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2011 Dodge Grand Caravan Crew Review

2011 Dodge Grand Caravan Crew Review
The number of available minivans on our market isn’t very substantial which makes for interesting rivalries. Yet, there seems to be two types of target customers for minivans which is, well, a little confusing given how few are still offered. Proof: The Chrysler group sells two minivans, the Dodge Grand Caravan we’re testing this week and the more upscale Town & Country.

We suggest the Grand Caravan SXT with Stow ‘n Go, which costs only $25K after rebate. (Photo: Rob Rothwell/Auto123.com)

When you think about it, who really needs a minivan? Some will say no one does. But seriously, parents with young kids do; parents who need the space and carry-all versatility of a minivan above anything else; young parents who are starting their careers and don’t necessarily have the beans to spring for an expensive vehicle.

That makes us wonder why there are so many upscale minivans that cost over $40,000. After all, if you’re wealthy enough to afford a vehicle at that price, chances are you might prefer something trendier such as a crossover. Which brings us back to the Grand Caravan. Along with the Kia Sedona, the Dodge is the least-expensive minivan on the market.

For 2011, it gets a long list of changes and improvements, starting with a new engine underhood that will replace all previous renditions. The new 3.6-litre V6 produces 283hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, tacked on to a 6-speed automatic with manual mode.

Acceleration is fierce for a minivan: the Grand Caravan will hit 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds. The new V6 has a wonderful power band and nothing about the old lumps will ever be remembered. A little noisy at wide-open throttle perhaps and our fuel economy average of 12.7 L/100 km could be a little better, but overall, the Pentastar did a good job. Oh, there’s a new ECON button on the dash that’s said to improve fuel economy; on or off, we didn’t notice any difference, at least in normal driving.

The Grand Caravan receives many changes this year, including a new 283hp, 3.6-litre V6. (Photo: Rob Rothwell/Auto123.com)

By Michel Deslauriers,

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