2013 Dodge Grand Caravan Crew (974)


This week we’re looking at the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan Crew. With the advent of consumers beating a path to buy SUV models the original high capacity vans have been a quiet competitor. I believe the reason is because of the “Off Road” capability of the SUV. But the very high profile necessary for the SUV to go off road makes it far less convenient when it comes to getting in and out of, and that is a real negative for intended cargo – people. Old and young alike need a ladder to get into or out of an SUV.

I suspect that is why “Soccer Mom’s” gravitate more to the Minivan, and wisely so. It is the man of the house, who leans to an SUV. Why… because it is a Macho Man Thing. He wants the capability of going off road, BUT in fact less than 5% will ever get off road. Mom – stand tough and tell the ‘old man’ you want convenience not appearance for daddy to puff up his chest showing he can go anywhere in that bad boy SUV. Clearly from the stats it ain’t happening daddy and it won’t likely ever be needed as a battle ready off road machine. You know that, so man up and agree with mom that convenience in getting the little ones in car seats, or walking age kids able to step up into the Van profile, is more important.

General Information:

It is assembled in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Classification is Minivan.

Cars from Dodge:

Avenger, Caliber, Challenger, Charger, Dart, Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey, Nitro & Viper.

Opinion and Observation:

I’m guessing you have wondered how safe it is to drive vs flying. Flying is the safest mode of transportation when you look at the statistics.

1.     In the US, each year there are about 40,000 deaths per year in automobile accidents vs. about 200 in air transport.

2.     Fatality rates per passenger mile traveled is illuminating in that each year in the US 1 out of 6800 drivers dies in an auto accident. The rate for airline passengers is 1 in 1.6 million.

Automotive Innovation:

History of Auto innovation: 1885 – first patent for seat belts; 1890 – Canadian Thomas Ahearn invented the first electric car heater; 1901 – invention of disc brakes by British inventor Frederick William Lanchester; 1920 – Power steering invented by Francis Davis.

Handling & Performance:

This minivan is powerful and responsive. Its low center of gravity gives it good road-ability to compensate for the softer ride for comfort that prevents it from being a “road racer”. Although I have to say, I’ve been on a race track with a race driver at the wheel of a Minivan who made me a believer that a van is able. But it is designed for kids on board that changes the performance requirements.


Nice looking without much change over the years. Attempts have been made at being different, but it is clear to me it is difficult to improve on the basic design. The good news here is that it is not likely to go out of style and thus a good investment. However, many improvements have improved on original designs. Sliding and particularly power sliding side doors and rear lift gate are the most useful additions to the convenience of the van.

Entertainment systems and communications systems and other electronic devices like cell phone connection have helped occupy the kids from inevitable boredom for the ride. Let’s face it, that is one place where game boys can be used to help mom or dad concentrate on driving instead of bored kids.

Remember when a car trip conversation included, “are we there yet?” or “Don’t make me stop this car!”, etc.?

Fit and Finish:

Very nice job from this survivor of the auto industry attack by Asian made products and overpaid unions. Such developments in the auto industry were wake up calls for America’s domestic products.


Great value.

Conveniences and comfort:

This is a very comfortable 7 passenger van that is also very convenient for young and old alike.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you have a need to transport lots of young and older people this is the most practical solution. SUV’s are an option but I’ve pointed out the differences you need to consider in what the purpose of use will be.

Recognized Competition:

Dodge Grand Caravan $29,000, Chrysler Town & Country $31,000, Honda Odyssey $29,000, Kia Sedona $25,000, Nissan Quest $26,000, Toyota Sienna $27,000, VW Routan $32,000.

Good News:

Powerful, great utility, comfortable, 7-seater.

Bad News:

Cruise was imprecise with 4-5 mph change in speed before adjusting to preset speed.

Standard Equipment:

3.6 liter V6 variable valve timing 283 HP engine, 6-speed auto transmission, front side and side curtain airbags all rows with driver knee airbag, LATCH child anchors, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes, stability control, side power sliding doors, power adjustable pedals, tire pressure monitor, cruise control, keyless entry with immobilizer, power door locks, rear window washer wiper, second row bucket seats with fold in the floor seats, 8-way power driver seatpower second row windows, power quarter vented windows, Uconnect, audio with CD, MP3, Sirius XM satellite radio with 1-year subscription, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, tilt and telescoping steering column.

Gas Stats:

$3.79/ Gal avg. April 22, 2013

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