Although not as modern as the new Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey, the 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan offers a roomy and innovative interior, powerful standard V6 engine, decent fuel economy and a low base price. It lacks newer infotainment and driver-assist features, however, and its resale is near the bottom of the minivan pack.
You'll Like The 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan If...
If you don’t care about image but do care about a big, roomy, powerful and safe way to move you and your family to and fro, the 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan is it. A low base price and plenty of features make sealing the deal all the easier.
You May Not Like The 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan If...
If you’re looking for cutting-edge design, advanced driver-assist features, all-wheel drive or a strong resale and reliability history, you’re going to have to shop one of the Grand Caravan’s competitors.
For 2018, the Dodge Grand Caravan carries over with no major changes.
The 2018 Grand Caravan offers a clever and comfortable interior for its seven passengers. One of its aces is cargo flexibility, primarily due to the Stow 'n Go 2nd-row seats, which quickly fold into the floor to maximize cargo space without removing the heavy seats. The downside is that this limits the Grand Caravan to only seven passengers, unlike most of its competitors, which can seat up to eight. Those seven have comfortable seats, two available rear video screens and plenty of other amenities. The driver gets a nicely designed instrument panel and plenty of knickknack space.
If you think form should follow function, you're going to love what Dodge has done with the 2018 Grand Caravan. It's not ugly by any means, but the plain wraps around a very functional and family-friendly vehicle. The two sliding doors are a godsend to anybody who's ever been trapped in a crowded parking lot, and they're available with a power sliding mechanism as well. If there's not enough cargo space behind the third row, the Stow 'n Place roof-rack system uses swiveling roof-rack crossbars that can be stowed away, out of sight, in the side rails.
There’s nothing thrilling or out of the ordinary about the way the 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan drives, unless of course you consider the rapid straight-line acceleration produced by the 283-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. Although the Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest are better drivers, it’s not by much, and the Grand Caravan has a softer ride that actually is quite comfortable. The V6’s ample power is much appreciated both when passing and merging, as well as when pulling a loaded van up steep grades. When properly equipped, the Grand Caravan can tow up to 3,600 pounds. One area the Grand Caravan isn’t so grand is maneuverability. Its massive size and wide turning radius don’t make for graceful parking-lot maneuvers, and unlike its Pacifica sibling, the Grand Caravan lacks the latest infotainment and collision-avoidance systems.
Dodge’s Grand Caravan SE for 2018 carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just over $27,000, including the destination charge. The SE Plus adds about $2,700 to that price, but the $32,600 SXT model offers the best blend of features and price, in our opinion. The GT starts just under $35,600 and with options can run into the $39,000 range. The Dodge's price advantage over the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna is clear: The base price on a Sienna L and Honda Odyssey LX is nearly $3,000 higher than a Grand Caravan SE. Before heading to the dealer, be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying in your area. Also, note that while the prices are lower in the beginning, the Dodge doesn't hold its value as well as its Japanese or Korean competitors.
The base Grand Caravan SE comes pretty well equipped, starting with the 283-horsepower engine, 17-inch wheel covers, remote keyless entry and air conditioning in front and in the rear. It also comes with a tilt/telescope steering wheel, rearview camera, power windows, power locks, steering-wheel-mounted controls for the 6-speaker audio system and cruise control, storage bins hidden in the floor in front of the 2nd-row seats, electronic traction and stability control, and front, front side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags. The SXT adds a power driver’s seat, fog lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, power-sliding side doors and liftgate plus the Stow ‘n Place roof rack.
The Grand Caravan SE offers a DVD entertainment system and Uconnect hands-free package while the SXT can be equipped with the Driver’s Convenience Group that adds overhead consoles, tri-zone air conditioning, heated steering wheel and heated front seats, 2nd- and 3rd-row side-window sunshades, a garage-door opener, Uconnect voice command, overhead ambient lighting and rear swiveling reading lamps. This same package on the GT trim adds heated 2nd-row seats. All Grand Caravans can be equipped with the Safety Sphere Group that brings rear cross-traffic detection, rear parking sensors and a blind-spot monitor.
3.6-LITER V6 ENGINE
If you think a V6 can never match the pulling and passing power of a V8, you need to test drive the 2018 Grand Caravan. The standard Pentastar V6 offers excellent power for passing and merging, yet it manages to return an EPA highway fuel-economy rating of 25 mpg.
Slotting in just under $27,000, the 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan undercuts the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna by about $3,000, yet still features a number of standard items that are optional or unavailable on the competition.
Under the Hood
Only one engine is available for the 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan: a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Known as the Pentastar, it's an excellent V6 engine, delivering smooth power and pretty good fuel economy. The engine gets paired to 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)
It’s no secret that families today are picking midsize-crossover SUVs as their primary mode of transportation, yet the minivan still holds a place for those needing maximum cargo and flexibility. This is why the 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan still exists, and although its Town & Country twin has been replaced by the sleek new Pacifica, the Grand Caravan lumbers on offering a powerful standard engine, unique stowable 2nd-row seats and a base price neither the Honda Odyssey nor Toyota Sienna can touch. Of course, stylistically the Grand Caravan has all the appeal of a sardine can on wheels, but you don’t buy a minivan to impress your office mates, you buy it for its cavernous hold, numerous safety features and comfortable ride.