Car Review

2012 Dodge Grand Caravan: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Joe Tralongo September 2014

With a lot of minivan models in the used marketplace to choose from, the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan stands out from rivals such as the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna due to its affordability and long list of innovative features. One feature that's unique to the Grand Caravan is its Stow 'n Go seating, which allows the available second-row bucket seats to fold into a small compartment under the floor. Another is the Swivel 'n Go package, which adds second-row seats that can flip 180 degrees to face the rear, and a small, removable table between the second and third rows. All Grand Caravans seat seven: two up front, two in a second-row bench seat (SE) or in a pair of folding bucket seats (SXT), and three in a bench in the rear, which also folds neatly into the floor on higher-level trims. An integrated second-row child booster seat is also available. With the second- and third-row seats folded into the floor, the roomy Dodge offers more than 140 cu ft. of cargo space, providing a more practical, space-efficient people- and cargo-toting alternative to an SUV or crossover.

What We Like

Low price; cool features such as Stow 'n Go seating; good safety ratings; powerful standard V6 engine; upscale interior on upper trims

What We Don't

Boring styling; so-so repair and reliability rating; low resale value; no all-wheel-drive option; seating limited to seven passengers

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

For 2012, a 3.6-liter V6 with direct injection that's backed with a 6-speed automatic transmission is standard fare for all Grand Caravans. This engine delivers a very respectable 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is rated as 17 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. All Grand Caravans can tow up to 3,600 pounds with the optional trailer-tow package.

Standard Features & Options

For 2012, Dodge offered the Grand Caravan in five trims: SE-AVP, SE, SXT, Crew and R/T.

The Grand Caravan SE-AVP (American Value Package) includes a 3.6-liter V6 engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission, power front windows, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a rear wiper/washer, Stow 'n Go second- and third-row seating, a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo, steering-wheel audio controls, 16-inch steel wheels with covers, heated side mirrors and automatic temperature control. Standard safety equipment includes electronic traction and stability control along with front, front side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags.

The SE trim adds a color-keyed exterior trim, rear-seat air conditioning, a front storage console and two additional speakers to the audio system.

The SXT trim goes further with alloy wheels, power windows in the sliding doors, color-keyed side mirrors and more options.

The Crew trim brings dual power-sliding side doors, chrome accents, tri-zone automatic temperature control, fog lights, 17-in wheels, overhead-console storage, HomeLink, rear swivel reading lights, a 110-volt outlet, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a Super Console for added front storage space, a trip computer, an 8-way power driver's seat with power lumbar support, a 6.5-in touchscreen radio with a 30-gigabyte hard drive, satellite radio and power adjustable pedals.

Finally, the sporty R/T trim tosses in leather seating, 17-in polished aluminum wheels, upgraded suspension and brakes, R/T exterior-body treatment, a rear backup camera, a power passenger seat and a 506-watt, 9-speaker Infinity sound system.

Most of the better options are bundled into packages reserved for the SXT, Crew and R/T trims. Among the more desirable available features are a DVD entertainment system with a 9-in screen, navigation radio, heated front- and second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, a blind spot monitoring system, rear parking assist, a power rear lift gate, second- and third-row retractable sunshades, and a removable center console.

Pricing

The Grand Caravan does not hold the same strong resale figures as its Japanese rivals. This is bad news if you're selling your car, but great news if you're looking to get the most bang for your buck. To get a good idea of the Grand Caravan's price range, we suggest checking the used car values at KBB.com. You can also search the AutoTrader Classifieds to see which models are currently for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued the following recalls for the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan:

A recall was issued for a possible problem with the power vent window switch in the driver's-door armrest overheating and possibly catching fire.

A recall was issued for a possible problem with the pinch-protection sensor on the power rear lift gate.

A recall was issued regarding the possibility of some right rear hub and bearing assemblies being improperly machined, leading to decreased durability and possible wheel separation.

A recall was issued for the possibility of an engine rod failing due to debris in the engine block during assembly.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

In tests, NHTSA rated the Grand Caravan four out of five stars in the frontal crash test and five stars in the side-impact test.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Grand Caravan its highest rating in all tests performed and ranked it as an IIHS-designated Top Safety Pick.

The Dodge Grand Caravan left the factory with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty with roadside assistance and a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Dodge certified pre-owned cars must be less than 5 years old with no more than 75,000 miles on the odometer. The vehicles come with a 3-month/3,000-mile Maximum Care all-inclusive warranty, plus an extended powertrain warranty.

Other Cars to Consider

Toyota Sienna -- The Sienna will hold its value better and has a better overall reliability rating. It also has an all-wheel-drive option.

Honda Odyssey -- The Odyssey isn't as versatile when it comes to storage and features, but it can hold eight passengers, has much better resale and reliability ratings, and is much more stylish (for a minivan).

Kia Sedona -- Filled with features and a better standard warranty, the Sedona is the bargain leader here; it holds about the same resale value as the Grand Caravan.

AutoTrader's Advice

The SXT Grand Caravan is the best choice for those looking for value and features. It's nicely equipped as is but also can be optioned up, which is the case with many models. Budget-minded shoppers will find all the basics in the AVP trim, minus rear windows that roll down, and should be able to get a good deal on a base model.

Find a Dodge Grand Caravan

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Used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan R/T
Used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan
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Used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT
Used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan
$10,998
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Used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Crew
Used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan
$16,000
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2012 Dodge Grand Caravan: Used Car Review - Autotrader