Dodge prides itself on inventing a minivan that people rely on, want to drive and can actually afford, and the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan certainly does not disappoint as it is the most affordable American option in its class. It has been a dramatic success, thanks to innovative Stow'n Go seats that allow the second and third rows to fold right into the floor. This is much more attractive than dealing with taking our bolts, removing seats and dealing with having to store them somewhere when extra cargo space is needed. Dodge states that there are 81 possible seating configurations, which means that no matter what you are hauling, you can find a way to fit it in. With all of the seats folded down, there is 144.2 cubic feet of cargo space, and that is something that anyone can appreciate. When the seats are all in place, there are in-floor storage bins that also hold quite a bit, like a load of groceries, for example.
The engine performs well, with 283 horsepower provided by a 3.6-liter V-6 engine and six-speed transmission with overdrive. The suspension has been redesigned, as has the interior. All passengers, regardless of position can expect a smooth ride. A budget-friendly price and fuel efficiency of 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway adds to the desirability of this total package.
The Dodge Grand Caravan handles beautifully, despite a curb weight of 4,500 pounds, with steering reminiscent of a standard size car. This is an improvement over older models, which were once quite loose and choppy, as this minivan is half an inch lower, the shocks and springs have been tuned, and there is now a hydraulic power steering rack. Bumps are virtually unnoticeable in this vehicle, and drivers appreciate that they no longer have a sense of top-heaviness. Unfortunately, even with all of these upgrades, the Dodge Grand Caravan does not quite keep pace with competitors who have refined the ride and control even more. While some of the competition manages to ride more like a sedan, there is no mistaking that you are driving a minivan in this one.
All trims have standard safety features, such as remote keyless entry, traction control, a tire pressure monitor, antilock brakes with brake assist and stability control. Seven standard airbags protect all passengers, and optional Parkview Rear Back-Up Camera and Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear across Path Detection offer exception added security.