortable for around town use - and works well for longer hauls with the fairly plush bucket seats. The stow-and-go seating system is the best out there. While the seats are not as large and plush as other mini-vans, they are much more versatile and fold out of the way in a flash to give one a HUGE cargo hauling capacity. My wife and I use this like the bed of a truck, and sometimes use it as a bed for an overnight camping trip! As I said before, this vehicle does all things well, and for a very affordable price. It might not maintain its new purchase price as well as other foreign mini-vans, but it is a REAL bargain if one purchases a lightly used late model! That's what WE did, and we couldn't be happier with our purchase."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Too much maintenance and repair costs

By on Monday, May 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "I like the stow and go seating."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"There is some kind of design flaw with the rear of this vehicle or something wrong with the computer. I have replaced the rear wheel bearings twice. I have also had 3 rear brake jobs. I think the computer in the car has the front and rear braking system mixed up and the rear brakes are used far to much. I also had to replace the alternator at 120000 miles, I'm not sure if that is typical. The other thing that bugs me about this vehicle is the constant swaying from side to side. I thought the alignment was off or the tires needed balance but nope, it's just a dodge mini van thing."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Typical minivan

By on Friday, May 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Comfortable Interior, good mpg"

Cons: "snow makes it slip on drive wheels"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"Not a bad vehicle but living in snow country this vehicle leaves a lot to be desired! It's fine when the roads have been plowed but if there's any snow-pack it just doesn't want to start going without slipping & sliding on the drive wheels! Next vehicle will be AWD!!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

These vans EAT BRAKES! Comfortable enough

By on Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Comfortable ride, nice interior amenities"

Cons: "Premature brake wear, suspension noises"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Over the past couple years we have purchased 7 Grand Caravans (2011-2014 models) for our elder transportation business. We also have bought a few Toyota Siennas. The Grand Caravans are adequate; they're comfortable, smooth driving for the most part, and user friendly. CON: We have been VERY DISAPPOINTED in the brake quality on these vans. I used to work for a Dodge dealer as a tech in the 90s, and we had consistent problems with Caravan brakes. Well, it seems nothing has changed in that department; in fact, I think they're worse now! We're seeing stuck calipers (leading to brake pad and rotor destruction) at 20K- 25K miles intervals on several of the vans. And, we're talking front AND rear brakes! And no, they don't salt the roads in our community and we don't drive them hard. Our local shop says they're seeing this all the time on late model GCs. I wrote to Chrysler and got the usual "We're sorry for your inconvenience but brakes are a wear item, blah, blah, blah. We won't be offering any assistance. End of story." Meanwhile, our Siennas go at least 50K miles (often 70K) before they need brakes. So, long story short, if you can do your own brake jobs (not a hard job for most home mechanics) or you can live with paying a shop $300 - $400 every 25K miles to do the job, then the Grand Caravan is not a bad ride."

12 people out of 16 found this review helpful

best vehicle we have ever owned. Won't by anything

By on Friday, April 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "easiest vehicle ever to drive,"

Cons: "gas mileage is soso"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We have owned the Dodge Grand Caravan since 2005. Not only is it roomy to travel in with 2 big dogs and a cat, the ride is very comfortable. My husband falls asleep all the time because it is that comfortable. The Grand Caravan is the easiest vehicle I have ever driven. I would recommend the Dodge Grand Caravan in a heart beat."

10 people out of 21 found this review helpful

Servers.....

By on Monday, March 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great Value, Very Comfortable"

Cons: "Spare tire hard to get to."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Servers the purpose it was designed for very, very well. I've had this vehicle for 5 years and have had zero work done on it other than the routine maintenance. Tires and Battery has been replaced and tires of course. Visibility it excellent and very comfortable on the highway and in the city. With the seats down, you can haul just about anything you can haul in a pickup. Also have pulled a very small trailer without any extra effort. While this is an old design, it continues to fulfill expectations."

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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