The SUV and minivan market is increasing to get more popular and in one of the biggest booms ever. So much so, that we see many companies who have never made SUV’s create their own to cash in on the inflating market.
For years, Chrysler has been the pioneer and pretty much the best in this department. The Town and Country has been sold and sold and sold. Now that Chrysler has developed the Pacifica, the platform which the Town and Country is based has been retired.
However, things are a bit different at the seemingly ever-confused Dodge. While the marketing dollars are being spent on the high-power and insane Charger and Challenger models to make them faster, there’s an out-liar.
Dodge is continuing the production of a minivan that has been through quite a number of years; The Dodge Grand Caravan.
The Caravan is based completely on the Town and Country of yesteryear, and features a lot of the same styling and technology. Which is a common occurrence with big parent companies.
It’s almost like FCA didn’t tell Dodge they re-made the minivan platform, so the Caravan still exists. But apparently, FCA will be deciding to run production of new vehicles and their predecessors at the same time. Between the new Pacifica and Caravan, the 2018 Ram series and Jeep models, Chrysler products feature new and old models being sold at the same time.
Very interesting choice from the American and Italian parent company. I’ll also get into the Grand Caravan GT issue later.
The Specs-2017 Dodge Caravan:
|Power Plant:||3.6 L V6|
|Gearbox:||6 speed auto|
|MPG:||Up to 25 Highway/17 City|
|Top Speed:||120 MPH|
|0-60 MPH (0-120 KPH):||10 Seconds|
|Base Price:||$25,900 (est).|
The Exterior-2017 Dodge Caravan:
Minivan’s have a tendency to look pretty much all the same. Big, bulky, over-weight and unshaped.
This has been a trend for years and no one really minded, since it’s just a minivan. It doesn’t really need to be stunning or over bearing. It just needs to serve its purpose.
As for the 2017 Dodge Caravan, Dodge took a pretty unconventional approach to the classic minivan silhouette. While the minivan is heavily based on the Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge took the liberty of tacking on as much as possible to the body to make it look unique. We’ve seen brands do this with their cars before, but the Caravan and the Town and Country are pretty extreme examples of sharing.
Dodge added some more aggressive cues to the Caravan which makes it look just confused. It’s a minivan that wants to be a sports car, which is just the most counter intuitive thing I’ve ever heard.
Some people are into this sort of thing, but I can’t see why…I don’t like confused cars, and don’t get me started on the GT.
Okay I started. Why does a minivan have a GT trim? Do we even know where the designation GT came from? It’s a sports car and super car thing NOT a minivan thing.
The Town and Country is what the Caravan should be. Dodge is a more performance-car oriented company, and trying to make a minivan doesn’t make sense for Dodge. I know there are plenty of makes that can pull this off (Lamborghini Urus…Somehow) but Dodge is just different. The Caravan just looks cheesy and a half attempt at making a sporty minivan.
The Interior-2017 Dodge Caravan:
Honestly, I was hit with utter confusion when I first saw the dashboard of the 2017 Dodge Caravan. The thing is super outdated and in dire need of a redesign, or a cancellation.
The new Pacifica’s interior has been updated to fit the new market and is loaded with new technology and styling to match. This old Caravan interior is just behind everyone else. Plain and simple.
The navigation screen is way too small, air conditioning layout is super outdated and the shifter is in the most awkward place ever.
I will admit that the platform which the 2017 Dodge Caravan and previous Chrysler Town and Country was based on is fantastic and makes great use with a lot of space, and the interior is very comfortable.
Overall, the only prevailing issue with the interior of the 2017 Dodge Caravan is the fact that is wholly outdated. The other issue is that I don’t think Dodge knows what to do with it.
The Performance-2017 Dodge Caravan:
Chrysler and FCA as a whole loves their 3.6 L Pentastar V6 engine. Which is totally fine, since that engine is powerful, capable and well equipped to do pretty much anything.
The Pentastar engine in the 2017 Dodge Caravan produces a healthy 283 horsepower, and 260 pound feet of torque.
This is the same number through the whole line up, which makes even less sense to why there is a GT trim.
Fuel economy isn’t the best either, rated at 17 miles per gallon city, and 25 on the highway. This is a bit below what people expect. And again, is behind the times in terms of technology.
The end game is that the 2017 Dodge Caravan needs an update through and through.
Sum It Up:
In any configuration you get the 2017 Dodge Caravan, the vehicle will be behind in technology and performance compared to the other vehicles in its market segment.
I’m not sure what FCA is thinking is the next step here, but I don’t think Dodge should carry on with this type of black sheep of a car in their line up.
The 2017 Dodge Caravan release date was in fall 2016, and the MSRP starts around $26,000.