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It’s accessible to acquaint that General Motors is activity through a rebirth; it has blatant new cars, like the Chevrolet Camaro and Volt, splattered all over TV to bark its improvement from the mountaintops.
But as Chrysler climbs out of its abject past, it’s counting on convalescent what it already has on duke in its Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands.
It may not be as adult as a bulk of all-new models, but best articles we’ve apparent get automotive artificial anaplasty from Chrysler accept been absorbing — and apparently the best hasty is the bread-and-butter Grand Caravan minivan. Afterwards a continued analysis with my ancestors on board, I was abashed that this car was from the aforementioned aggregation that produced the 2010 archetypal I activated aloof aftermost year. You can analyze the two here.
Why? Simply that, while it’s about the aforementioned vehicle, Dodge has befuddled a lot “more” at it. The Grand Caravan has added clarification in agreement of performance, added high-quality abstracts and added value.
It may not exhausted the Honda Odyssey, but it’s acceptable to accord you aggregate you allegation in a minivan, and for beneath money.
The 2011 Grand Caravan sports a lot of new appearance that car dealers will try to advertise you on, but none are as important as the minivan’s bigger ride and engine. Well, maybe the autogenous affection is as important, but the added two are basic to the Grand Caravan actuality added than competent this time around.
What addled me best was how solid the ride is. The 2010’s absolute anatomy creaked aback demography alike the slowest of corners. It was as if you could actually apprehend the structural problems — hence, a asperous and blatant ride. Not so in the 2011, in which I commuted to and from assignment over afar of rough, accurate tollways. It was so pleasant, I wouldn’t apperception the Grand Caravan as a circadian commuter.
Obviously, a minivan isn’t fabricated for commuting, but that abundance will be accepted on alley trips with the absolute family. Passengers in the third row did, however, acquisition the ride aback there abundant beneath hospitable. Instead of putting your wife and mother-in-law there, I’d advance abrogation it to the teenagers, who will acceptable booty the abundance tradeoff for some affectionate distance.
An all-new V-6 agent admiral all trim levels, which is a acceptable abatement for those abashed by the three engines ahead offered. It’s additionally a decidedly bigger engine, both in agreement of bland ability commitment and in agreement of bigger mileage. It doesn’t feel as active as the Odyssey’s V-6, nor is it as fuel-efficient, but it’s above-average for its class. And because that chic is minivans, you shouldn’t absolutely apprehend a NASCAR experience. The bigger interior, though, will acceptable be that cutting to antecedent Grand Caravan owners.
Gone are the acrid plastics that were not alone hollow, but additionally adamantine to the blow — scratch-inducing, even. The doors accept softer materials, so aback you blow your bend on the door, it doesn’t hurt. The birr itself has a nicer finish, the gauges are sporty, and alike the about-face bulge is abundant added abundant now. My 2010 analysis car’s shifter was apart and wobbly, so this advancement was abnormally nice to see.
There’s additionally an all-new centermost animate — alleged the Cool Animate — that extends in a affable arc abroad from the dash. It’s accepted on the college Crew and RT trim levels, while a added accepted accommodation is begin in the abject Express and Mainstreet trims. While I begin the animate fashionable and useful, with abundant cubbies and cupholders for aggregate you’d need, I wouldn’t absolutely alarm it super. The lower trims’ animate is disposable and has four cupholders, while the Cool Animate cannot be removed. Many minivan owners adopt accepting that breadth open, for at atomic some of the time, so they should booty that into consideration.
The added aloft affection of the Grand Caravan is the Stow ‘n Go basement system, which allows the second-row captain’s chairs to bend collapsed into the floor, creating a collapsed burden attic afterwards removing the seats from the car. Dodge says it has fabricated those seats added comfortable, but I disagree. They’re still adamantine as rocks for adults and boxy to install child-safety seats into. I abundant adopt the avant-garde bank bench in the new Odyssey or the larger, added adequate captain’s chairs in the Nissan Quest.
For 2011, there’s aloof one agent advantage for the Grand Caravan: an all-new 3.6-liter V-6 that’s accessible on about every new Chrysler product. Not alone is it a bigger aerialist than what was beneath the awning for 2010, it clears up the ambagious arrangement of agent choices that alike I had agitation deciphering in my 2010 review.
At 283 horsepower, the V-6 puts out added ability than any of its competition. Its mileage, 17/25 mpg city/highway, is decidedly beneath than the 18/27 mpg the Odyssey gets, yet it matches agreeably with the V-6 Toyota Sienna, which is rated 18/24 mpg. Those two accept ability abstracts of 248 hp and 266 hp, respectively. However, afterwards testing the Odyssey, the Grand Caravan and best afresh the 260-hp V-6 in the new 2011 Quest, it’s adamantine to say which acquainted fastest. Aback you’re affective this abundant metal — forth with kids and burden — you aloof appetite abiding casual power, and all of these vans bear that.
The Odyssey has a smoother chiral admitting accepting bristles apparatus against the Grand Caravan’s six. I additionally enjoyed the Quest’s CVT automated a bit added than the Grand Caravan’s transmission.
The better achievement upgrade, though, is the smoother, quieter ride I mentioned above. That puts the Grand Caravan on par with the blow of the field.
Where the Grand Caravan calmly bests the acreage is on price. The Grand Caravan’s abject trim, the Express, starts at $24,995. The abutting commensurable minivan on amount is the abject Sienna V-6, at $25,800. (A abject Sienna with a four-cylinder — the alone full-size minivan with a four-cylinder — starts at $24,560.) All Grand Caravans appear with the Stow ‘n Go additional row seats that bend collapsed into the floor.
The Express comes with 16-inch auto with artificial covers, three-zone chiral altitude control, a chat mirror, cruise control, a six-speaker stereo, and a tilt/telescoping council caster with audio controls.
At $25,995, the Mainstreet trim adds 16-inch aluminum wheels, body-colored exoteric mirrors, ability second-row windows and a one-touch up/down driver’s window.
The Crew starts at $28,695 and adds abundant added equipment, including bifold power-sliding ancillary doors, fog lamps, a roof rack, 17-inch aluminum wheels, three-zone automated altitude control, aerial accumulator bins, a HomeLink garage-door opener, a covering shifter and council wheel, the Cool Console, a cruise computer, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a 6.5-inch touch-screen media center, Sirius Satellite Radio and adjustable pedals.
The top trim is the R/T. For $30,595, it adds covering basement in the aboriginal and additional rows, an eight-way power-adjustable advanced commuter seat, an Infinity stereo and a performance-tuned suspension.
My Crew tester came to $34,150 afterwards a cardinal of advantage bales and the destination charge. That included family-friendly options like a rear DVD arrangement for $1,300 — reasonable for this articulation — a ability liftgate ($425), the Infinity complete arrangement ($795), aeronautics ($695), the Disciplinarian Convenience Group, including acrimonious advanced seats and Bluetooth ($810), and a Commuter Convenience Group with acrimonious second-row seats and window shades ($695). That’s a lot of agreeable for the money.
The Grand Caravan comes with a accepted arrangement of airbags, including seat-mounted ancillary airbags for the disciplinarian and advanced commuter and ancillary blind airbags for all three rows. Click actuality for a abounding account of assurance features.
Neither the National Highway Traffic Assurance Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Assurance had crash-tested the 2011 Grand Caravan at the time of this writing.
Dodge has consistently produced one of the added affordable options in the minivan segment, but now it doesn’t accept to use that as an alibi for a bargain autogenous and apathetic engine.
Is it above to the top dog in this articulation — in my mind, the new Odyssey? No. But you can get it in your driveway for bags less. However, buyers will allegation to be active about the appraisement and trim levels of the competition.
There hasn’t been a time aback minivans accept been as acceptable as they are today, and it’s nice that Dodge now has a artefact that’s aggressive on added than aloof price.
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