It was the first Dodge Caravan that created the entire mini-van concept back in the 1984 model year. Today, with the sweeping changes and updates that Dodge has implemented for the 2011 model, the Caravan has come full circle as it re-establishes itself as the most valuable player of the mini-van league.
The main improvement is to be found inside the roomy cabin, where "Stow 'n Go" seating modifications allow drivers to easily convert the same vehicle they use to transport their children to soccer practice into a tough hauling and transport van that can easily be filled with lumber and cement for a do-it-yourself home remodeling project, or sports and camping gear for an extended vacation or nature excursion. That is not the only interior improvement, though, as the 2011 model of the Grand Caravan also boasts a new design that is flawlessly executed with higher quality materials.
Dodge has also updated the basic engine for the new Grand Caravan, replacing an older, less efficient engine with the highly acclaimed and powerful 283-horsepower Pentastar V6 that also powers its sports cars and SUV models. This engine delivers very respectable fuel mileage, and combined with a six-speed automatic transmission, it makes the Grand Caravan the quickest and highest performing of any minivan model available in the United States for the 2011 model year. Torque steering adds to the performance and versatility of the new Caravan.
Of course, a mini-van is first and foremost a family vehicle for which safety is a paramount consideration, and the Dodge Grand Caravan is a leader in that realm as well. With active front head restraints, and a full set of airbags including driver knee airbags as well as side curtain and front seat side airbags, the Grand Caravan provides ample protection in the event of a crash. Antilock disc brakes are standard as are stability and traction control, with safety-oriented options including rear parking and cross-traffic sensors, a rearview camera and a blind spot monitoring system.
Price is another factor that makes the Dodge Caravan quite impressive, as it is the minivan that provides the best set of options for its base price of just under $30,000. It is available in five trim packages, from the stripped-down commercially oriented C/V and entry-level Express through the Mainstreet and Crew and up to the luxurious R/T that adds both higher performance and top-class interior amenities to the Grand Caravan package.
At first glance, the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan may just look like another mini-van. However, a close look at the redesigned exterior, and a test drive that showcases everything it has to offer, presents a very impressive picture indeed.