Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Dodge Grand Caravan Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Dodge Grand Caravan Overview

Body
They Don't Call it Grand For Nothing

Rival car companies have been trying to topple the Grand Caravan from its perch for almost as long as Dodge has been building it. Dodge pioneered the minivan concept and the Grand Caravan played a major role in saving the then Chrysler Corporation from financial ruin. Today's Grand Caravan, though substantially larger and more modern, still carries on with the fundamental "two-box" design: one box for the engine and one for the passenger compartment. To this basic formula, Dodge had added every imaginable creature comfort and a few that none of us would ever have thought necessary but now find we can't live without.

Dodge continues to set the standard for style and comfort in the minivan field, and the Grand Caravan's handsome exterior is proof positive. Clean lines, flush-mounted privacy glass and hidden sliding door tracks easily elevate the Grand Caravan's appearance to the near-luxury category. Yet the Grand Caravan also conveys a sporty attitude emphasized by the trademark Dodge crosshair grille, racy 17-inch alloy wheels and glossy exterior color choices.

The Grand Caravan is available in SE, EX and SXT trims with a special 20th anniversary package available on the SXT. Customers who have big family needs but a small budget will love the SE's long list of standard equipment and generous interior room. With seating for up to eight people, the Grand Caravan can easily accommodate the passenger and cargo needs of most families. If your passenger demands are somewhat smaller, you can opt to replace the second-row bench seat with either a set of captain's chairs or a bench seat with two built-in integrated child safety seats. The rear bench is actually two separate units that can be individually folded or removed completely. The rear seats do feature wheels at their bases to make loading and unloading them somewhat less of a chore.

The Grand Caravan's vast interior space can be easily converted to allow for duty as a weekend workhorse. With over 167-cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats, you can easily fit in stacks of plywood, bags of top soil or if you should be one of the really lucky ones, a brand new big screen TV, box and all.

You should keep in mind that the SE is the entry-level model and as such carries only a modest list of standard equipment such as air conditioning, dual side mirrors and an AM/FM stereo with CD. Dodge does offer a number of packages that bundle together the most popular features—such as power windows, power mirrors, rear air conditioning and upgraded audio and video equipment—at one low price. These value packages can greatly improve the comfort level of your SE without pushing the price out of bounds.

Those looking for a bit more luxury can opt for either the SXT or EX trims. These models feature a greater list of standard equipment and offer such cool options as a removable center console complete with 12-volt power outlets, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, an in-dash six-disc CD changer, power rear-vent windows, power-sliding side doors, a power-operated rear-liftgate, leather seating and front side-impact airbags.

The Grand Caravan SE is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 that produces 180 horsepower and 210 lb-ft. of torque; it is this second number that is important to you as ample torque is what helps move a heavily-loaded minivan when both starting out and when passing. Though the 3.3-liter is not overwhelmingly powerful, it can move the Grand Caravan at a respectable pace. The better choice for heavy hauling and better performance can be found in either the SXT or EX that offer a 3.8-liter V6 rated at 215 horsepower and 245 lb-ft. of torque. This engine delivers good performance, strong passing power and quiet operation—all while averaging close to 24 miles-per-gallon (highway); of course, you may not see such rosy figures, especially if you have a full crew and stacks of bikes, kayaks and cargo carries strapped on top.

Driving impressions with the Grand Caravan are better than what you might expect. For such a large vehicle, the Grand Caravan is amazingly easy to maneuver, so long as you remember that the bulk of your vehicle is behind you. The steering feel is firm and accurate, with no tendency to drift or float and the braking feels fairly assured, especially with the ABS. The Grand Caravan is a front-wheel drive vehicle, meaning it provides excellent traction in rain and snow. If you can swing the extra cost, we highly recommend you elect for the optional traction control which adds an additional measure of assuredness to an already stable vehicle. Also available on the SXT trim is an all-wheel-drive model that should be of great use to those who are in locations where deep snow is a routine part of everyday life.

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