By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 6.7
The 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan remains as one of the Big Three minivan choices out there, alongside the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. There are lots of good reasons for this, well beyond the fact that the Caravan was the first modern minivan those 30-plus years ago. The Grand Caravan boasts the most powerful V6 engine in its class, a cleanly finished and modern interior, plus lots of high-tech and family-friendly features like the Stow 'n Go seating system, which folds the 2nd-row seats down into the floor. While it's true that the Dodge Grand Caravan isn't particularly interesting to drive, and its styling is about as box-on-wheels as it gets, its low price – even when fully loaded – makes it a killer value.
If you're looking for family transportation, and you don't have a lot of money to spend, then the 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan minivan is about the only vehicle on your list.
KBB Expert Ratings
This year, Dodge ups the value quotient on the Grand Caravan minivan with two new Plus Packages, which bundle popular features at a discount.
Driving Impressions While the 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan isn't a drag to drive, it's definitely starting to show its age. Its 283-horsepower V6 engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission make it the...... hot rod of the minivan class, and the brakes do a good job of hauling it to a stop again, too. Of course, the engine's really there to haul up to seven big Americans around, and drag an additional 3,600 pounds of their stuff with the optional towing package. The suspension blends competence and comfort nicely, and the decently weighted steering makes the Dodge Caravan an enjoyable long-haul companion. However, it feels ponderous in parking lots thanks to the wide turning circle, lacks many of the more modern touches we see in newer Dodge and Chrysler products, and both the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna offer a more satisfying driving experience, albeit at a price premium.
3.6-LITER V6 ENGINE
This 283-horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is a perfect fit for this big family hauler. With a 6-speed automatic, shifting is smooth, the engine responds quickly to the gas pedal, and even fuel economy is acceptable, if not class-leading.
The 2015 Dodge Caravan's price gives it a definite leg up against competitors like the Honda Odyssey or the Toyota Sienna. With a starting price around the $22,000 mark, and topping out at about $36,000 fully loaded, the low price will help buyers overlook some of its age-induced flaws.
The 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan offers up a clever and comfortable interior for its seven passengers. One of its aces is cargo flexibility, primarily due to the Stow 'n Go 2nd-row seats, which quickly fold into the floor to maximize cargo space without removing the heavy seats. The downside is that this limits the Grand Caravan to only seven passengers, unlike most of its competitors, which can seat up to eight. Those seven have comfortable seats, two available rear video screens and plenty of other amenities. The driver gets a nicely designed instrument panel and plenty of knickknack space.Exterior
If you think form should follow function, you're going to love the looks of the 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan. It's not ugly by any means, but the plain wraps around a very functional and family-friendly vehicle. The two sliding doors are a godsend to anybody who's ever been trapped in a crowded parking lot, and they're available with a power sliding mechanism as well. If there's not enough cargo space behind the third row, the Stow 'n Place roof-rack system uses swiveling roof-rack crossbars that can be stowed away, out of sight, in the side rails.
The base Grand Caravan AVP comes pretty well equipped, starting with the 283-horsepower engine, 17-inch wheels, remote keyless entry and air conditioning in front and in the rear. It also comes with tilt/telescope steering, steering-wheel-mounted controls for the audio system, and storage bins hidden in the floor in front of the 2nd- row seats. All Grand Caravans come with 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.
The Grand Caravan SE is the step up from the AVP, and includes Stow 'n Go and tinted glass standard, plus 3-zone automatic climate control. The new SE Plus package adds black leather trim inside, 2nd-row power windows, the Uconnect Voice Command with Bluetooth, along with streaming audio and other must-haves. The SXT comes standard with power sliding doors and a power liftgate, all for less than $30,000, while the R/T gets a monochrome exterior and upgraded interior treatment. Options include parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring with cross-path detection, dual DVD screens and a towing package.
Only one engine is available for the 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan: a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Known as the Pentastar, it's an excellent V6 engine, delivering smooth power and pretty good fuel economy. The engine gets paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission that delivers smooth shift action and, unlike some other transmissions in other vehicles, doesn't have the annoying characteristic of continually "hunting" for the correct gear. Finally, the V6 is E85-compatible, so it can operate on blends of gasoline and ethanol.
283 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg (gasoline), 12/18 mpg (E85)
The base 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan AVP carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of a little under $22,000, including the destination charge. The SE adds about $3,000 to that price, but the $28,000 SXT model offers the best blend of features and price, in our opinion. The R/T starts at about $31,000, and with options, can run into the $38,000 range. The Dodge's price advantage over the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna is clear: The base price on a Sienna is nearly $6,000 higher, while a base Honda Odyssey LX is nearly $8,000 higher than a Grand Caravan AVP. Before heading to the dealer, be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying in your area. Also, note that while the prices are lower in the beginning, the Dodge doesn't hold its value as well as its Japanese competitors.