2007 Detroit Auto Show: 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan

Dgc1

From outside the Dodge Grand Caravan, there isn’t a lot to wow the eyes of potential minivan shoppers. The all-new Grand Caravan is certainly not as eye-catching as the Nissan Quest or Toyota Sienna. No, it — and the Chrysler Town & Country — is boxy, tried and true. All the interesting stuff is underneath the skin.

The big “must-have” feature is the Swivel ‘n Go seating system with two second-row captain’s chairs that can rotate 180 degrees to face the third row. There’s also a removable table for those Texas hold ’em fanatics or — more appropriate for the target market — travel board games like Battleship.

The interior finally catches up to the rest of the Dodge family, but we’ve found even those new vehicles to be a step below the competition. Also note the strange position of the shifter, right next to the gauge cluster. That has to be the oddest positioning we’ve ever seen, and until proven otherwise during a test drive we won’t believe it’s a more convenient placement than the standard column shifter. What is cool for the family set is an optional power fold-flat third row of seats and standard stability and traction control, plus side curtain airbags for all three rows.

We’ll have more from the floor on Sunday, but for now enjoy the photos below.   

Dgcfront

Dgcprofile

Dgcrearquarter

Dgcinterior1

Dgcinterior2

Dgcshifter

Dgcswivelngo

Dgcrearseat

Dgc3rdrow

Dgcglove

By David Thomas | January 5, 2007 | Comments (37)

Comments 

Lil'Tom

A dash mounted shifter makes sense in a minivan as it frees up a fair amount of cargo space and keeps it out the way when mom has to reach back and smack someone. It's also out of the reach of little hands.

Mike The Mighty :)

This car, oh I mean box, is the ugliest minivan I've seen in my entire life. Design Dodge??? Wake up it's 2007 not 1982!

The shifter looks harder to reach to me. We'll have to see in person on Sunday. Remember they had a column shifter before.

bowrider

There is only so much you can do to make a minivan look good. And, Nissan did it with the Quest.

yet the Quest is the only minivan we could think of in the office that has ever received major negative comments about the exterior. Love or hate is not a smart design move for a minivan.

Drew F.

As opposed to just 'Hate'?

Toyota Troll

Those swiveling chairs and that table thing in the middle of the passenger compartment can't possibly be safe.

DodgeFan

I remember driving the old Plymouth Voyager. Dodges stow n go is still the best. The swivel and table is something different, hard really to reinvite this segment. Personally I don't think Toyota or Honda are really ahead of dodge here. I do think dodge / chrysler really need some more fuel efficent engines. Although there is only so much you can do, and not be accused of being under powered.

Kathy

I like the movement of the shifter up high but I'm not to kean on Dodge quality. Been there done that and have since moved to Honda and will not go back until Honda gives me a reason too. One of my good friends is also one of my neighbors and she drives a MB. Even though it's only a few years old I have on more than one occassion picked her up at the dealer after the car broke down. If I recall MB owns Dodge so at least the quality seams to be consistently (sp?) bad for all of their companies.

Kris

Kathy, you're aware of Honda's horrible tranny record right? Our 2001 Odyssey's tranny has held up well so far (90k miles), but we've had many problems with brakes, rattles, rear window motors, power doors, and oil leaks.

The engine is fantastic, but the rest is very average.

Barkus

eww... ugly tan plastic everywhere! Even though the swiveling seats are cool, every thing else is so horrendously executed.

Kris,
Sorry I don't think your issues with your Honda are reflected in JD Power and other quality indicators as "horrible."

J

Slap the Caliber's front, Commander's tailgate and tail lights on a Freestar, and there you got a new Caravan.
(At least it looks like it from thwe outside.)

sum dude

hm why did Chrysler design that front end to look mean? Mean looks and minivans go togeather about as well as mosquitos and happiness. I have heard about Hondas transmission problems, friend of mines mom had to have their tranny replaced after about 30k miles i think, its a 2003 honda, idk wat type.

chris k

Kathy I have a 2002 Caravan with 230,000 km and no probs so far...so far I mean. For the rest of you what are you looking for in a van? A viper with 7 seats? Come on.. A van is a van. And this new doge looks as good as it gets. I have driven the new Asian minivans and they suck compared to my Caravan. So if the new Doge Caravan and Chryler T&C are a better ride than I'm sold!

THE EXTERIOR STYLING IS BETTER. I LIKE THE BOXY LOOK WHICH MOST LIKELY WILL TRANSLATE INTO MORE INTERIOR ROOM. THE INTERIOR IS A FLOP. THE DESIGN IS CLEAN, BUT A CLOSER LOOK WILL REVEAL THE CHEAPNESS IN QUALITY WITH HIGH USAGE OF TOYBOX PLASTICS. THE ADDITION OF A NAV IS A MUST HAVE AVAILABLE TECHNOLOGY. THE CENTER TABLE IS AWESOME SINCE THE OUTBOARD PASSENGERS CAN PLAY CARDS OR JUST SPEAK FACE-TO-FACE. NEW IDEAS ALONG WITH INNOVATIVE FEATURES LIKE THE SECOND ROW ROLL DOWN WINDOWS. THE SHIFTER IS AWKWARDLY PLACED AND WILL MOST LIKELY CAUSE A HASSLE. DUAL GLOVE BOXES ARE A PLUS BUT ATTENTION TO DETAILS IS LACKING. IT NEEDS TO BE FLOCKED LINED. GREAT IMPROVEMENT OVER THE PREVIOUS GENERATION WILL DRAW MORE BUYERS BUT THE ODDSSEY IS THE CLASS LEADER. THE KIA SEDONA/HYUNDAI ENTOURAGE HAS ALREADY GOT THE HINT THAT THE OUTSIDE AND INSIDE GO HAND IN HAND IN DOMINATION. THE STOW-N-GO SYSTEM IS IMPRESSIVE AND THAT IS ONE MAJOR MOVE ALL THE OTHER MINIVANS NEED TO CATCH UP ON.

Moparman

If ever there were a opportunity for DCX to stand out with something nobody else offers, a hybrid minivan would be the way to do go... too bad they're doing it with the Durango first.

Tor

I dislike the Dodge Uplander styling. It failed for Chevy so why would it work for Dodge? Its a minivan so style it like one (like the successful Toyota Siena).

The exterior is important. Mini-vans are losing out BECAUSE of image. Everyone knows that a minivan is more practical (and better to drive and gets better fuel economy) than a similar based car-based SUV. People buy car-based SUVs because they are cooler and have a better image. To make a blander mini-van is the wrong way to go in combating this trend.

wheat

They are outsourcing the powetrain for the durango

I can't believe he said that the sienna was eye catching! did someone say EGH!

tommy blackston

I am not impressed at all with this new design. Chrysler has been doing a good job on it's other vehicles. guess they ran out of steam here cause it just don't look good at all.

archie

very sharp looking cars,logical evolution in design,excellent job.!!!

Happymantis

something tells me that archie is a Dodge/Chrysler executive.

Happymantis

having said that... I would be willing to put aside my prejudices if Dodge had created a really, really reliable minivan, even if it came at the cost of exterior design (looks destined for delivery jobs). It also has some of the most ingenious features.

PDL

I really like this fresh new look (still wonder why someone said the Sienna and Quest look "good". "Les gouts ne se discutent pas!-to each his/her own) I've had 3 Dodge minivans, and the ride was very pleasing: They have been reliable, tough, practical and more importantly affordable. My brother and brother-in-law have had Hondas and a Sienna. Not sure I need a Honda/Toyota minivan mortage, thank you very much. I was also disappointed (after all the fanfare and big reputation build up) with the rattles and the lack of refinement when I rode the Honda/Toyota. The new 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan will certainly be popular with families. I like what they've done with it. This family will be purchasing one when they appear in the fall of 2007.

Bryan Martin

My family is on its 3rd DCX minivan, and we will likely upgrade to this new version. If there is any question the newer minivans are reliable then take a look at what we use ours for:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v730/bmartin9122/Camping%20and%20Towing/Picture225.jpg
The tranny has never flinched. However, I can't say how happy I am to hear they are upgrading the top engine choice.

Jay K.

This minivan looks like a clear minivan to me. It has a interesting boxy shape. But chrysler's ingineous boxy design is probably going to give a lot more interior room. The only thing I am concerned about is the transmisson which Chrysler has probably fixed already. I drove the Asian minivans. They do not even come close in quaility and ride. Cool Swivel 'n' Go and Halo lights. I LOVE IT!!!

Jeff

There is some talk about reliability and J.D. Power. There is not much real difference between most makes now in quality. For instance, Honda and Dodge have been talked about in this post. In the latest Vehicle Dependability Study, which represents the number of problems after three years, Honda had 194 problems per 100 cars or 1.94 problems per car (PPC); Dodge had 258 problems per 100 cars or 2.58 PPC. The difference, after three years, is only 0.64 PPC. That works out to 0.21 PPC per year difference - not much. The difference between the best, Lexus (1.36 PPC), and the worst, Land Rover (4.38 PPC), is still just 3 PPC over three years.

Also, it would be interesting to seen how the questions are asked. I know in previous studies, J.D. Power counted things like poor fuel economy and wind noise against reliability studies. So the question is what is a "problem". Is it a glove box that rattles or a blown transmission or is it poor fuel economy.

In my opinion, Michael at www.truedelta.com is doing something useful - he is looking at how many days you are without your car for a repair. It seems like that would be a better indicator of major versus minor problems and the ability or desire of companies to repair their product. If the industry paid attention to that sort of study, they might actually work to make sure that when a problem does arise, it is solved quickly.

Jeff

By the way, J.D. Power has such trouble telling the difference in quality on new cars, the Initial Quality Study (IQS) now includes design defects. Even with that, their are still relatively small differences.

boring

I've had 2 Dodge minivans over the years. I felt that the best one they ever made was the 2001. After that they started cheapening out to the point where the 2007 models seem like junk compared to the 1997s. I was hoping that this new model would attempt to fix the cheap parts of the 2007. Judging by this picture, it didn't! It actually looks worse! There is cheap hard plastic everywhere, including on the dash.

The exterior shape is ok by me, but the interior, ugh! I don't think Dodge's current rugged and mean look does well on the Caravan.

I am currently driving a Pontiac minivan, and my next and possibly last van will probably be a 2001-2007 model, if they don't do better than this!

lisa

I like dodge. My 2001 minivan has been great and any repairs I've had have been normal under the constant abuse it gets with 4 kids and countless driving vacations. I was going to get a toyota minivan because the second row windows roll down but now will look at the dodge. It does seem boxy but maybe it's just the pics. As far as what looks "great", people it's a minivan!! No cool points just lots of convenience. Chances are high that it will be my next minivan. The dash mounted gear shift seems silly to me. What little hands?? If they can reach any part of the front, they shouldn't be in front, adjust the seatbelts!!

WHERE IS THE PASSENGER AIRBAG!!!

james

In my job, we transport the mentally and developmentally disabled around in minivans, sometimes full size vans like the Chevy Express, but before I had this job, almost 10 years ago, I had only driven cars, in the first grouphome I worked at, we had a 1998 dodge caravan, and I enjoyed being a little higher so I could see what was in front of me better, when that van was replaced we received a 2002 dodge caravan it was much nicer more options and when I needed to shop for a vehicle for myself I was shopping for minivans in 2004, though I had no family, as a single guy, I really had no purpose for a minivan. Though I drove Pontiac Montanas, Kia sedonas and of course the caravan, I really liked the Kia Sedona, it ran real nice and had a lot of cool features, price was good but the gas mileage sucked worse than the caravan.
When I have a family, a minivan will be in my future, though I like Honda,and Kia, I would probably turn to the real king of minivans and that is dodge. Just put a few more horses in there.

BRUCE THORNE

PROTECTIVE SCREEN IN FRONT OF AIR CONDITIONER-
CONDENSER IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY
TO PROTECT THE A/C CONDENSER
FROM ROCKS AND OTHER FOREIGN OBJECTS
WHICH DAMAGE CONDENSER AND ELIMINATE
THE AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM,
WHICH COST $1,000 TO REPAIR.

Rufus Luck

What on earth were the engineers thinking of when they designed the outside. This thing is Ugly. I like everything else but I will wait to buy another one when the body style changes.


I am impressed with this new design.Designers have done nice job.....

Wonderful!

Beautiful looking car! I like this style compaed with all the other styles out.

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