Dodge Grand Caravan Interior
Thanks to a number of seating options and configurations, most reviewers say the 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan has a practical interior that maximizes comfort and utility while providing room for seven. Kelley Blue Book says "The Grand Caravan is surprisingly plush inside with standard cloth-covered seats, full carpeting and a long list of standard and optional features."
Still, many reviewers note some cheap and dated materials, and think that the build quality of the interior doesn't match that of its competitors. The Edmunds reports that "the van's controls and displays are dated." The Washington Post compares the interior and its shortcomings to one of the Grand Caravan's competitors, saying, "Fit-and-finish and interior materials in the Dodge Grand Caravan SXT are good. But in the Hyundai Entourage Limited, they are discernibly superior."says, "The interior is nicely designed, although there is lots of hard plastic and sound system controls are too small for easy use."
The Grand Caravan comes standard with two captain's chairs in the front row, a two-person bench in the second row and a three-person bench in the third row. Buyers can opt to replace the second-row bench with two captain's chairs. The majority of reviewers like the optional Stow 'N Go seating feature, an industry first. This option, introduced in 2001, allows the second- and third-row seats to be collapsed into the vehicle's floor in as little as 30 seconds. This feature allows for maximum cargo and passenger flexibility, leading The Auto Channel to report "interior versatility puts [the Grand Caravan] at the head of its class."
Seating in the Grand Caravan is generally thought of as comfortable and roomy. The The Auto Channel reports "Super High Density (SHD) foam, originally developed by NASA for astronaut seat comfort, is used for the seats, and it works just as well in a minivan as it does in space."says, "The Grand Caravan easily swallows seven tall adults, although six are more comfortable because the third row is more suited to two adults, not three."
The Grand Caravan's front row of seats is flexible enough to allow any occupant to be comfortable. CNET notes that, "Adjustable pedals are a nice touch for drivers of smaller stature," but adds "[t]he eight-way power driver's seat is comfortable but doesn't have quite the range of adjustability of other current car models." Overall, reviewers say the driver gets a commanding view from a comfortable perch. "The seating position is higher than that of a sedan, which enables drivers to see over traffic. But you won't need a rope ladder to climb into the seats, as you do in SUVs," says New Car Test Drive.
Most reviewers tested Grand Caravan models that had the optional second row captain's chairs, which most agreed were comfortable. CNET says "The two second-row bucket seats offer more support than expected, and adjustable headrests accommodate passengers of varying height."
Most reviewers say that the Grand Caravan's third-row seats are not as comfortable as the first two. Still, many note that the third row is more comfortable than the third row of seats in many full-size SUVs. New Car Test Drive says, "Getting into the third row is a little awkward, but easier than in most SUVs. Once back there, the third-row seating is comfortable, though the seat bottoms are steeply raked." CNET disagrees slightly, saying "Back bench seating is cramped; the second-row bucket seats must be moved all the way forward to offer any reasonable legroom. Our rear passengers also complained of a rough ride and excessive sliding around corners."
What the base Grand Caravan SE model lacks in high-tech features, it makes up for in versatility and hauling capacity. The Grand Caravan SE comes standard with features that matter to families, like front and rear power outlets, an abundance of cargo tie-downs and grocery bag hooks, and sliding doors on both sides of the van. The SE comes standard with second- and third-row benches, both of which recline up to 60 degrees and can be removed from the vehicle, maximizing cargo storage. There are also storage bins in the floor in front of the second and third row. U.S. News' Rick Newman says, "there is functionality galore in the Grand Caravan."
The higher-end SXT model adds comfort and convenience options like triple-zone climate control, which New Car Test Drive reports is "excellent, allowing the driver and front-seat passenger to set their own comfort levels." The SXT also replaces the second-row bench seat with two captain's chairs and includes the Stow 'N Go folding functionality for all rear seats. The SXT also adds an eight-way power driver's seat, power windows and steering wheel audio controls. The sliding rear doors are automatic on the SXT, allowing them to be opened at the touch of a button. A number of additional high-tech features are available as options on the SXT.
The Grand Caravan SE comes standard with a single disc in-dash CD player with AM/FM radio and four speakers. The Grand Caravan SXT has six speakers. New Car Test Drive says, "Controls for the sound system were intuitive and easy to use with a big round knob for volume and on/off, though a separate Set button must be pressed to pre-set stations." An optional six-disc changer is available on the SXT.
Many reviewers recommend the optional rear-seat DVD system, saying that it is a kid-friendly feature in a family-oriented car. CNET says, "The rear 7-inch LCD video screen has a wide viewable angle. [optional] Wireless headphones produce good sound and ensure that the driver or other passengers won't be distracted." U.S. News' Rick Newman says, "Get the optional DVD system and you've created a kiddie kingdom," in the Caravan's second and third rows.
The optional navigation system gets mixed reviews. Though the system is useful, it suffers from a small screen and controls some reviewers found flimsy. The Washington Post says it is "highly useful, despite the handicap of its small, four-inch screen," and CNET adds, "The Caravan's navigation screen is small with flimsy, confusing controls."
Buyers who trade up to the Grand Caravan SXT get a wealth of high-tech features. CNET says "the Grand Caravan SXT shatters notions of mundane minivans," adding that they "particularly liked the UConnect hands-free communication system." The UConnect system uses Bluetooth technology to allow the driver to make and answer calls using controls on the steering wheel.
The optional rear Park Assist feature can be helpful for families, since it help drivers avoid backing into children's toys, or worse, a child. Though helpful, the system isn't perfect. CNET says the system "was helpful when attempting to parallel park or back up in tight areas, but we found the warning beep a little on the late side. We prefer the gradual warning signals of other park-assist systems."
The optional automatic liftgate available on the SXT is also a reviewer favorite and they predict it will be a favorite feature of Grand Caravan families. New Car Test Drive says the power liftgate and sliding rear doors (standard) on their SXT is "particularly useful when you find yourself herding children while carrying two armloads of gear." CNET adds, "One or two easy clicks of the remote eliminated the risk of strained arms or pinched fingers."
The Washington Post says the Grand Caravan "swallows cargo, thanks to its fully collapsible [optional] 'Stow 'n Go' seats in the second and third rows." Even without the optional Stow 'N Go seats, the rear two rows of seating in the Grand Caravan can be removed, allowing all models the same cargo capacity. The Stow 'N Go feature, however, was a reviewer favorite. About.com says they are "convinced that this may be one of the best ideas yet." New Car Test Drive finds the "Stow 'n Go seating system is the best on the market."
With this system, the second and third row of seats can collapse and fold into empty storage wells in the floor. When the seats are up, the storage wells are empty, making them great storage nooks for children's toys, or items like muddy boots that drivers may not want in the passenger compartment. Having the seats collapse into the floor eliminates the need to remove and store the seats when more cargo space is needed, a process that many reviews say is heavy and awkward in other minivans and SUVs. CNET says "Folding down the seats is a relatively easy, albeit clunky, process." The majority of reviewers recommend that buyers opt for this feature.
With the third-row seats in place, the Grand Caravan has 32.5 cubic feet of cargo space, more than many competitors that have a shorter wheel base. With the third row removed, there is 85.9 cubic feet of cargo space. With the second and third rows removed, there is 144.2 cubic feet of cargo space, an amount that New Car Test Drive says is more cargo space than most sport utilities, including the mammoth Chevy Suburban. And its cargo space is more accessible and more convenient than that of SUVs." With its lower stance, many reviewers note that the Grand Caravan can not only hold more cargo than many full-size SUVs, but that it is also easier to load the Grand Caravan.
In addition to its large cargo capacity, the Grand Caravan also offers many family-friendly interior storage spaces. U.S. News' Rick Newman says "It is filled with cup holders, storage nooks (including the Stow 'n' Go wells when the second-row seats are intact), bag hooks, and other doodads." A front center console is standard, and a center consol for the second row is available on SXT models. Still, the interior storage spaces aren't perfect. CNET reports, "Three adjustable overhead compartments are convenient for only small items such as sunglasses or pens." U.S. News' Rick Newman finds, "The shallow cup holders in the front seat barely hold a tall soda bottle, an inexcusable oversight in our supersized, cup-holding society." Despite these shortcomings, New Car Test Drive declares, "When it comes to moving combinations of people and stuff, the Grand Caravan has no peers."