Soldiering on, the 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan keeps the Dodge flag planted in the minivan arena. Although it has been circling the drain since FCA announced it would cut back on brand engineering vehicles (rebadging the same vehicle for more than one division), and launched the totally new and different Pacifica as a Chrysler, the Grand Caravan remains with us.
Dodge hasn’t done anything to refresh the Grand Caravan in a while. It just keeps on keeping on. Why? you may ask. The answer is simple: Dodge sold more than 125,000 Grand Caravans last year, while Honda only sold 100,000 of its Odyssey minivans during the same year. Apparently, FCA isn’t convinced all those buyers will walk next door to the Chrysler showroom and drive home in a Pacifica instead of a Grand Caravan.
An entry-level Pacifica is only $200 more than the Grand Caravan SE. Beyond that, the Grand Caravan’s age shows itself in crash-test scores, fuel economy, safety/driver-assist technology and connectivity shortfalls. Yet, Dodge still sells loads of them.
What’s New for 2019?
Well, not much. Dodge eliminated the SE Plus trim level, folding its content into the new SE 35th Anniversary Edition with 17-in aluminum wheels, a bright grille and special badging, and a few upgrades like second-row Stow ‘N Go seating. SXT also adds a 35th Anniversary Edition that includes navigation plus all the features of the Driver Convenience Group with heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and second-row window shades. See the 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan models for sale near you
What We Like
- Low price
- Flexible seating configurations
What We Don’t
- Subpar fuel economy and crash scores
- Interior looks and feels low rent
- Overall lack of refinement
- Dated technology interface
- Fewer available features than other vans
Every 2019 Grand Caravan has a 3.6-liter V6 rated at 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. Fuel economy estimates stand at a disappointing 17 miles per gallon in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg in combined driving.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan now comes in four trim levels: SE, SE 35th Anniversary Edition, SXT and SXT 35th Anniversary Edition. All prices include factory destination charge.
The SE ($28,285) comes standard with seating for seven, a second-row bench seat, third-row Stow ‘N Go seating, 17-in steel wheels, tri-zone manual climate control, remote keyless entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a backup camera, cloth upholstery, a 6.5-in touchscreen and a 6-speaker sound system. A package called the Uconnect Hands-Free Group adds must-have features like a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, satellite radio and a USB port.
The SE 35th Anniversary Edition ($31,085) adds all the above options plus 17-in alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, nicer cloth upholstery, satellite radio, a power driver’s seat and second-row Stow ‘N Go bucket seats. A couple of available radio/navigation upgrades are options.
Next, the SXT ($33,785) steps things up with automatic headlights, roof rails, fog lamps, power-sliding doors, a power lift gate, a power driver’s seat and leather/faux-suede mix upholstery. The Blacktop package is optional.
To the SXT, the SXT 35th Anniversary Edition ($35,380) adds tri-zone automatic climate control, special interior lighting, a heated steering wheel, a universal garage-door opener and heated front seats.
All trims can be equipped with a rear-seat entertainment system that includes a single overhead screen, a DVD player, an HDMI input, an extra USB port, satellite radio and wireless headphones.
The 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, a backup camera and six airbags (front, front side and full-length side curtain).
In crash testing performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Grand Caravan received an overall rating of four stars out of five, including four stars for frontal impacts, five stars for side impacts and four stars in the rollover test.
In tests conducted by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Grand Caravan earned strong scores in four of the group’s five tests — though it received a troubling Poor rating in the firm’s challenging small-overlap front crash test.
Behind the Wheel
The Grand Caravan’s aging chassis is evident over big ruts and potholes, which causes the Dodge to shimmy and shake worse than most rivals. Despite the comparatively crude chassis, the Grand Caravan’s highway ride is at least reasonably quiet and relaxed. With a strong horsepower rating, it also has more than enough power to get out of its own way.
Still, every other minivan is more refined and comfortable to drive, usually handling better, as well. Their cabins also boast more comfortable and spacious seating — the second-row Stow ‘N Go seats have never been especially comfy and the driver’s seat doesn’t slide back far enough for taller drivers.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Chrysler Pacifica— The Grand Caravan’s biggest competitor is just across the showroom wearing a Chrysler badge. It has all the latest safety features and high-tech gadgets, though it’ll be more expensive. It’s worth it.
2019 Honda Odyssey— The Odyssey boasts comfy accommodations and an impressive technology suite, including an optional vacuum in the rear cargo area. But the Odyssey suffers from dull dynamics and styling that some will find questionable.
2019 Kia Sedona — The Sedona touts handsome styling, a lot of equipment for the money and an impressive array of features and gadgets. It also comes with Kia’s excellent 10-year powertrain warranty. Realistically, it’s the smarter budget buy.
2019 Toyota Sienna — The Sienna offers a powerful V6, two different driving flavors (comfort and sport), an especially comfortable and versatile second row and the unique availability of all-wheel drive.
Used version of any of the above minivans — If one of those new minivan rivals are too expensive, finding a used or certified pre-owned version will still represent a better overall minivan than a new Grand Caravan.
Yes, the Grand Caravan is inexpensive, but it is really showing its age. We recommend getting something different, be it new or used. However, if your heart is set on a Grand Caravan, we would go with the SE 35th Anniversary Edition with a couple of option Packages, such as the Uconnect Handsfree Group. Find a Dodge Grand Caravan for sale