The Dodge Caravan is a front-wheel drive minivan produced by the Chrysler Corporation under the Dodge name brand. Introduced in 1984, the Caravan ushered in the minivan segment in the United States, spawning plenty of competitors. The Caravan featured a short wheelbase version and a long wheelbase Grand Caravan. In 2007, the short wheelbase model was discontinued, leaving only the longer Grand Caravan available for retail. The Caravan was ranked as the 13th best-selling automotive nameplate worldwide.
The Grand Caravan featured a number of different engine options in 2010. The smallest engine available is the 3.3-liter V6, producing 175 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 205 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. The next engine option available is the 3.8-liter V6. This engine produces 197 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 230 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. The 4-liter SOHC V6 is also available, with 251 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 259 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. In 2011, these engines were all replaced with a new single powerplant, the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. The Pentastar produces a healthy 283 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 260 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. EPA fuel economy figures for the Grand Caravan are 17 miles per gallon in city driving and 25 miles per gallon on the highway.
The idea of the minivan existed at various points in automotive history, but the form of the current front-wheel drive two-box minivan wasn't fleshed out until the early 1980s. The Caravan was introduced in 1983 for the 1984 model year, creating a brand new market segment in the process. The front-wheel drive minivan has since fielded a different array of engines and trim choices. The short wheelbase Caravan was discontinued in 2007, leaving only the long wheelbase Grand Caravan.
Five trim levels are available for the Grand Caravan: the Express, Mainstreet, Crew, R/T, and Cargo Van. All trim levels use the same Pentastar V6 engine. The lowest trim level on the Grand Caravan is the Cargo Van, intended mainly for light commercial duty. This trim features a cargo area with rubber flooring and a suspension tuned for commercial use. Topping the trim level list is the R/T, equipped with an appearance package featuring a special body color grille, body color side moldings, and 17-inch wheels. Standard features include second and third-row Stow n' Go seats, entertainment system with CD and DVD player, 9-speaker sound system, and side-impact air bags.
Prices for the Grand Caravan range from $21,000 to $31,000. Cash rebates and incentives can help reduce the price of the Grand Caravan below MSRP. With the new engines breathing life into a venerable platform and a vast array of features, the Grand Caravan proves to be a good choice for your next family hauler.
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