2007 Dodge Caravan Interior
The Caravan's budget-class interior is criticized by many, but its passenger capacity is competitive with other minivans. As Edmunds points out, "While lacking the famous fold-into-the-floor seats of its "Grand" sibling, the Caravan has adequate room for seven adults (and plenty of room for five)."
A black mark against the standard Caravan is its lack of Stow 'N Go seats, a feature available on Chrysler's larger minivans that allows the second- and third-row seats to fold into the floor, exposing a spacious cargo area without having to remove and store the seats. Stow 'N Go aside, the Caravan still provides substantial passenger and cargo capacity when compared to most vehicles -- just not when compared to some alternative minivans.
Many share MSN's feeling that "too much hard plastic... gives the interior an overly utilitarian appearance." The no-frills styling is complemented by no-frills features. Air-conditioning and an AM/FM/CD stereo are standard features, but little else is included on the base model.
Seating configurations aren't as clever in the standard Dodge Caravan as they are in the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country, both of which offer Chrysler's popular Stow 'N Go seating. But large seating capacity for a small price is still the Caravan's claim to fame. Cars.com reports, "All Caravan passenger minivans seat seven occupants. Super High Density Foam, developed by NASA for the space program, is used in the minivan's seats."
The Caravan's first-row bucket seats get mixed reviews. While the minivan's low threshold makes it easy for both tall and short people to climb in, some (including Car and Driver) complain of inferior back support. Leather seats are not available in the standard Caravan -- on either the SE or SXT models.
Second-row bucket seats are standard on the Caravan SXT. The SE comes with a bench seat. In either case, the second row provides roomy accommodations for two passengers. Consumer Guide finds: "Generous head, knee, and foot clearance, but some testers complain that 2nd-row bucket seats are too thinly padded."
A one-piece third-row bench seat comes standard on both the SE and SXT models. SXT buyers can upgrade to a 50/50 split bench seat option, where one half of the seat can be folded up while the other half is in use. This feature is designed to add cargo room while accommodating five passengers, although it is not as space efficient as Chrysler's Stow 'N Go seating (only available for buyers upgrading to the Grand Caravan). While the third-row bench seat is advertised as a three-seater, Consumer Guide suggests that only two adults will fit comfortably.
The SE model's standard features are as basic as you can get. No power windows or power door locks (the SXT has both). Front zone temperature control only (the SXT adds dual zone, and three-zone controls is available on some Grand Caravan models).
The SXT model adds power windows, power locks, keyless entry, second-row bench seats, six speakers, and dual-zone temperature control, among other features. Autobytel adds that for families, "SXT models can be equipped with a removable second-row center console, and an entertainment option package adds a DVD player to keep the kiddies occupied on road trips."
According to Edmunds, "Popular stand-alone options include a rear-seat DVD-based entertainment system, satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity (which Chrysler has dubbed the UConnect Hands-Free Communication System) and power-adjustable pedals." Additional options include a universal garage door opener, third row 50/50 split bench seating, and a six-disc CD changer.
The Caravan has standard hinged front doors and minivan-style sliding doors on both the driver and passenger side. Automotive.com finds that the "manually operated sliding doors are easy to operate, smoothly sliding open and closed with the pull of a nicely designed lever." A passenger-side power sliding door is available as an option on the SXT model, but there are drawbacks. Automotive.com finds them "particularly useful when you find yourself herding children while carrying two armloads of gear." But they "can be fussy when passengers are in a hurry to get out... and they usually are."
Stereo and Entertainment
The Dodge Caravan SE comes standard with a CD player, AM/FM stereo, and four speakers. The SXT adds similar stereo features and six speakers. A six-disc CD changer is available as an upgrade on the SXT model. A second-row overhead DVD video system is optional on all Caravan models. It includes a 7-inch LCD screen and remote control.
The standard Caravan loses about one foot of length to the Grand Caravan -- which substantially limits cargo space behind the third-row seat. Since Stow 'N Go seating is not available on standard Caravans, the rear seats must be folded down or removed to accommodate substantial cargo. With second- and third- row seats removed, the Caravan can accommodate an impressive 129 cubic feet of cargo.
But the seats are too heavy for most people to safely remove and replace by themselves. Automotive.com thinks that, "Most of the time what you'll do is leave the seats in the van but fold the seatbacks down to form a continuous load floor for large items."