In the Dawn Age of Minivans, the Dodge Caravan was the first and it’s still in the game, hauling kids to school and families to the mall. Among its attractions are a nice interior, a powerful V6 engine, and lots of handy and thoughtful features, such as seating that can stow in the floor for hauling larger cargo.
You'll Like The 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan If...
This is simple. You have a family, need to haul people and cargo, and you’re working with a modest budget. Given those requirements, the 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan should top your list.
You May Not Like The 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan If...
Maybe you want something less, well, utilitarian-looking and you’d like a higher retention of resale value. Check out the alternatives from Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Kia. And, if you can benefit from all-wheel drive, that sends you to the Toyota Sienna.
The major Dodge Grand Caravan news for 2014 is the availability of an optional 30th Anniversary model, which includes numerous luxury, convenience and trim features that are otherwise, for the most part, either parts of packages or stand-alone options.
A minivan makes friends with its interior, and the 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan wins lots of friends. Facing the driver is a handsome instrument panel with soft-touch surfaces, detailed instrument clusters with chrome bezels, and attractive ambient lighting. There is storage apparently everywhere, but the R/T model adds an extra-large console between the front seats. Adding versatility is the Grand Caravan’s Stow ‘n Go system, which allows folding the 2nd-row seats completely into wells in the floor or, with the seats up, those deep wells can be used to store even more of the stuff of family travel.
The 2014 Dodge Caravan is not a style leader. Not that it looks bad, it’s just plain. However, that blandness covers a very functional, family-friendly vehicle. The large sliding side doors are available with power operation and power-opening windows. Around the rear, the shaded privacy glass helps keep the insides cooler on hot days. On higher trim levels the rear-most glass panels offer an opening, venting function. On top, the Stow ‘n Place roof-rack system uses swiveling roof-rack crossbars that can be stowed away, out of sight, in the side rails. Beautiful? Perhaps not. Highly functional? You bet.
For all its work-a-day appearance and family-oriented reputation, the 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan is much more of an enthusiast’s driving minivan that you would expect. The strong engine, with 283 horsepower, moves the Grand Caravan with responsive and impressive performance. The suspension and steering handle the curves with precision and ease, and the 4-wheel disc brakes bring things safely and surely to a stop. The engine is really the star of this minivan's show – it not only deals with any load you might reasonably pile in or on the Grand Caravan but, with the optional towing package, it can handle trailers up to 3,600 pounds. And, in the bargain, it’s rated by the EPA with city/highway fuel-economy figures of 17 and 25 mpg, respectively. The only driving aspect we found slightly problematical was a somewhat wide turning radius that made U-turns and tight parking lots a bit of an issue.
The base 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan, the AVP, has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) under $21,000. The cargo version is under the Ram brand and is the C/V, for Cargo Van; its base price is under $24,000. At the opposite end, the Grand Caravan can approach $40,000 for a fully-loaded R/T model. The Grand Caravan’s base price is among the lowest in the category, yet it features a quite powerful standard engine. By comparison, the Toyota Sienna V6 is about $4,000 more, while the entry-level Honda Odyssey is roughly $7,000 more. We expect our Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to reflect real-world transaction prices – before any available incentives – within a few hundred dollars of sticker price. And, although the 2014 Grand Caravan minivan may have a lower entry price, we don’t expect it to retain resale value as well as the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.
A 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan AVP includes keyless entry, heated side mirrors, 2-zone manual air conditioning, rear wiper/washer, rear defroster, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, second-row in-floor storage bins, AM/FM/CD/MP3 4-speaker stereo with steering-wheel audio controls and auxiliary audio input jack, cloth seating and 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers. Available on the AVP and standard on all other trims are 2nd-row Stow ‘n Go seating and tinted side glass. All models feature a 3.6-liter V6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, electronic traction and stability control and 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. Standard safety equipment includes front, front side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags.
Beyond the base AVP, the 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan is available in SE, SXT and R/T trim levels. Among the more notable options are the Stow ’n Place roof rack, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, a power liftgate and the Uconnect hard-drive-based voice-activated navigation and entertainment system. Other options of note include an Infinity 506-watt 9-speaker audio upgrade, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, satellite radio, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, rearview monitor, Uconnect Web mobile Wi-Fi Hot Spot, rear backup sensors, Blind Spot Monitoring system with Cross Path protection, manual sunshades, rain-sensing wipers, power-adjustable pedals and power-sliding side doors.
3.6-LITER V6 ENGINE
With 283 horsepower, the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is as well-suited to the Grand Caravan as an engine can be. Matched with a 6-speed automatic, the powertrain is smooth, responsive and potent, and returns commendably good fuel economy.
Perfect for a day at the game or a shaded family picnic, the Dodge’s 2014 Grand Caravan’s third-row seat can be flipped 180 degrees backward, creating a comfortable couch on which to perch your weary bones.
Under the Hood
All models of the 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan are powered by the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine of 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. It’s a remarkable powerplant and delivers smoothness, response, plenty of power and noteworthy fuel economy. It’s matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission that delivers smooth shift action and, unlike some other transmissions in other vehicles, doesn’t have the annoying characteristic of continually “hunting” for the correct gear. Finally, the V6 is E85-compatible, so it can operate on blends of gasoline and ethanol.
283 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg (gasoline), 12/18 mpg (E85)
The 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan remains as a leader on the list when a family starts shopping for a minivan, and with good reason. Going head-to-head with segment leaders like the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, the Grand Caravan features a smooth and powerful V6 engine that deals well with full loads and freeway merges, a nicely-finished interior that includes attractive ambient lighting and the thoughtful features Stow ‘n Go system (allows folding the 2nd-row seats into the floor), and a very affordable price. It might be somewhat plain on the outside, but where you need it to work is on the inside, and the Dodge Grand Caravan does that very, very well.