2011 Dodge Grand Caravan: First Look

2011grandcaravan

  • Competes with: Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey
  • Looks like: The interior is radically different; outside ... not so much
  • Drivetrain: 283-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 with six-speed transmission
  • Hits dealerships: Late 2010

The most important thing Dodge has changed to its upcoming Grand Caravan is the interior. It is all new and in line with the other recent Dodge models we’ve seen, like the Journey. However, the company is highlighting the performance of the new V-6 engine and a thoroughly revised suspension, touting it as “a minivan with the driving dynamics of a performance sedan.”

See, that’s where people just throw their hands up.


If the Grand Caravan can handle as well as a Honda Odyssey, it will be a terrific achievement. There’s no need to compare it to a BMW M3. Back to the important stuff, the most intriguing new interior feature looks to be a center console that flows outward from the dashboard. Most minivans rely on a separate storage bin that often can detach from the floor. This feature, called the “Super” center console, is optional. A heated steering wheel is another option, but most consumers will likely be swayed by more comfortable Stow ‘n Go seats and upgraded seating materials.
 
There will be four trim levels. In ascending order, they are Grand Caravan Express, Mainstreet, Crew and R/T. Dodge says the R/T will be the ultimate “Man-Van” in terms of performance, but what upgrades it may pack weren't revealed.

Comments 

Amuro Ray

The rap sheet of this vehicle is so long and so bad...

Too little, too late :(

Theo

I like what I see so far. I wish a side view had been included to discern how much lower it's supposed to be versus the current model. The interior looks terrific! Reliability issues aside, DGC is still a handsome American van, and worthy of consideration.

65Chrysler300

I think I will miss the massive ram logo, but the interior makes up for it.

Amuro Ray

Looks are subjective, Theo, 'coz to many, Caravan is just plain, and ugly. It looks - for a better word, utilitarian; the truth - a cargo van (esp in white color). There's no art form, or any futuristic look to it (esp compare to Toyota, Honda, and NIssan). It looks like the van from the early 80's, enlarged. I like the previous version way better.

And this is exactly why looks are subjective.

The problem is - in order for it to be worth of consideration, you REALLY have to "looK' at the reliability, specs (esp fuel economy), and reviews of the vehicle. These are just as important, if not more, than the styling of the vehicle. Those are the areas where the current gen Caravan's and rebadged ones have fallen short...WAY short! (Below avg as per JDPowers)

Zack

Where's the turbo four cylinder version? Families like to save gasoline too.

Amuro Ray

Forgot to comment on 1 thg 'bou those official pics...

SURFER driving a minivan? REALLY?????

Oh, please...

Mark M

Rear styling sucks. Did the front and rear designers ever meet to catch up on where the concept was going? The rear looks like a garage door on a storage unit.

AR,
Yeah I think that's more of a stretch than the WWII bomber pilot driving a minivan...

sheth

AR:

The chrsyler vans outsell the competition if you combine their sales. This is 100% better than the current one and I'd expect the sales dominance to continue. With this update the Sienna/Odyssey have NO real advantages over the Caravan. None. BTW, this is the best looking interior of the three vehicles although the Honda interior is pretty nice as well. Of course, the Odyssey's exterior is an abomination so....

Complaining about the press pics is just pathetic. Who cares? The staged photos have nothing to do with the relevance of the product.

looks are subjective but many agree the new Odyssey is ugly. I find this van to be a little dull but its not ugly in any way. Some nicer wheels would go a long way towards improving looks and the R/T model should take care of that. Its a tie with the Odyssey inside and this looks FAR better on the outside. Factor in a price that will probably be lower and the winner is clear.

You say the current van falls short in mileage- flat out lie. Sienna gets 18/24 and current Dodge gets 17/25. Chrysler says the new van should exceed that figure. JD power doesnt rate individual models on a basis of "above average" or "below average". It ranks brands by problems per vehicle and they rank vehicles by class. Perhaps you are thinking about CR which everyone knows is a publications that has a strong dislike for American vehicles- especially Chryslers. I bet the Routan gets average reliability in CR even though its mechanically identical to the chrysler vans.

The old vans were primarily criticized for interior materials. In case you missed it, the 2011 addresses that and ads a better engine. While no reviews have been conducted yet I would presume that Dodge has gone a LONG way towards addressing the complaints. If that be the case than you dont have a leg to stand on in terms of claiming this wont be competitive.

One area where the current vans havent fallen "way short"- sales. You conveniently left that out surprisingly.

Talley

This Chrysler van does not compare to the class leaders Toyota and Honda. Just like the Equinox and Regal can compare themselves all day long to the CRV and TSX they are still inferior. This is no different.

Amuro Ray

Sheth, u do realize that this is a posting 'bou the enhancement of the vehicle, and not 'bou the SALES of the vehicle, right?

The picture - I don't know why u take it so seriously - but tells u that the marketing folks don't put a heart onto selling the vehicle. Attack the market that is relevant to the minivan segment! There may be some minivan-surfers, but the last time I saw it, it was on the VW camper with a dude enjoying Carl's Jr. burger.

Belly

BTW, this is the best looking interior of the three vehicles although the Honda interior is pretty nice as well.
-Amazing. Every new chrysler has the best interior. Lets see how many people really agree with this.

Amuro Ray

Also, if u r mind setting urself in believing that this minivan is a "winner" just 'coz of
- press release; and
- official pics (using photoshop)
I really can't help you with a reality check.

L

Talley - the Japanese is better than American car arguement is old and done with. All cars are on pretty equal playing fields now adays. I own a 2005 Chrysler T&C and she has 195K miles on her and is still going strong - haven't had any issues with it. Before turning your nose up at a vehicle because you don't like the brand logo on it, give it a chance and really look at it. Those new Regals are really nice - a lot nicer than the TSX and the GL model will offer all wheel drive and a turbo engine.

With regards to this van, I want to see the specs on the R/T - I would love for them to put some power into a van! This van is still unattractive, I prefer my current "jelly bean" body style. This isn't near as unattractive as the new Odessey though. Isn't Chrysler supposed to change the body style of the vans soon though? I'm hoping they will round them back out a bit.

Parrots

@Sheth

The Odyssey gets 19/28 mpg. Also, the one way the GC does come up short is space(it's not like I need that much space anyways, but just saying).

Amuro Ray

"the Japanese is better than American car arguement is old and done with"

Not quite so. Reports after reports are still indicating the opposite, though it's true that domestics are narrowing the gap. Nevertheless, the brands with higher quality are still the imports.

Octxen

The Ody crushes any Chrysler product - period. The Regal must be turning into a failure as I already see them all over the rental lots.

D.

My first thought when I saw the new Honda Odyssey was that the rear end looked like a hearse.

sheth

"This Chrysler van does not compare to the class leaders Toyota and Honda. Just like the Equinox and Regal can compare themselves all day long to the CRV and TSX they are still inferior. This is no different."

based on what? Equinox and Terrain combine outsell RAV4 and CR-V. I think that's pretty competitive.

"The Ody crushes any Chrysler product - period. The Regal must be turning into a failure as I already see them all over the rental lots."

Crushes it? Dodge has more power, standard 6 speed, looks better, more features, better looking interior, better seat versatility and likely lower price. Sorry, your assertion doesn't add up once the facts are considered.

"he Odyssey gets 19/28 mpg. Also, the one way the GC does come up short is space(it's not like I need that much space anyways, but just saying)."

How small is the Grand Caravan? You have specs to back up your claim? The Odyseey does get better mileage with the 6 speed- its not standard and we dont even know the mileage on the Caravan. It could very well be within 1mpg of that figure.

"-Amazing. Every new chrysler has the best interior. Lets see how many people really agree with this."

I said "every" new Chrysle? Of course I didn't. I said THIS vehicle has best in class interior. Although the argument could be made for the JGC and Ram as well. I wouldnt call the Avenger or charger interior best in class, but they are very nice. I dare you to ask objective people what they think. I would take a 2011 Chrysler interior over what Toyota is offering ANY day. The recent comparos with the Sienna criticized its interior quality. I'm sure you didn't catch that though....

sheth

"Nevertheless, the brands with higher quality are still the imports. "

Based on what? CR says that but JD power and other sources show a mixed bag in which some mainstream domestic brands (Buick for example) do better than some import brands. It's all about whom you believe. I notice CR fans like yourself always have a million excuses as to why we should dismiss any data that comes from JD Power- but you have no questions about how CR derives its data.

Ziggy

"Best in Class Interior" where does that come from and who decides that? Isn't that subjective and up to the buyer. It's not like comparing gas mileage. Also - does JD Power actually "test" vehicles - sort term and long term like CR does? I seem to think that JD relies on surveys (which include questions about interior layout and asthetics - which they use to evaluate quality????)

Amuro Ray

Sorry, Sheth, I really can't help you anymore. U do need a reality check.

You are arguing against history, data, reports. You are making your statements and conclusions base on pictures that are from picture enhancement software (e.g. Photoshop - and they are done badly too if you know how it works). As a result, you put so many holes in your so call defense that, seriously, I'm no longer interested in putting my foot up ur behind*.

I guess the entire world is against you and your alike. My last advice to u - and leave it if you don't like - DON'T ARGUE WITH THEORY AND DATA, if these aren't going in the same way as you thought, it's not the theory or data that is wrong, it's your thinking. Only data can disprove a theory, not your mind. One of the best motto from a PhD I was studying after.

*Last time to kick your butt - see, this is what happen if u don't do ur homework. Chyrsler sells car in Europe too. Didn't UK Diesel driver told u so earlier, in a thread that u were involved?

sheth

ziggy:

Wrong as usual. JD Power sends out initial and 3 year quality surveys that are similar to what CR uses for its survey. JD Power isnt a car reviewing organization, they collect data to rank cars and other products based on quality. The fact that they dont test cars is irrelevant here.

You can decide whatever you want about the interiors. I am saying the Sienna's interior is unsightly and professional reviews (see recent MT and IL comparos) are calling it cheap inside. Based on what I saw in the Venza I am not surprised. EVen cars.com has noted the mediocre quality in recent Toyotas.

AR:

You never could help me. Your knowledge of the industry is lacking and your writing is hard to decipher.

Only a complete idiot would say that Chrysler's improved interiors only look good in photos after the Ram and JGC have gotten rave reviews for interior quality. I havent seen ONE review of the JGC that has not praised its interior quality. Considering the DGC is even newer and has a very similar look inside its ludicrous to sit here and say "its only photoshop, the interior is probably cheap". What? Come on man, stop insulting out intelligence just because you hate Chrysler.

I am not arguing with data- I just said that JD Power 3 year reliability data shows that several domestic brands are superior to Toyota in quality. That is based on sound data collection. CR's results are based on faulty data collection from a closed group of respondents. Their subscribers probably buy the brands that CR recommends and have dim views of the brands CR bashes. What a surprise that just by coincidence 90% of the most reliable cars happen to be the same ones that CR rates very highly. There are a few exceptions like the Yaris, but for the most part all the brands CR praise in reviews dominate the reliability surveys.

Len

I like the updates and look forward to renting it soon.

Belly

Your knowledge of the industry is lacking and your writing is hard to decipher...Come on man, stop insulting - out - intelligence just because you hate Chrysler.
-You really are stupid Shet.

Their subscribers probably buy the brands that CR recommends and have dim views of the brands CR bashes. What a surprise that just by coincidence 90% of the most reliable cars happen to be the same ones that CR rates very highly.
-Nothing like "probably" to drive the point home. But lets repeat part of that statement one more time:

90% of the most reliable cars happen to be the same ones that CR rates very highly.
-Why wouldn't CR rate the most reliable very high? Really, you are an insult to human intelligence.

sheth

"-You really are stupid Shet."

But I'm smart enough to spell names correctly. Apparently you are not.

"-Why wouldn't CR rate the most reliable very high? Really, you are an insult to human intelligence."

You are so clueless that its hard to believe you are an adult. Or maybe I shoudlnt make that assumption. CR's road test scores have NOTHING to do with reliability. I was saying that the majority of the cars (there are a some German exceptions) that CR rates highly in road tests just happen to be the same cars that get stellar reliability scores. CR doesnt even explain how it rates cars but domestic cars always have lower test scores- even if they perform as well as imports in the same class. CR rated the Camaro SS at 72 and the V6 at 60 even though the cars are the same aside from engine performance. That makes no sense whatsoever. IN addition, CR is a consumer publication that doesn't factor in car prices when ranking cars. Its the stupidest thing I've ever seen.

Belly

But I'm smart enough to spell names correctly. Apparently you are not.
-Stupid indeed.

I was saying that the majority of the cars (there are a some German exceptions) that CR rates highly in road tests just happen to be the same cars that get stellar reliability scores.
-No you weren't, I quoted you above. Remember...

CR doesnt even explain how it rates cars but domestic cars always have lower test scores- even if they perform as well as imports in the same class.
-?? Yes CR is just making it all up... WAAHHH! Shet keep up the crying! WAAAHHH! CR just won't give a crappy GM car a pass... yes it is just too bad.

Its the stupidest thing I've ever seen.
-You are the stupidest thing no body has seen.

Ziggy

Hmmm...let me get this right. JD does JUST surveys but CR does surveys AND actual road tests - long term and short term...and this makes JD's opinion the one to go with.
You also said that testing vehicles is irrelevent but we need to rely on reviews of the interiors of these vans. Makes sense to me Shet.

Amuro Ray

Don't u guys (Ziggy & Belly) get it? From now on, whenever an upholstery store starts building vehicles, they will be the best vehicles available. I'm gonnabe the 1st in line when IKEA starts building vehicles!

Ziggy

Yea I'm going to stop relying on the opinion of those that test vehicles and just go with survey results. Oh wait maybe I should just rely on the tests when it comes to interior quality. Oh wait maybe I should just go with JD surveys that agree with MT and IL reviews. Oh hell with it let's go with whatever Shet says.

jstant01

The dash looks impressive. The outside looks the same. Experience with Chrysler product reliability is a crapshoot. I have friends that have Chrysler products with nearly 200k or more, and no major problems. I have other friends who dropped transmissions, had major engine repairs, and more with less than 60k on the odometer. I've rented Chrysler minivans on 2 occasions, and both times, had problems - a blower an quit on the first one, and it only had 9,000 miles on it. The interiors of those rentals sucked, and they rattled like a death trap too.

All that to say - way too much postulating on here based on too little info, IMHO. The dash pics look impressive, and for the sake of Fiat/Chrysler, let's HOPE the reliability has improved too.

The 3.6 V6 is a new motor for Chrysler, right? Is it mechanically similar or completely different than the 3.5? If it's brand new, seems like that will be the big wild card, and a big gamble for them, because that 3.6 is showing up in nearly every new/redesigned product they are coming out with.

sheth

"-?? Yes CR is just making it all up... WAAHHH! Shet keep up the crying! WAAAHHH! CR just won't give a crappy GM car a pass... yes it is just too bad."

I didnt say anything about GM cars specifically. I said domestic cars always score lower than comparable imports and CR NEVER explains why. They dont even provide criteria for their scores. The scores are completely subjective and determined by their tester's biases.

ziggy:

I never said we had to wait for reviews to determine if the interior is nice. Maybe YOu said that- I said the interior looks nice and is better than what Toyota is selling. Period.

JD Power and CR both provide reliability data. Testing vehicles on a monthly basis has NOTHING to do with reliability info. In case you didnt know, CR's road testing is done by paid staffers while their flawed reliability data comes from subscribers. The two are not connected. TO suggest that JD Power data is irrelevant since its not from a car testing publication is nonsense. Unlike CR, JD Power actually understands the principles of sound data collection which is why the survey different people each year. BTW, CR does not conduct its own reliabilty research with LT testing. They buy their own vehicles and drive them for several months when they do reviews, but they do not measure the reliability of these vehicles. Other publications like Edmunds to maintain long term fleets and if you look at those fleets you will see virtually no difference in quality between imports or domestics over the course of 20k-40k miles.

sheth

stant:

Engine is all new, not based on the 3.5L. How recently were all these tranny issues? Honda has tranny issues as well and yet no one thinks twice about recommending their products. I know someone with a 300 and to my knowledge no tranny problems have been experienced. They had an Intrepid before that (totalled in crash) and never heard of any tranny issues with that car either. It seems like old issues are never allowed to die with chryslers. I drove a rental Charger to South Carolina and back and had no rattles or any other problems of note.

AR:

I'm not the one that started the trend of evaluating cars based on the tactile quality of the plastics. Dont get mad at me because I noted that Chrysler's interior quality is improving. Cars.com and others are the folks who said you should buy a car based on how soft the dash feels. Normal people dont even talk about these things. If you are now saying that interior quality isnt relevant you are totally contradicting what is said here on cars.com and on every other major car review site. Interesting that interior quality is no longer an issue now that Toyota is making cheap interiors and Chrysler is making quality interiors. Have you always felt this way or did you position change once you saw the new Chrysler interiors?

ziggy:

CR and JD power both provide info about reliability. One uses sound statistical methods and one doesn't Even you should be able to understand that. You never explained why JD Power results are invalid simply because they dont evaluate cars in reviews. Can you explain your logic? What does A have to do with B?

Belly

The scores are completely subjective and determined by their tester's biases.
-Hmmm... sounds like any reviewer.


JD Power actually understands the principles of sound data collection which is why the survey different people each year.
-J.D. Power and Associates' marketing research consists primarily of consumer surveys


J.D. Power ratings are based on the survey responses of randomly selected and/or specifically targeted consumers. J.D. Power relies on consumer reporting for study results as well as in-house vehicle testing for opinion based reviews in Blogs.

J.D. Power obtains the majority of its revenue from corporations that seek the data collected from J.D. Power surveys for internal use

J.D. Power conducts multiple annual surveys of the automotive industry in the U.S. as well as in other countries.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._D._Power_and_Associates#cite_note-history-5

JD power sure sounds so much better huh?

Belly

Other publications like Edmunds to maintain long term fleets and if you look at those fleets you will see virtually no difference in quality between imports or domestics over the course of 20k-40k miles.
-Edmunds does not rate any Chrysler products as best buys for used cars and only has the Ram as a recommended new truck.

jstant01

Sheth: Tranny issues were on a 2005 Town and Country. I agree, I've heard about the Honda transmission issues too, although I don't know anyone with personal experience with that.

Another friend has a 2003 Sebring (4 cyl), and had to replace the motor with less than 60,000k. Don't remember the exact details, but essentially, it melted down.

Thanks for the update on the 3.6 - been curious. Where is it being built?

I mostly quit paying attn to CR for a lot of reasons, but I do recall an article they did a few years back about how across nearly EVERY brand, problems are much more likely in the 1st year of a new product (they basically recommended never buying a car in the first year of its production cycle). I've kept that in mind ever since.

Personally, I've never been a fan of Chrysler products - ever. If someone gave me a classic Challenger, I'd take it of course, and the current Charger/Challenger has some appeal. I've hated Chrysler interiors for the past few years - period. It's just a subjective observation on my part, but maybe a whole lot of other people felt the same way. As for reliability - it's all a crapshoot, I think. Hopefully, buyers will be lucky enough to not get one of the products built on the day Chrysler found the dudes drinking on the assembly line!

sheth

Belly:

1. The fact that JD Power allows its name to be used in ads has no bearing on how the data is collected. You failed to prove that the advertising taints the results

2. Most data on reliability is collected from user surveys- how else would you suggest JD Power get the data?

3. Most magazines (Car and driver, R&D, IL, etc.) provide a chart explaning ratings. CR does not. They offer a general score with NO explanation as to how the score was derived. There is NO correlation between their performance testing data and scoring. The scores are simply pulled from thin air and imports always come out on top. Just one more reason CR is a joke.

4. I said nothing about best buys, I said that LT testing of domestic and import products by magazines and online publications has shown no major advantage in import reliability. IL recently had a Ram and Challenger in their fleet and neither had any reliability issues over 30k-40k miles of hard use. A "best buy" rating could be based on resale values, the performance of the model when it was new and other factors. Edmunds doesnt rate reliablity.

Belly

You failed to prove that the advertising taints the results
-When did I try? But since you make the point...

Consumer Reports does not print outside advertising, accept free product samples, or permit the commercial use of its reviews for selling products.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_Reports

Most magazines (Car and driver, R&D, IL, etc.) provide a chart explaning ratings. CR does not. They offer a general score with NO explanation as to how the score was derived.
-You are kidding right? You really can't read and you just look at the pictures don't you. Trying reading some of the articles after the little bar graph and the red circles. Sorry, I mean try having someone read it to you.

I said nothing about best buys
-Yes because you have nothing to say about it or anything else. Ever.

I said that LT testing of domestic and import products by magazines and online publications has shown no major advantage in import reliability.
-Then why are those imports not recommended by the magazines and online publications that recommend cars after long term testing?

Edmunds doesnt rate reliablity.

-Straight from the website:

Edmunds.com's annual Used Car Best Bet Awards are based on the following criteria: reliability, safety and availability

Good call.

Edward Rendell Jr

Look at Belly providing round after round of dope slaps to muni-boy sheth. sheth clearly has no friends given his propensity to insist he's always right. When does it stop?

Amuro Ray

Shet won't stop until u stop, and that's the problem. The only thg the others can do is to stop responding to this person.

Parrots

@Sheth

The Ody and Sienna both have maximum cargo volumes of around 150 cu. ft.. The GC has only about 135 cubic ft. Of cargo volume. And, even w/ out the 6spd auto, the Ody still gets better mileage than the competition ( that's 18/27 mpg).

o This is a wonderful opinion. The things mentioned are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.
**********
alexgavin111


Motorhome Hire

I must say that I am very much impressed with the looks specially the interior. Seems it is worthy of buying!!

Anthony Nwokedi. O.

The GRAND CARAVAN is wonderfully made & it beats Sianna in performance functions. My children are highly excited & had refused to travel with other minivans. Thanks & keep it up.

Anthony Nwokedi. O.

The GRAND CARAVAN is wonderfully made & it beats Sianna in performance functions. My children are highly excited & had refused to travel with other minivans. Thanks & keep it up.

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App
Ask.cars.com