The 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan earned a strong Total Car Score in the Minivan category. With a 25-year history and the reputation of being the first legitimate minivan in the U.S., the Grand Caravan is a staple in the segment. However, Chrysler plans to discontinue the model after next year.
Reviewers praised the Caravan for its practicality, functionality and overall spacious interior. It is also lauded for offering plenty of storage options as well as its versatile Stow ‘n Go seating system. Other pluses include a long list of standard amenities and electronics, an affordable price and a solid emphasis on safety.
On the negative side, the Grand Caravan was criticized for its outdated transmission, a sometimes bouncy ride and sloppy handling when pushed beyond casual driving. Other detractors include a shortage of driver legroom, the absence of an all-wheel-drive option and the lack of overall refinement.
The Dodge Grand Caravan minivan debuted as an all-new fifth generation model for the previous model year. For 2012 it undergoes a general reorganization of trim level content.
The 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is a seven-passenger minivan available in five trim levels: the newly- introduced American Value Package, SE, SXT, Crew and R/T.
The American Value Package model brings 16-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, Stow 'n Go seats for the second row and a base stereo with steering-wheel-controls. The SE ups the ante with trizone climate control, tinted glass, a center console and an upgraded audio system. Options include such features as an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. The SXT offers most of these features as standard equipment plus a larger roster of options than the lower two trims. Among these are power sliding doors, remote ignition, adjustable pedals and a rear DVD system.
The Crew trim level makes many of the previously mentioned options into standard equipment. It also adds a roof rack, power-adjustable pedals, foglights and a further upgraded audio system with touchscreen controls. Options include a navigation system and a rearview camera. The R/T is the sportiest of the five trims and benefits from 17-inch alloy wheels, a more tightly sprung suspension, larger brakes, an Infiniti audio system, power-operated passenger seat and leather upholstery.
The front-wheel-drive Grand Caravan is equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 making 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It utilzes a six-speed automatic transmission.
Safety comes from stability control, ABS and seven airbags, including one at the driver’s knee. The Grand Caravan earned high marks in crash tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the best possible safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
EPA-estimated fuel economy for the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway/20 mpg combined.
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