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2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Passenger

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2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Passenger Review

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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 301 Ratings for the 2008 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.4/10
    Quality
    7.0/10
  • Reliability
    7.5/10
    Performance
    7.3/10
  • Comfort
    7.8/10
    Styling
    7.7/10

LOVE the Caravans!

By on Friday, February 05, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I purchased my first Caravan in 1987 and have driven nnothing else since. They have never let me down. I have used them in a small business I owned transporting school students and for my own personal use. Every one has been driven over 120,000 and still ran. Saftey, comfort, handling are all terrific. Fuel economy for the size of the vehicle is pretty good too. We travel a great deal so comfort AND storage means a lot. There are so many places to store suit cases, coolers, etc. We always travel with at least 5 people. The only reason I am getting rid of mine is because I am retiring and hitting the road in an RV."

My Experience with this vehicle is very good

By on Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "We liked all the features and recommend to anyone."

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

"This mini-van is very good to carry my whole family when we traveled different places. It is a good riding and comfortable. We also used a few times to carry tables and chairs as all seats are stowable to have a flat floor. This is mainly my wife's van. Only thing is the gas mileage and since she is changing job location to a further way. We would rather have a better gas mileage vehicle."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Excellent minivan

By on Sunday, December 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "perfect for road trip with all the storage"

Cons: "A little more comfort on the third row"

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

"We love this minivan. We bought as we like to travel and have space. The stow and go is a breeze to use and allows you to quickly get some extra space, no need to remove any seats. When travelling it also give you some extra space under the back passenger feet. We got ours with the single DVD player and satellite radio. We had no issues so far, the minivan is fun to drive, comfortable on long trips and quite economical. The engine is powerful and we had no issue keeping highway speed with a fully loaded van with three adults, 4 kids and a loaded trunk. Way cheaper than any other vans"

11 people out of 11 found this review helpful

A great van for handicap people

By on Monday, October 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000

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: "Great price for handicap use"

Cons: "None"

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

"This van has been modified for handicap use, with the hydraulic lift. The lift can lower on regular surface. The front passenger can move back so the Wheelchair passenger can move forward."

14 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Have had no problems other than transmission

By on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great price vs. other vans, rides & drives great"

Cons: "lousy transmission"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Roomy, drives and rides great, small interior trim problems, transmission has a mind of its own. Never knows when to change gears. Good gas milage for a big car."

16 people out of 27 found this review helpful

Good Value!

By on Wednesday, September 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great comfort, solid build, low price"

Cons: "acceleration, so so fuel economy"

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

"Well people may say I am crazy, but we traded Honda Odyssey few yeas older for Dodge Grand Caravan 2013 and I personally love it. Compared to a previous ride, it was lot cheaper to get comparably equipped van than competition. It is more comfortable for a tall driver and longer rides than Honda (at least the model that doesn't have mechanical seat adjustments). In general it is more comfortable than Honda (especially for the driver). You have better visual view on the road from Dodge. The only thing noticeable is that acceleration is not responsive as Honda's, but are you buying this car for racing? I usually drive this car very fast and it is alright, but Honda may start faster when the light turns green. Also, mpg may not be great, but you should get what is stated for the car."

17 people out of 27 found this review helpful

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