There are many such examples and those that come to mind are the Ford F-150, the Honda Civic, the Toyota Camry and, in this instance, the Dodge Grand Caravan. On a near equal footing to the Ford, the Caravan has dominated its segment forever-- it owns it.
The 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan may be the No. 1 minivan, but does not hold this position because it is the best at everything. What it does, it does it well. With a smart well laid-out interior, fair to high levels of amenities, and some extremely competitive pricing, the Grand Caravan is impossible to beat in the eyes of the consumer.
What is a Dodge Grand Caravan?
The Dodge Grand Caravan is the very definition of the minivan. As the undisputed champion and innovator of the segment, it fails at nothing when it comes to family hauling duty. Already 30 years in, the Grand Caravan continues to set the standard.
The past has been spotted with a number of reliability issues that continue today. Regular routine maintenance is a must to ensure long-term durability and trouble-free motoring.
2014 Dodge Grand Caravan Price and Specs
Value has become a played-out term in the car business, but to a select few products the word defines the car. In the Grand Caravan's case, the aptly coined Canada Value Package trim sets the base price at $27,995. Fret not as Chrysler always has loads of very large discounts up its sleeve. At the other end of the price gambit we find the R/T with a $40,995 window sticker.
My tested SXT with Blacktop Package retailed for just over $43,000 before rebates and incentives.
All versions feature a 283-horsepower 3.6L V6 and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Only the front wheels are driven and all are stopped by disk brakes.
Driving the 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan
The Dodge Grand Caravan has a sole purpose in mind and that is getting everyone aboard (and their gear) safely to the desired destination.
At odds with this seemingly simple goal is the almost over-eager engine. Its power, when applied in part or more, easily overwhelms the whole of the drivetrain. In a way, it's nice to have all that power but it seems a bit much. What helps here is the 6-speed autobox gearing which is quite tight between 2nd and 3rd gear.
The sad part about the transmission, as seems to be the case with nearly all recent Chrysler products, is that their confusion is eternal. Depending on the nature of the acceleration, I constantly imagined the 'box juggling gears until one would fall and then it going with the dropped cog. The resulting bump or bang into gear was never pleasant.
From a ride perspective, the 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan is a smooth operator. The plenty float-y and soft suspension makes driving in the city easy, limiting disturbing shifts in the car likely to startle junior out of his slumber.
Steering and brakes further follow the Grand Caravan's reasons for being and work quite well.
Inside and Out of the 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan
There isn't much to say about how well or not the 2014 Grand Caravan sits on its four wheels. It is far from being either handsome or ugly and so sits properly between the two extremes. The tested Blacktop Package includes 17" alloy wheels with gloss black painted inserts, pockets, a gloss black grille, blacked headlamps and fog lamps. Aesthetically, these details do little to add to the Caravan's styling but it's something, I guess...
Stepping into the Dodge Grand Caravan is coming face-to-face with what this minivan is: a large multi-purpose people and stuff carrier.
The centerpiece of this cabin is Chrysler's brilliant Stow&Go rear seating system. Once used to how the levers and springs work, as a minivan owner, you'll wonder how you ever got by without it.
The dashboard is very straightforward and simple to use. Most HMI and tech features work very well and the first two rows of seats are comfortable enough. Storage spots and bins are numerous; a minivan is a car one can truly move into.
Comparing the 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan
The 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan has little real competition. If you're in the market for a minivan, you'll quickly have noted that there are less than a handful of options for you.
The Honda Odyssey remains Auto123.com's favourite, but the Toyota Sienna still has much going for it. The Nissan Quest is more or less out of its league. Then, there's the new Kia Sedona, which may or may not have an impact.
Bottom line is that the Chrysler Magicwagon is next to impossible to beat.