No, it wasn't the Challenger. Not even close.
On paper, the current Dodge lineup looks fairly complete. There’s a full-size sedan (Charger), mid-size crossover (Journey), an SUV (Durango), a minivan (Grand Caravan) and, for fun, a large coupe with a retro muscle car design. That coupe, of course, is the Challenger and its 2018 sales total increased by 3 percent to 66,716 examples, a new record for the model. But don’t think for a moment that the Challenger is carrying the brand as a whole. The reality is very different. The best-selling Dodge vehicle for 2018 was none other than the decade-old fifth-generation Grand Caravan.
Here’s the 2018 model year breakdown, in descending order:
Dodge Grand Caravan – 151,927
Dodge Journey – 94,096
Dodge Durango – 65,947
Dodge Charger – 80,226
Dodge Challenger – 66,716
While the Challenger had its best year since the nameplate’s revival in 2008, over twice as many examples of the Grand Caravan were sold. It’s also the oldest vehicle on this list, followed by the Challenger, Journey, Durango and Charger (the latter two debuted in 2011). To summarize, Dodge’s best-seller is a decade-only minivan that’s also the most elderly model in its lineup. Even more impressive is that the Grand Caravan has outsold the far newer Chrysler Pacifica for the second straight year (we’re not counting the 2016 Pacifica because it launched mid-year).
A total of 118,322 Chrysler Pacificas left dealership lots in 2018, or 33,605 fewer units compared to the Grand Caravan. Despite its age, why is the Dodge Grand Caravan still the brand’s best seller? Why does it continue to outsell the newer (and more expensive) Pacifica? Because buyers get a lot of vehicle for the money. Other minivans, specifically the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, only start off at around $31,000. The Chrysler Pacifica starts at about $27,000, but all three can easily creep up to the mid-$40k range with higher trim levels.
The Dodge Grand Caravan, by contrast, starts at $26,250 and does not exceed $35,000 for a fully-loaded SXT trim. With seating that can comfortably fit up to seven passengers, there are few better values out there, including three-row crossovers.
"The Dodge Grand Caravan is America's best-selling minivan, ever, offering customers style, versatility and added features at an outstanding value," Steve Beahm, head of passenger car brands for FCA North America, told us in an email exchange. "Since FCA invented the minivan segment 35 years ago, the Grand Caravan has introduced 78 minivan firsts and the Chrysler Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid added 37 to that list, bringing FCA’s minivan innovation total to 115. Along with the Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid, our FCA minivans own more than half of the minivan segment in the United States, gaining 5.8 points of market share in 2018 alone. We created the minivan segment and we are very proud of our place in it."