Stowing, Going and Holding Its Own
Since 1984, when Dodge ushered in the minivan as a new form of family transportation, many changes have taken place in the industry. Many manufacturers have revised their minivans, and upgraded interiors, exteriors and engines. In 2011, the competition is stiffer than ever, with improvements in styling, powertrain and suspension. The Dodge Grand Caravan is still holding its own against the competition. The 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan is the best 'Stow and Go' minivan, for people who often change their interior from passenger transport to cargo hauler. Revisions Although the basic underlying structure is still the same, just about everything else on the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan has improved. 'Stow and Go' seats return with greater comfort and unique features. The second and third-row seats fold flat into the floor, providing a level surface for cargo; this feature is superior to that of other minivans where you remove seats to gain cargo space. The new Grand Caravan engine is better than the used Grand Caravan engine of the past. All 2011 Grand Caravan models, come with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, which yields a superior 283 horsepower, and better fuel economy than last year's top 4.0-liter V6. Body and Trims This year Dodge made the Grand Caravan exterior edgier and more stylish. Dodge has also upgraded the interior with more modern designs, better quality materials and superior workmanship. Engineers have improved the suspension resulting in better driving and road-handling dynamics. The 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan comes in five different trims, namely the C/V, Express, Mainstreet, Crew and R/T. All trim models come with a 3.6L V6 flex-fuel engine, automatic transmission, MP3 Player, side/curtain airbags, stability control and traction control, but each offers different styles and features. Navigation system, bluetooth, iPod input and DVD player are optional in all models. The C/V is a commercial-use vehicle, and comes with commercial grade suspension. Other features include, heated mirrors, cruise control, rubber floor covering, keyless entry, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The Express is the base passenger model and comes with touring suspension, tri-zone air-conditioning, a removable center console, second-row 'Stow and Go' seats, and a six-speaker audio system. The Mainstreet has 16-inch alloy wheels and power second-row and rear windows. The Crew is the most luxurious trim level and has upgrades like fog lights, a roof rack, and added interior storage. Powered features include sliding doors, driver seat and adjustable pedals. Electronic upgrades include tri-zone automatic climate control, a trip computer, a universal garage door opener, a touchscreen display, and a high-end satellite audio system. The R/T is the sporty model and is top-of-the-line 2011 Grand Caravan model. It comes with high performance suspension, leather seats in the first and second rows, and Infiniti sound system. Limitations Despite the upgrades of the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan, its competitors out shine it in some areas. Other makes of minivan also have powerful engines and transmissions, but with greater refinements and smoother changing capabilities. The lightness of the steering and compliance of the suspension, also fall short to that of the competition.