A huge selection of previously owned Grand Caravans are available and the healthy competition gives a buyer a distinct advantage…

No other vehicle, sold in Canada, has been as dominant in a market segment as the Dodge Grand Caravan.

Dodge (aka Chrysler) is often credited with inventing the “minivan” or “magic wagon”, about thirty years ago, and it makes the Grand Caravan in Canada. Competitors have come and many are gone, as none has been able to match the amazing value package that is Dodge Grand Caravan.

About six or seven out of every ten new minivans sold in Canada, in recent years, are Dodge Grand Caravans. This, in turn, accounts for the huge selection of previously owned Grand Caravans available and the healthy competition gives a buyer a distinct advantage.

Consumer Reports owner surveys show higher than average repair problems with brakes, body hardware and power equipment. On the plus side, basic major mechanical stuff, like engine and transmission, get generally good reliability ratings. No matter where you live in BC, finding a service provider or replacement parts when needed should not be a problem and costs tend to be lower, important considerations for used buyers.

For the 2011 model year, Dodge did a major redesign of Grand Caravan. It’s a more boxy shape than before and the interior refit incorporated the latest connectivity and safety features. Under the hood, a new 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transaxle was the only powertrain offered and all-wheel-drive was an option.

In addition to being more fuel-efficient the new 3.6-litre V6 can provide a very impressive 283 horsepower and more than 260 lb-ft of torque, and it replaced three V6 engines (3.3-litre, 3.8-litre and 4.0-litre) that were offered in the previous Grand Caravan. City/highway fuel economy is rated at 12.2/7.9 L/100km and a new driver-selectable fuel economizer mode than can adjust powertrain settings for best fuel economy, at the press of a switch.

Grand Caravan trim levels are SE (which includes a Canada Value Package), SXT (which adds Stow ‘n Go second-row seating), Crew and R/T. The unique to Canada added value package with the SE trim includes 16-inch steel wheels, dual-zone temperature control, keyless entry, power mirrors, power front windows, tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio controls and driver’s knee airbag.

The second-row Stow `n Go seating feature (on STX or higher trim levels) is exclusive to Grand Caravan. Improvements to the foldaway mechanism, which allows them to slide into a storage compartment, allow a single user action. This feature quickly and effectively transforms a Grand Caravan into a two-seater cargo van, without removing the five rear seats.

A driver-side knee blocker air bag is standard and safety conscious new buyers could also add a “Safety Sphere” package. It includes ParkSense (rear park assist system), ParkView (back-up camera), Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection system (warns of crossing traffic when reversing out of a parking stall), rain-sensitive wipers and automatic headlamps.

No significant changes were made to Grand Caravan for the 2012 model year. Changes for 2013 were minor and included an upgraded DVD package with better screens and Blu-Ray capability.

Going with a popular vehicle choice has very real advantages, especially when it’s “Canada’s Minivan” the maximum bang-for-the-buck Dodge Grand Caravan.

 

Price Check: 2011 – 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan (March 2014)

Year                    Edition                                                 Expect to Pay Today

2011                       SE                                                          $14,000 to $17,000

2012                       SE                                                          $16,000 to $19,000

2013                       SE                                                          $18,000 to $22,000

Prices vary depending on a used vehicle’s condition, mileage, usage and history. A complete mechanical check should always be performed by a reliable auto technician prior to purchase.

 

Safety Recalls: 2010 to 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan:

2011- A missing or incorrectly installed steering column pivot rivet may not perform as intended in the event of a crash and increases the risk of driver injury. Dealers will inspect for steering column rivet presence and alignment, and repair as required.

2012 – The 3.6 litre V6 engine may have debris in the cylinder block from the manufacturing process and this could cause connecting rod bearing and crankshaft bearing damage. Dealers will replace the engine assembly.

2012 – A pinch-sensor may not function as intended and this could result in injury, if a body part becomes trapped by the closing liftgate. Dealers will inspect and, if necessary, replace the right side power liftgate pinch-sensor.

2012 – An incorrectly manufactured right rear hub and bearing assembly may fail and this could result in wheel separation from the vehicle. Dealers will replace the right rear hub and bearing assembly.

2013 – Some vehicles may experience an unintended airbag deployment (on the side opposite to the collision) in a side impact collision. Dealers will reprogram the Occupant Restraint Control (ORC) module with updated software.

2013 – The Occupant Restraint Control (ORC) module may have been configured with incorrect software and airbags may not deploy as intended during a crash. Dealers will replace the ORC module.

 

bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

 

 

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