The funny thing about the Dodge Grand Caravan—and many other FCA products, for that matter—is that MSRPs listed on the brand’s website are ridiculously high. Nobody actually buys one at those prices. Incentives can go as high as $15,000, which is about 30 percent off.
And now time is running out to place an order. The Grand Caravan is retiring this summer, even though its annual sales were slightly on the rise up until the COVID-19 pandemic. Granted, a lot of them were fleet sales, but the fact is that Canadians are buying more than a third of the Grand Caravan’s U.S. total. Americans prefer the more upscale and more modern Chrysler Pacifica (the latter has a take rate of 1:1 versus 1:10 in Canada).
- Also: Report: Chrysler Voyager to be Named Grand Caravan in Canada
- Also: The Car Guide’s 2020 Best Buys: Chrysler Pacifica
FCA’s plan is to replace the Dodge minivan with the all-new Chrysler Voyager, a clone of the Pacifica that will be sold at a lower price to continue to attract families seeking the segment’s most affordable model.
Officially, the 2020 Dodge Grand Caravan starts at $32,695 plus freight and delivery charges of $1,895. Subtract $6,550 in various rebates and incentives and you get an actual base price of $28,040. A comparable 2019 edition will cost you $1,000 less, but between you and me it’s not worth it.
The deals are even sweeter if you opt for a more expensive Grand Caravan. The much better equipped Crew model requires a premium of just $1,500, while the new-for-2020 Premium Plus model (similar to the 35th Anniversary package) is $2,500 pricier.
The trick is to search through dealer inventories and find the best value. Having said that, you should probably forget the base trim. Why? You’ll not only lose a few desirable features and amenities like tinted windows, Bluetooth connectivity and the acclaimed Stow’n Go seats, but you’ll also have a much lower resale value.
Still a Good Buy?
Clearly the Dodge Grand Caravan is old. Build quality doesn’t even compare with the Pacifica’s and even the soon-to-be-renewed Toyota Sienna is more technologically advanced. The main reason why you would purchase a Grand Caravan in 2020 is the price.
Of course, this minivan is as comfortable and versatile as always, offering an excellent driving position and smooth albeit relatively noisy ride. However, the infotainment system is completely obsolete, the materials are cheap and the transmission’s performance makes it feel like it belongs to a past era. The body is prone to rust and several components such as the brakes and steering boast poor quality.
The good news is that, even after the Grand Caravan departs, you will have no trouble finding replacement parts. Suppliers and parts manufacturers can easily get you what you need. And don’t worry about the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6; it’s still a remarkably dependable engine.
For the Family
The Dodge Grand Caravan owes much of its success to fleets, but versatility-seeking families remain the primary target. Parents love the highly modular and ergonomic interior, with lots of space and storage compartments to hide snacks, children toys, mobile devices and various other personal belongings.
Need more room in the trunk? The split rear seats are super-easy to fold—the second row, almost as much. Sure, their innovative design sacrifices a good amount of comfort, but most kids in the Grand Caravan sit in child seats or boosters anyway. For the record, the second-row captain’s chairs in the Pacifica are much more comfortable.
The Reality of 2020
Production of the Dodge Grand Caravan was initially supposed to end in May. Due to COVID-19, the minivan received an extension to August. Expect even bigger rebates up until then.
Unlike Kia, however, FCA doesn’t offer 0-percent financing on the Grand Caravan. At the time of writing, the rate was 3.49 percent. A model priced at $30,000 plus taxes will cost you about $5,000 in interest fees over 96 months. It’s clearly not the best deal… unless you plan to keep the vehicle until it dies.
What I’m trying to say is that, for the same price as a mid-level 2020 Dodge Grand Caravan, you could purchase a base Kia Sedona LX, which offers similar content, a five-year limited vehicle warranty and much better build quality. It’s pretty much a no-brainer, especially with Kia’s rates.
Considering the context and all of the above, is the Grand Caravan still worth your money? It’s becoming increasingly evident that the answer is “not really.” You would have to find the perfect configuration and incentive package to get great value.
After 12 long years, the current and final generation of the popular American minivan indeed looks ready for retirement. Over that time, it forced Japanese and Korean competitors to keep prices low—and simultaneously forced GM and Ford out of the segment.