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2019 Dodge Grand Caravan

$27,040 - $32,540
Price Range (MSRP)
Dodge Grand Caravan

2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Review: Soldiering On, But Battle-Weary

by Jared Rosenholtz

Although there have been numerous updates through the years, the Dodge Grand Caravan remains somewhat of an automotive relic. This fifth-generation minivan was introduced in its current form way back in 2008, and, as a result, now falls far short of the competition and current automotive standards of technology and design. So, what does an essentially decade-old minivan have on its side? In the case of the Grand Caravan, a low price and a highly versatile, roomy interior. The latter aspect is crucial in this segment and means that the Dodge at least remains competitive in the practicality stakes. However, even a cavernous interior can't fill the gulf between the Grand Caravan and superb modern alternatives like the Kia Sedona and Honda Odyssey. Even closer to home is the accomplished - and far newer - Chrysler Pacifica.

2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Grand Caravan?

A standard rearview camera is now fitted, which is a useful feature for a large minivan. Also available to celebrate 35 years of the Dodge Caravan are 35th Anniversary Edition versions of the SE and SXT. For the SE, this edition adds second-row Stow 'n Go seats and a power-adjustable driver's seat. The SXT 35th Anniversary Edition tops the range and gets navigation radio and the standard fitment of the Driver Convenience Group's features - this packs in heated seats, a heated steering wheel, second-row window shades, a universal garage door opener and a single rear overhead console.

Pros and Cons

  • Cheaper than most competitors
  • Brilliant Stow 'n Go seating system
  • More than enough space for all passengers
  • Reasonably comfortable ride
  • Below-par interior materials
  • Many modern connectivity features are missing
  • Lack of driver-assistance safety tech
  • Performance lags behind the competition
  • It's over a decade old - and it shows

Grand Caravan Exterior

A quick survey of the Grand Caravan's exterior tells you all you need to know about the van's age. The blocky shape lacks the sleek look of many competitors. The base SE uses conservative-looking 17-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, while the SE Plus gets 17-inch alloy wheels with Gloss Black pockets. The SXT uses 17-inch alloys in silver. The 35th Anniversary models wear unique 17-inch tech silver aluminum wheels. Front fog lamps are fitted only to SE Plus and SXT models. Rear LED lights and privacy glass are standard across the range, but only the SXT gets power-sliding doors.

2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Front View
2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Rear View
2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Side View
See All 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Grand Caravan measures 78.7 inches wide, 68.9 inches in height, and 202.8 inches in length. SXT models are marginally taller and longer at 69 inches and 203.7 inches, respectively, all of which amount to similar dimensions as the newer Chrysler Pacifica. The wheelbase is 121.2 inches long. Dodge states a curb weight of 4,510 lbs - this makes the Grand Caravan almost 200 pounds heavier than the base version of Chrysler's Pacifica.

Exterior Colors

As before, there is a choice of six exterior colors available: Black Onyx, Octane Red, Granite, Billet, White Knuckle, and Indigo Blue. The exterior can be further jazzed up with black side roof rails and black headlamp bezels as part of the optional - but standard on the SE Plus - Blacktop Package.

  • Billet Clearcoat
  • Black Onyx Crystal Pearlcoat
  • Granite Pearlcoat
  • White Knuckle Clearcoat
  • Indigo Blue Clearcoat
  • Octane Red Pearlcoat

Grand Caravan Performance

All models use a 3.6-liter V6 engine providing 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. Although offering adequate performance and powertrain refinement, the Grand Caravan isn't class-leading in either respect. 0-60 mph comes up in around eight seconds, which is enough considering the minivan's primary purpose as a practical people-hauler. With similar outputs, a lower curb weight, and a more modern nine-speed automatic transmission, the Chrysler Pacifica is faster.

With a maximum towing capacity of 3,600 lbs, the Grand Caravan can tow a marginally greater load than the Kia Sedona and Toyota Sienna, while matching the Chrysler Pacifica.

2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Front View Driving
2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Rear View Driving
2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Gauge Cluster

Engine and Transmission

The Grand Caravan's 3.6-liter V6 engine is actually one of the more powerful engines in this segment, producing 283 hp and 260 lb-ft. The engine features both variable valve timing and electronic throttle control. It's paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

However, the solid power outputs don't translate into the Grand Caravan being notably quicker than the competition. It's fast enough for fuss-free pull-aways and for maintaining an easy cruise at the legal limit, but that's about it. The transmission does what's asked of it, but fewer gears than many of its competitors mean it doesn't always keep the engine operating as efficiently. There's also some hesitation to downshift when overtaking; otherwise, gear changes are generally dealt with smoothly.

Overall, the Grand Caravan's mechanicals have thankfully not aged at the same rate as some other aspects of this minivan, but neither does it do anything spectacularly well in this area.

  • Engine
    3.6-liter V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

As expected for a minivan, Dodge has tuned the Grand Caravan's suspension to prioritize comfort. After all, this is what most buyers would be looking for when hauling a family and their paraphernalia out of the city for a lengthy trip. So, while more substantial road surface imperfections can occasionally result in a perceptible jolt through the suspension, the Grand Caravan is largely unruffled and feels suitably calm at speed on the highway. Road noise and general refinement are also within class expectations.

Thankfully, the Dodge doesn't unravel in the corners, either. While a large minivan is never going to exhibit sporty handling, the Grand Caravan does well to contain body roll and provide the driver with sufficient feedback to avoid any nervy moments. For extra security in wet or snowy conditions, shoppers may want to consider the Toyota Sienna with its available all-wheel-drive system - the Grand Caravan is solely offered with front-wheel-drive.

Braking performance is fair in everyday driving conditions, but emergency braking exhibits noticeable nosedive, which can be rather disconcerting.

Grand Caravan Gas Mileage

While generally cheaper to buy at first, the Grand Caravan won't be saving you more money over the competition when it comes to frugality. EPA-rated estimates lag behind the top contenders in this class, with the Grand Caravan's consumption working out to 17/25/20 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. These figures lag behind the Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona, and Chrysler Pacifica, all of which carry less weight than the Grand Caravan.

With a 20-gallon fuel tank, the Grand Caravan can manage a combined cruising range of 400 miles. One advantage in the Dodge's favor is its flex-fuel engine, enabling it to run on both gas and ethanol.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    20.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 17/25 mpg
* 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan SE 35th Anniversary Edition

Grand Caravan Interior

The good, the bad, and the ugly just about sums up the Grand Caravan's cabin. On the positive side, seating for all seven occupants is spacious, while getting into the back is made easier thanks to the sliding doors. The fantastic Stow 'n Go seating system also makes loading lots of cargo easier than in competitors' interiors. In most other aspects, the Dodge falls short of segment standards. The technology on offer is poor, and what there is doesn't feel intuitive to use. Cabin materials are inconsistent, being fine in some spots but also displaying the use of hard, unappealing plastics in too many areas. It's from the driver's seat that this minivan most fails to impress in a segment that has moved on significantly.

2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Infotainment System
2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Central Console
2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Steering Wheel Controls
See All 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Seating seven passengers in three rows, the Grand Caravan's seating configuration is highly flexible. There is a good amount of space from front to back, with headroom and legroom ensuring that nobody will feel cramped. While the front seats offer a reasonable amount of comfort and support, the middle and rear rows offer only average comfort levels - these pews could do with thicker cushioning, a caveat of them being able to fold away into the floor. Ingress and egress are easy enough for all passengers while accessing the third row is helped significantly by the sliding doors and middle-row seats that are easy to slide out of the way. Unlike seven-seat SUVs, the third row offers good knee and headroom.

There's good visibility for the driver, although when the third-row headrests aren't flipped down, they can partially impede the view out of the back.

  • Seating capacity
    7-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The SE provides only basic interior materials. Unlike the more expensive trims, the shift knob is trimmed in cheaper urethane instead of leather, and the steering wheel also misses out on a leather-wrapped finish. Both the SE and SE Plus have cloth seats, while the SXT has leather-trimmed seats with suede inserts. For the SE Plus and SXT 35th Anniversary Edition, the all-black interior has Cranberry Wine stitching on the seats and door trim, a center console in Piano Black, and floor mats embroidered with the 35th Anniversary logo.

Standard interior colors are Light Graystone or Black on the SE, and Black with Silver accent stitching on both the SE Plus and SXT.

Grand Caravan Trunk and Cargo Space

The Dodge Grand Caravan may have fallen behind the pack in many areas, but not in terms of easily accommodating passengers and cargo. SE and SE Plus models have a second-row bench seat with third-row Stow 'n Go, while the SE Plus 35th Anniversary Edition, SXT 35th Anniversary Edition, and SXT all have second-row Stow 'n Go seats as well. Cargo space behind the third row of seats is 31.1 cubic feet - this is marginally less than in the Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Sedona, and Honda Odyssey. Cargo capacity expands to 78.9 cu.ft. when the third row is folded down, and a cavernous 140.3 with the second row folded down too - this is enough to accommodate an eight-foot ladder. While some competitors ultimately offer even more space, it is the Grand Caravan's ingenious Stow 'n Go seating system that sets it apart within the minivan segment. When the second and third-row seats aren't folded into the floor, there is a huge 12 cu.ft. of additional underfloor storage space - this is more space than you'll find in the trunk of some compact sedans.

Small-item storage is further catered for by a dual glove box and a bin in the lower instrument panel, while the SXT has a so-called 'super console' with a myriad of storage options for belongings. An overhead bin is available for even more storage capacity.

2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Trunk Floor Storage
2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Maximum Cargo Space
2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Rear Three-Quarter Right Side View Doors Opened

Grand Caravan Infotainment and Features

Features

The Grand Caravan isn't really about an abundance of features and luxuries. Opt for the base SE trim, and you'll get three-zone automatic temperature control, a rearview camera, tilt-and-telescoping adjustment for the steering wheel, power windows (including power third-row quarter vents), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and black exterior mirrors which are powered and heated. SE Plus adds fog lights, automatic headlights, remote start, and contrast stitching for the cloth upholstery. The SE Plus 35th Anniversary Edition gets a power driver's seat in addition to the second-row Stow 'n Go system. The SXT gets power-sliding side doors, a power liftgate, and an eight-way power driver's seat. Finally, the SXT 35th Anniversary Edition is the only model to get standard heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and second-row window shades.

Infotainment

In an era where even a two-year-old infotainment system can feel outdated, the Grand Caravan's system feels positively ancient. Mounted in the center of the dashboard is a 6.5-inch touch screen. Both the quality of the graphics and the speed of responses are poor in comparison to the competition. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are also notable for their absence. The standard sound system has six speakers while there's also CD/DVD/MP3 compatibility, an audio jack input, and 28 GB of hard drive storage. The Uconnect Hands-Free Group is standard on all but the SE trim and adds voice commands, SiriusXM radio, and audio controls mounted on the steering wheel. A DVD entertainment system can also be specified for the rear-seat passengers, and it uses a nine-inch overhead screen. While navigation radio is available on the SXT 35th Anniversary Edition, you won't find wireless charging or a Wi-Fi hotspot on any model. Overall, the Grand Caravan is in dire need of a tech update and falls far behind the competition for standard and available connectivity features.

Grand Caravan Problems and Reliability

At two-and-a-half stars out of a possible five, the Grand Caravan doesn't have the best predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power. This is quite disappointing considering how long the minivan has been around in its current form, with plenty of time for Dodge to have ironed out any issues or made improvements. For the 2019 model, one recall has been issued by the NHTSA for insufficient coating on the rear brake caliper pistons. This could lead to a loss of maximum braking power and increase the possibility of a crash. Prior to this, the 2017-2018 Grand Caravan was recalled for a voltage regulator that could cause a stall.

With a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, the Grand Caravan matches many rivals but falls behind the Kia Sedona, with the Korean minivan boasting a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty. The same goes for the Dodge's drivetrain warranty, which spans five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first, with the Sedona getting an excellent ten-year/100,000-mile drivetrain warranty.

Grand Caravan Safety

With five-star safety ratings now being expected, the Grand Caravan's four-star overall NHTSA safety rating is merely reasonable. Still, this does point to a solid crash safety structure. IIHS crash safety tests saw the Grand Caravan achieve mostly Good results, although there were Poor ratings for the small overlap front driver test and for the effectiveness of the headlights.

Key Safety Features

Safety is a concern for any car shopper, regardless of the segment, but it's even more so the case for minivan owners. Considering this, it's especially disappointing that the Grand Caravan misses out on the latest driver-assist safety tech; the likes of blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane departure warning are all missing, even from the options list.

The safety features that are there include seven airbags, a child seat anchor system in the second row, a backup camera, a tire pressure monitoring system, and trailer sway damping. In general, however, the Dodge misses out on many of the safety features found in rival offerings.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan a good Minivan?

In the motoring industry, a decade is a long time indeed. Evolving technologies, dramatically improving safety standards, and modern design have seen the Dodge Grand Caravan fall from an accomplished competitor at launch to one struggling to maintain its relevance today. One of the few class-leading aspects that has been maintained is the innovative Stow 'n Go system, allowing the Grand Caravan to be transformed from a seven-seater into a mega cargo-carrier quickly and conveniently. There's also the value aspect, but even then, for just a little bit more than a spartan SE model, you can drive away in the far more appealing Chrysler Pacifica. The Grand Caravan simply can't compete in terms of safety tech, build quality, and performance, and it doesn't help that the Dodge has both middling crash safety scores and a patchy reliability record. The time has arrived for this grandfather to retire.

What's the Price of the 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan?

The range begins with the SE at an MSRP of $27,040. This price excludes tax, licensing registration, and a destination charge of $1,495. Moving up a trim level is the SE Plus at $29,805. The 35th Anniversary SE costs a smidgen more at $29,840. The SXT trim level tops the range - it costs $32,540 in standard form and $34,135 for the 35th Anniversary SXT.

2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Models

For the 2019 model year, you can choose between five trims for the Dodge Grand Caravan. These are: SE, SE Plus, 35th Anniversary SE Plus, SXT, and 35th Anniversary SXT. All models use a naturally-aspirated 3.6-liter V6 engine driving the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.

At SE level, there are cloth seats, 17-inch steel wheels, three-zone automatic temperature control, a six-speaker sound system, a rearview camera, and a 6.5-inch touch screen. This model uses a second-row bench seat and third-row Stow 'n Go. Moving up to the SE Plus adds upgraded cloth seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, black exterior trim, fog lights, and remote ignition. The 35th Anniversary SE Plus gets Stow 'n Go second-row bucket seats and a power-adjustable driver's seat. The SXT is next and feels more upscale than cheaper models thanks to seats trimmed in a combination of leather and suede. The driver's seat also has eight-way power adjustment with two-way power lumbar. Power-sliding rear doors and a power liftgate make this model easiest to live with. Finally, the 35th Anniversary SXT is the best-equipped variant in the range, and it has navigation, radio, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and window shades for the second row.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SE
3.6-liter V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$27,040
SE Plus
3.6-liter V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$27,040
SE 35th Anniversary Edition
3.6-liter V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$27,040
SXT 35th Anniversary Edition
3.6-liter V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$32,540
SXT
3.6-liter V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$32,540
See All 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Package availability depends on which model you choose, with the base SE limited in what packages can be added to it. For this model, a MOPAR Premium Addition Group costs $350 and adds splash guards, slush mats, and door sill guards for a more rugged look. A single DVD entertainment system costs $995. Both packages are also available for the SE Plus and SXT. Optional on the SE and standard on other trims is the $795 Uconnect Hands-Free Group, which adds increased connectivity and infotainment features like SiriusXM radio, voice commands, and audio controls on the steering wheel.

Radio with navigation is standard on the 35th Anniversary SXT but optional on the SE Plus, 35th Anniversary SE Plus, and SXT. The Driver's Convenience Group is a worthwhile addition but only available on the SXT - it adds three-zone automatic temperature control, a heated steering wheel, and heated front seats to the mix, among other items. Standard on the SE Plus and optional on the SXT is the oddly sporty - for a minivan - Blacktop Package at $765. Its features include black alloy wheels, black side roof rails, and headlamp bezels, and black interior accents.

What Dodge Grand Caravan Model Should I Buy?

The SE Plus trim manages to maintain the value aspect of the Grand Caravan - one of the model's few advantages over the competition - while adding some essential features that make the interior feel a bit less basic. We'd also be tempted to go for the 35th Anniversary SE Plus with its power driver's seat and the excellent Stow 'n Go for the second row, as this really enhances the usability of the Grand Caravan's interior space.

2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Comparisons

2019 Dodge Grand Caravan
2019 Dodge Grand Caravan

2019 Dodge Grand Caravan vs Toyota Sienna

While the Toyota Sienna may not be a class-leader, it's still a better overall minivan than the Dodge Grand Caravan. At just over $31,000 for the base model, the Sienna is a fair bit more expensive than the Grand Caravan but also feels that way from behind the wheel, where quality levels are much higher, even if the Toyota also has a somewhat dated dashboard. The Sienna also offers many of the latest infotainment and driver-assist safety technologies, which are distinctly missing from the Grand Caravan. A wider range of trims and the availability of all-wheel-drive are further points in the Sienna's favor. If you want the most affordable minivan, get the Dodge Grand Caravan in SE or SE Plus trim. In any other scenario, the Sienna is the smarter choice.

See Toyota Sienna Review

2019 Dodge Grand Caravan vs Chrysler Pacifica

They may both share Fiat Chrysler Automobiles as a manufacturer, but the Dodge Grand Caravan and the Chrysler Pacifica are otherwise little alike. This is no surprise since the far newer Pacifica was only launched in 2017, while the Grand Caravan soldiers on in the same basic form since its 2008 launch. The sleeker, far more advanced Pacifica also uses the Grand Caravan's Stow 'n Go system, essentially the Dodge's lone remaining advantage. This is no contest: where the Dodge has fallen off the radar, the Chrysler competes for best-in-class honors.

See Chrysler Pacifica Review

Dodge Grand Caravan Popular Comparisons