If you're looking for a great deal on a Dodge or Chrysler minivan, now might be the right time to buy. The reasons are somewhat complex, but the bottom line is that the vans aren't selling as well as they used to.
Dodge Grand Caravan sales slipped 26 percent in January and February and the Chrysler Town & Country is down just one percent. Still, the best deals may be on the more luxurious Chrysler version, that because dealers have quite a few Town and Country van on thier lots, more than a 60 day supply.
The current 2013 Chrysler Town & Country and 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan models were last redesigned for the 2008 model year and received a substantial upgrade for the 2011 model year. Chrysler builds a version of its minivan for Volkswagen, which sells it as the Routan. No 2013 Volkswagen Routan models have been assembled as of mid-March, as VW dealers continue to clear inventory of 2012 models.
New Dodge Caravan Coming Soon
A redesigned minivan with a flexible architecture designed to support several kinds of vehicles is on the way and rumored to arrive for the 2015 or 2016 model year. Sergio Marchionne, chairman and CEO of Chrysler LLC, recently said that both Chrysler and Dodge will receive a new Canadian built "people carrier," but only one of the brands will offer a vehicle with traditional sliding side doors.
The next iteration of the company's "people carriers" will reflect as much attention to design as they do function. Ralph Gilles, senior vice president of Design for Chrysler LLC, told The Detroit News in an interview: "I want people to just be floored. I want them to not care about paradigms, not care about all that soccer-mom crap. I want them to look at the next-gen minivan and say, 'That is a beautiful car. Period.'"
Good Deals Now
As the next generation of Chrysler "people-carriers" draws near, and because the company is finding it necessary to cull production volumes in the face of waning demand, consumers are likely to find appealing deals on the outgoing Dodge Grand Caravan, which is already among the lowest priced minivans for sale today.
All versions of the Chrysler Town & Country and nearly all versions of the Dodge Grand Caravan are equipped with Stow 'N Go seating, which allows the owner to fold both the second- and third-row seats into the van's floor to expand cargo capacity at a moment's notice. The minivans hold 33 cu ft of cargo behind the third-row seat and 83.3 cu ft of cargo behind the second-row captain's chairs. They can handle up to 143.8 cu ft of cargo with all seats stowed in the vehicle's floor.
The current Chrysler minivans are safe, too. In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they receive a 4-star or a 5-star rating in each assessment. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety calls each of the Chrysler minivan twins a "Top Safety Pick" for 2013.
If fuel economy is important, the Town & Country and Grand Caravan aren't as miserly with a gallon of unleaded gas as some other models. The duo is rated to return 17 miles per gallon in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg in combined driving. On a positive note, Ward's Auto named the standard 283 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 engine as one of the 10 Best Engines of 2013.