2007 Dodge Grand Caravan Performance
When it comes to performance, most reviewers say the Grand Caravan falls well short of its competitors. Edmunds says, "Alongside top import-brand competitors, the Grand Caravan's engines aren't as powerful or refined; its ride isn't as smooth or quiet; and its handling isn't as tidy or sure-footed."
With weak engines and a dated transmission, the Grand Caravan's powertrain is the biggest disappointment for reviewers. The base engine labored particularly hard in test drives, and the higher engine is only seen as adequate. A majority of reviewers also dislike the four-speed automatic transmission, which many say is out of date. The Washington Post says the Grand Caravan's "core technology -- its engine and transmission -- is obsolete."
Acceleration and Power
The base Grand Caravan SE comes with a 3.3-liter V6 engine that makes 170 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. Kelley Blue Book says that with this engine, "Horsepower and torque are adequate when lightly loaded, but fill the Grand Caravan with people and cargo and this engine feels the strain." Cars.com reports that with this engine, "high-speed acceleration is less vigorous" than with the larger engine. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that this engine gets 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
The Grand Caravan SXT is equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 engine that makes 200 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman says this engine "is quiet and competent but doesn't stand out in any way. Nor should it -- there's no performance aspect to the Grand Caravan." The EPA estimates that this engine gets 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
The four-speed automatic transmission that comes with either engine drew almost unanimous criticism. The Washington Post says "Both the engine and transmission in the Dodge Grand Caravan SXT need to be updated. There is no good excuse for a four-speed automatic transmission in a world where five-, six- and seven-speed automatics have become commonplace." With underwhelming engines and a dated transmission, either available powertrain on the Grand Caravan disappointed reviewers. CNET notes that the SXT model they tested "hesitated to accelerate on freeway on-ramps and uphill."
Handling and Braking
Reviewers say the Grand Caravan handles well enough for a minivan, but are quick to point out that it is neither sporty nor fun to drive, and that other minivans drive better. The Kelley Blue Book finds that the Caravan's handling isn't as good as its competitors, saying that it earns "only an acceptable rating from our testing staff, as the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey have set a higher standard in this area."says the "Handling is carlike, and there's decent stopping power, with an easily modulated brake pedal."
Most reviewers say that the Grand Caravan's ride is tuned for passenger comfort, but isn't as carlike as they would like. The Auto Channel says the "independent strut front, leaf-sprung beam axle rear suspension is designed and calibrated for passenger comfort and cargo-carrying ability," but some reviewers say Dodge missed the mark. U.S. News' Rick Newman says, "There are refinements that make the engine smoother and the handling slicker but there's still the top-heavy, loping sensation of a big hauler."
For the most part, reviewers are pleased with the Grand Caravan's steering. The New Car Test Drive adds "the rack-and-pinion steering responds nicely and provides good feedback through the steering wheel. The Grand Caravan tracks true at highway speeds, so there's no need for constant, minor steering corrections."says the "Steering is quick, with good road feel, and Caravans are easy to maneuver."
The brakes on the Grand Caravan generally get good marks. New Car Test Drive says "the Grand Caravan's brakes offer good feel, performance and durability. Standard brakes are discs in front with heavy-duty rotors and drums at the rear." CNET adds the "brakes stopped the car quickly on both on wet and dry roads," but finds the brake pedal "mushy."
The Dodge Grand Caravan SE
The Grand Caravan SE is the base model for the Grand Caravan. It has a 3.3-liter V6 engine with 170 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque.
The Dodge Grand Caravan SXT
The Grand Caravan SXT has a 3.8-liter V6 engine that makes 200 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque.