2013 Dodge Grand Caravan Review and Prices
Past and Future Reviews
The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan is the best minivan for you if you’re wise enough to spot a world-class family-transportation value and secure enough to drive one.
The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan won’t change significantly beyond perhaps a new color choice and maybe some features shuffling. It’ll remain a spacious seven-seater with fine performance, clever features, and budget-friendly pricing. It is, however, approaching the end of its current design cycle.
Should you wait for the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan or buy a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan? Not much reason to wait: the 2013 Grand Caravan will be a near carbon copy of the 2012 Grand Caravan, although it will be subject to price inflation and its design will be a year nearer retirement. An all-new Grand Caravan is due for model-year 2014 or 2015. That spells a shorter shelf life for the 2013 model compared with a 2012, and quicker depreciation, too.
2013 Dodge Grand Caravan Changes back to top
Styling: The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan will be a visual repeat of the 2012 model. It’ll keep its big-box shape, to the benefit of passenger and cargo room and outward visibility. Newer rivals, the Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest in particular, have exterior flourishes aimed at making them seem less generic. Grand Caravan shares its plainer design with the Chrysler Town & Country, though the Dodge has a more aggressive “crosshairs” grille that adds a dash of sportiness versus the more elegantly cast Chrysler.
Like all minivans, the 2013 Grand Caravan will continue with rear sliding side doors for terrific entry and exit and a large rear liftgate for easy cargo access. Power operation for the sliding doors and liftgate will again be standard on top-line Grand Caravan models and optional on midrange versions. All models will continue with two front bucket seats, two second-row buckets, and a 60/40 split/folding third-row bench seat.
Dodge hasn’t been shy about adding and deleting Grand Caravan model designations, remixing combinations of features to stay competitive. A 2013 Grand Caravan lineup of five or so models spanning entry-level-basic to luxury-flavored-sport is assured – whatever they’re named. If Dodge stays with the model-year 2012 names, the 2013 Grand Caravan line will start with the American Value Package (AVP) and ascended through SE, SXT, Crew and sporty R/T versions.
Expect visual distinctions to be slight, mostly confined to exterior trim on upper level models that body-colored or chrome instead of black. The 2013 Crew and R/T versions (or their equivalent) should come with fog lamps and 17-inch alloy wheels versus lower line models’ 16-inch alloy or steel wheels with wheelcovers.
Mechanical: The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan will again be a mechanical cousin to the Chrysler Town & Country. (Volkswagen has been selling yet a third iteration of this minivan – with slightly altered styling and features -- as the Routan; 2013 could well be the final model year for the VW version.)
The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan will continue with one powertrain, teaming Chrysler’s Pentastar V-6 with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. The Pentastar (named for the five-point corporate logo) is used in a variety of Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep models. In the 2013 Grand Caravan (and Town & Country) it’ll almost certainly remain at 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, which should again qualify it as the most powerful engine in any minivan.
Grand Caravan’s transmission’s shift lever sprouts conveniently from the base of the dashboard and can be moved through a separate gate for manual-type gear control. Front-wheel drive concentrates the weight of the engine and transmission over the tires that also propel the vehicle. That promotes efficient packaging and aids traction on wet surfaces. All minivans are front-wheel drive with one exception: the Toyota Sienna is available with all-wheel drive for an extra measure of grip in snow and extremely slippery conditions.
Features: The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan will continue with a well-drawn combination of convenience and connectivity features.
Convenience highlights will again include Chrysler’s novel Stow ‘n Go seating, a minivan exclusive shared with the Town & Country. Stow ‘n Go allows the second- and third-row seats to be folded into floor wells, creating a flat load surface without having to remove and store any seats. With the seats upright, the wells become in-floor storage. The second-row wells have hinged covers for hide-away storage. A one-touch flip-down feature on the second-row seats – the automaker calls it Super Stow ‘n Go – simplifies access to the third row.
Other available 2013 Grand Caravan convenience features will again include a heated steering wheel and front seats, various bin- and console-storage configurations, a rearview camera, and systems that warn of vehicles and objects in over-the-shoulder and rear blind spots. The available Stow ‘n Place roof-rack system houses unused crossbars in the side rails to improve aerodynamics, which saves gas and reduces wind buffeting.
Among returning connectivity features – optional on some models, standard on others -- will be Chrysler’s Uconnect system that combines voice-activated navigation with Bluetooth hands-free mobile-phone linking, a USB iPod interface, and an onboard hard drive for digital media storage. Dodge dealers will install mobile WiFi connectivity to service Internet devices in the vehicle and within a few yards around it.
Entertainment options will again include a DVD system with a 9-inch fold-down rear-seat screen. Also expected to return on the 2013 Grand Caravan will be subscription-based satellite-TV systems that stream sports, news, entertainment and children’s programming. Among returning safety features will be head-protecting curtain side airbags for all outboard seating positions that deploy in side collisions as well as in impending rollovers.
Dodge could well expand availability of leather upholstery beyond just the top-line R/T Grand Caravan for model-year 2013. We’ll need to wait for the next-generation Grand Caravan, however, to see if the Dodge will match the 16-inch split-screen DVD display available in the Odyssey and Sienna or offers business-class-type second row seats to compete with the reclining loungers available in the Toyota.
2013 Dodge Grand Caravan Prices back to top
Prices for the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan were not announced in time for this review, but expect it to remain the minivan value leader. That suggests a 2013 Grand Caravan base-price range of roughly $22,500-$31,500. (Base-price estimates in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee; Dodge’s fee for the 2012 Grand Caravan was $995.)
Expect the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan base model – called the American Value Package, or AVP model, for 2012 -- to start around $22,500 and include essentials such as air conditioning, power windows (including in the sliding side doors), power locks and mirrors, cruise control, and remote keyless entry.
Estimated base price for the next rung on the 2013 Grand Caravan ladder – the SE for model-year 2012 -- is $24,500. The 2013 SE would build on the AVP by adding such standard features as solar glass, three-zone manual climate control, six instead of four speakers, additional storage compartments, and flootmats.
Estimated starting price for the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT is $28,500. It would include all the SE equipment, plus dual power sliding doors, a power liftgate, power-adjustable pedals, a larger center console, and the Stow ’n Place roof rack. The 2012 Grand Caravan SXT was the only minivan in America under $30,000 with power sliding doors and liftgate.
Base price for the 2013 Grand Caravan Crew model is an estimated $30,500. It should again include the 17-inch alloys, chrome exterior accents, automatic climate control, a 6.5-inch touchscreen media center, backup camera, eight-way power driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, Sirius XM satellite radio, and ambient cabin lighting.
If the R/T model again tops the 2013 Grand Caravan line expect it to be priced from around $31,500. It would return with a sport-tuned suspension, unique 17-inch alloys, and its own monochromatic exterior treatment. In addition to the Crew-model equipment it would likely have standard black leather upholstery with red stitching, a nine-speaker audio system with amplifier and subwoofer, and remote engine start.
2013 Dodge Grand Caravan Fuel Economy back to top
Fuel-economy ratings for the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan were unavailable in time for this review. They shouldn’t differ much if at all from the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan ratings, though.
That suggests 2013 Grand Caravan fuel-economy ratings of 17/25/20 mpg city/highway/combined.
A repeat of those ratings would keep the 2013 Grand Caravan (and the Town & Country) slightly behind newer competitors by some 1-2 mpg in city and highway ratings. Still, a rating of 20 mpg combined is quite good for a vehicle with this much power and utility.
2013 Dodge Grand Caravan Release Date back to top
The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan should be in showrooms by autumn 2012.
What's next for the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan back to top
Future versions of the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country are on divergent paths. The Grand Caravan will be redesigned as a minivan while its Chrysler cousin will be transformed into a crossover SUV. The sixth-generation Grand Caravan and the unnamed Chrysler crossover (it could retain the Town & Country name) will likely bow during 2014 as 2014 or 2015 models.
Behind this move is Fiat, the Italian automaker that controls America’s Chrysler Group and its Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram truck divisions. Fiat wants to take Chrysler upscale. It evidently believes a crossover SUV with luxury touches, premium styling, four conventional side doors, and available all-wheel drive, is truer to that goal than is a minivan.
The Grand Caravan and the Chrysler crossover would continue to share an underbody structure and some powertrain components. The crossover also probably will have three-row seating. But the Grand Caravan would return as a true minivan, with a tall profile, low step-in height, and sliding rear side doors. It should, however, have sleeker styling than the outgoing generation, which was introduced for model-year 2008.
Don’t expect Fiat/Chrysler management to reinvent the minivan, though. Comfort and convenience features will be plentiful, with flexible seating and a full assortment of entertainment options. Expect even more in the way of connectivity. There will be heavier reliance on smartphones and other portable devices and a new configurable touchscreen array for operating various vehicle systems. A base-model version of the future Dodge Grand Caravan could have a turbocharged four-cylinder engine to improve fuel economy. A hybrid-powered model could well be part of a future product scenario.
2013 Dodge Grand Caravan Competition back to top
Honda Odyssey: Redesigned for model-year 2011 with a rakish nose and zig-zag side-window shape, the Odyssey suggests one styling direction for a modern minivan. Luckily, the distinctive visual touches don’t detract from this van’s exceptionally roominess and class-leading handling. Expect the 2013 Odyssey to return with a V-6 of 248 horsepower and with two automatic-transmission choices, a five-speed that should again net a 18/27/21-mpg rating and a six-speed in the more expensive models at19/28/22. Estimated base-price range for the 2013 Odyssey is $29,700-$45,100.
Toyota Sienna: Also all-new for model-year 2011, Sienna takes a more conservative approach to styling than the Odyssey but still is fully contemporary inside and out. Highlights include available second-row La-Z-Boy-type buckets and a 16.4-inch rear video entertainment screen. Sienna for 2012 was the only minivan in this competitive set to offer a four-cylinder engine, a 187-horsepower job that earned a 19/24/21 mpg rating. The available V-6 should return with 266 horsepower and rate 18/25/21 mpg with front-wheel drive and 17/23/19 with all-wheel drive. Estimated base-price range for the 2013 Sienna is $26,400-$41,900.
Nissan Quest: Yet another model-year 2011 redesign, Quest dares to be different with mildly eccentric styling overlaying its basic boxy shape. It’s plenty spacious and nearly as entertaining to drive as the Odyssey, though folding the second- and third-row seats results in a slightly elevated load floor. Nissan’s 260-horsepower V-6 feels responsive and works through another minivan exclusive, a continuously variable automatic transmission. Expect fuel economy to again rate 19/24/21 mpg. Estimated 2013 Nissan Quest base-price range is $30,500-$44,000.