First Impressions: 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan R/T

It seems like it’s been around forever, doesn’t it?! Just because it’s been around a long time it doesn’t mean it’s great… or does it? We drove the 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan R/T around for a day and here’s what we thought.

Handling

The idea behind the minivan is one of practicality without sacrificing ride quality. The Dodge Grand Caravan doesn’t pull that off. The ride is stiff, truck-like, and seems the chassis feels it necessary to make sure you are aware of every bump in the road. The drive was not a total wash thanks to the 3.6-liter, V6 Pentastar engine which proved delightful. The engine is standard across all Grand Caravan models and cranks out 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.

Infotainment

The Grand Caravan features Dodge’s Uconnect infotainment system and is accessed in the R/T via a 6.5” touchscreen mounted near the top of the dash. The placement of the screen high in the center stack allows the driver to be more aware of what’s ahead. Redundant controls for the audio systems flank each side of the screen in the form of small, cheap-looking buttons. The HVAC controls are mounted below the screen and are equally cheap.

The infotainment system itself was difficult to figure out. There were abbreviations on different screens that were not intuitive and hard to decipher without the manual. There was just nothing easy about using the system. A nice touch for the kids is a dual DVD system. Second and third row passengers get their own roof mounted screen.

Exterior

The outside design of the Grand Caravan is middle-of-the-road minivan style. There is a hint of aggressiveness in the distinctly Dodge crosshair grille. Several wheel options (based on trim line) are available to dress up the boxy family hauler a little bit.

Seating and Storage

While there is seating for seven, the seats in the Grand Caravan only rate a solid OK. The leather in the R/T was stiff and just a couple of degrees below premium. The leather looks good, it just doesn’t feel good. The seats are a decent balance of firmness and comfort, but will likely result in some tired backsides after a road trip as was our experience after a ten hour day split between the two front seats.

Storage is where the Grand Caravan really shines. Small items can be easily tucked away into an overhead bin between the front occupants while two covered storage bins take up the center console. The bins are a good size and will accommodate most of the bits and pieces of day to day minivan use; however, the sliding covers were not always easy to slide and tend to hold onto spills and crumbs.

The Grand Caravan features the Stow-and-Go seats Chrysler made famous. Lift a section of floor in front of the second row seats, pull a couple of handles, and the seat folds into the floor. That flap you lifted then covers the now stowed seat to make a flat floor where that row was. The cargo area behind the third row is like a fountain flowing, deep and wide. There is plenty of room for a stroller and groceries. The well that provides all that storage serves as the stow area for the third row. If the second and third rows are stowed, the entire floor behind the front seats is flat creating more than 143 cubic-feet of cargo space.

image courtesy of Dodge
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