2011 Dodge Grand Caravan Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
Though much improved for 2011, reviewers say that the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan’s performance could be more refined. The new engine and improved handling are high points.
- "The multiple mechanical changes make the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan a contender. But segment leaders like the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna are still steps ahead through their enhancements for 2011." -- Edmunds
Acceleration and Power
For 2011 the Grand Caravan has a new 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 283 horsepower – the best in the class. Still, reviewers point out that other vans feel quicker and have better fuel economy.
- "The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 that eventually will replace seven Chrysler engines makes Dodge/Chrysler vans the most powerful of any. That's a blessing when toting a load, or trying to merge smoothly at the end of the acceleration ramp. The six-speed automatic transmission shifted with little delay or stumble in most cases. But when you accelerated hard, then let off suddenly, the engine continued to rev for a second or two, as if something were amiss." -- USA TODAY
- "An all-new V-6 engine powers all trim levels, which is a welcome relief for those confused by the three engines previously offered. It's also a significantly better engine, both in terms of smooth power delivery and in terms of improved mileage. It doesn't feel as energetic as the Odyssey's V-6, nor is it as fuel-efficient, but it's above-average for its class. And considering that class is minivans, you shouldn't exactly expect a NASCAR experience." -- Cars.com
- "Chrysler should boast too, as this is a great engine. But even though it makes the Grand Caravan feel brawny, it's not quite in the same league as Honda's 250-hp V6, which also uses cylinder deactivation to boost fuel economy. The Grand Caravan doesn't have this technology, but it does feature a new "econ" button on the dashboard to change the transmission shift schedule in an attempt to improve fuel economy. We couldn't really tell any difference between driving with the button depressed or not. Chrysler told us that using the button should be good for an extra mile per gallon, but it seems like in real world driving, it would lead us to just press the gas pedal harder." -- Autoblog
Handling and Braking
Overall, test drivers report that the Grand Caravan is a good handler, particularly compared to the 2010 model.
- "Stiffer suspension parts and upgraded tires (Michelins now) are meant to remove squish from cornering. Some folks also will like the added stability in crosswinds. In addition, steering and brakes felt suitably direct, responsive." -- USA TODAY
- "The biggest performance upgrade, though, is the smoother, quieter ride I mentioned above. That puts the Grand Caravan on par with the rest of the field." -- Cars.com
- "If there's anything untoward in the Grand Caravan's handling, it would be an occasional bout of torque steer, one of the downsides to routing all that power through the front wheels. But the Grand Caravan's body motions are well controlled while cornering, and despite its 4,500-pound curb weight, there's no crashing over bumps or feeling of top-heaviness. The steering is taut and responsive, and the Grand Caravan feels firmly planted at all times." -- Autoblog