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Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Voyager

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  • tasillotasillo Posts: 51
    This is my first post to the van section, also own a Tahoe so I'm usually in the SUV arena...

    With twins on the way, needed something more "user friendly" than the Tahoe. Looked at the Honda, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Oldsmobile. The Chrysler/Dodge twins are hard to beat. At first I lobbied for the Honda, reliability, resale and build quality at the top of my lists. After a good look at the Honda, I was disappointed. Average interior materials, poorly operating power doors, somewhat noisy engine, but I did love the "magic seat". The Ford did not impress at all. Cramped feeling inside, bulky looking outside and expensive. The Dodge and Chrysler's were an obvious choice, but which one. Grand Caravan AS had the 17" wheels, touring suspension, spottier appearance, came pretty much loaded. I&I LXi's were less expensive but harder to find equipped my way (3.8L, tow pkg., touring suspension). Limited's seemed expensive for the suede/leather combo, painted roof rack and memory driver seat.

    Fortunately, Carmax is a Chrysler dealer in Atlanta and after X-mas, had prices posted on their T&C's that, before the 1000 rebate were still about $500 less than invoice. Apparently there were some dealer incentives as well.

    My wife decided she liked the Dodge's appearance better, wanted Silver with Navy Blue leather. Peachtree Dodge had one, I offered the comparable Carmax Chrylser price and drove out than night. MSRP was $35,250 (every ES option but roof rack and block heater). With the dealer retaining the rebate, I paid $30,150 plus tax and title. I felt good about the deal.

    After one week, both my wife and I are impressed. An earlier post referred to these vehicles as the most refined Chrysler products. I'd have to agree. Everything, from the turn signal stalk to the HVAC controls feels almost Lexus like. Why GM can't figure this out is beyond me. The 3.8L is quiet and smooth and feels adequate for the vehicle's mission. Most impressive is the handling. The $95 touring suspension is well worth the money. Very controlled at higher speeds and with minimal body roll in turns, it truly feels like a well suspended sedan. So far, everything works as it should, there are no rattles, squeaks or vibrations and the general fit and finish seems to be at a high level.

    I'd encourage anyone in the market for a van to take a good look at the Chrysler product. Time will tell it's overall worth but early on, it is quite impressive.
  • scannerscanner Posts: 295
    Tomtomtom,

    The only damage that will occur by using high octane fuel will be to your wallet. But one advantage of using high octane fuel is the slight increase in performance you may notice due to the decreased weight of your wallet.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    LOL, I guess mine won't because I am using credit card. Anyway, I think I will stick with the cheap gas and use the saving to buy me a can of soda..Oops, wouldn't that add the extra weight to slow down my T&C??!! Happy driving scanner
  • bondguybondguy Posts: 20
    Just got a 2001 T&C LXi last week. I was interested in the cargo organizer for the very rear floor. Somebody posted that their local dealer has it for $390 (ouch). I saw similar items not from Mopar on the JC Whitney site for @ $250. Does anybody know anything about these cargo area organizers? I was thinking it would be good for when I load the baby's strollers in the van when it's wet and for carrying stuff from Home Depot that I wouldn't want to get all over vehicle. Also, are their any accessories that I should get or that you would recommend getting...I am new to the minivan arena. Thanks in advance!
  • axle59axle59 Posts: 28
    Yep the mopar cargo organizer is $390. But if you just want something to keep the muck out of the carpet then you should look into the weather-tech cargo area liner. It should only be about $70 for an extended mini.They are custom fit, have a 3" lip around the edge, and are easily removeable to be hosed off. They are available at the J.C. Whitney website or in their catalog.
  • I am seeing the cargo organizer listed on the Chrysler website under vehicle accesories- interior protection for $250.
  • bondguybondguy Posts: 20
    Yes..Sparkolounger...I saw that too...maybe it's not for a 2001...maybe that is for a 2000 model...which shouldn't be much different in that respect...When I leased the vehicle, the dealer told me any accessories I wanted he'd do for me at cost. But even at $250, it's probably @ a 20% markup...so it would still run @ $200...maybe I'll check JCWhitney online.
  • Bondguy,

    I believe the cargo organizer is brand new for the 2001 models.
  • pgs_28pgs_28 Posts: 34
    This is great news. I just bought a 2001 T & C with everything including towing package and have had it to the dealer. He says it normal to have this vibration. I told him it is very, very annoying and that it couldn't be normal. Anymore info on this would be great. I also have a problem with a air noise of the roof of the van and at the driver-side door in the upper left corner? Suggestions? Oh... and cool air seems to be blowing in from the left side of the dash. Other than that it is great. Had a drop-down tv installed... the kids love it... it is great!!! Made by AudioVox.
  • abealiabeali Posts: 13
    How big is the screen? Can you plug external video sources to it? How about head phones? Cost of unit and Installation and where done would also be appreciated?

    I am trying to find out more information about the AudioVox systems. I will try to search for their web site next, but if you have a quick reference I would be thankful!

    Many Thanks!
  • pgs_28pgs_28 Posts: 34
    The Audiovox system comes with a drop down 6.8 inch LCD screen. I know they are coming out with a number of larger screens but the clarity diminishes with size so be careful. I have an A/C adapter under the front seat and the hook-up cables for the kid's N64 games. The sound can be pumped to wireless headphones or played through the car's speaker system. The sound will blow you away. It also has an antenae mounted inside on the rear side window. It fits between the overhead storage area and the overhead rear heater/AC controls. Cost of this system with 3 wireless headphones is about $2400 tax in.... of course that is Canadian dollar. If you convert it to US buck it's about $150.00 bucks... HA The VCR... basic.... is mounted under the backseat on a little platform. Audiovox does have a website so check it out. And call the company for their list of dealers and find out about their new screen sizes.
  • stacystacy Posts: 91
    I saw 13" tv audiovox system w/ vcr on yukon xl put in at irvine, CA GMC dealership - what a great idea - the 13" blows away the 6" even w/ a small loss of clarity so the big screens are out there and the dealers are putting them in!
  • Wow.. I've been reading every single post in this forum tonight! What a great source of information! I'm so glad I found this place! THanks to the dealer who tipped me off about Edmunds!

    After months of anticipation of getting the new model Suburban for my growing family... I've now jumped in feet first to the minivan market... a market I SWORE I would NEVER venture into! (Like so many others!) I consider myself a stylin' mom.. and didn't want to be characterized as the mommy-mobile typical suburbanite... Well... after driving the DC's and TC's... I've become a believer!!

    I've driven the DC ES FWD.. fully loaded and the T&C Ltd. AWD. I loved both of them... I've always thought I would go for the AWD due to our location in WEstern Washington.. near the mountains and passes. I've driven a 92 Ford Explorer since we bought it new... and have enjoyed the 4WD option! Can't say we used it a ton.. but occasionally..

    The AWD T& C Ltd. I drove today in that great Steel Blue color felt a lot "heavier" or sturdier than the DC ES FWD... However, after reading all the posts about the 2100 rpm humming noise.. not so sure I want to deal with all that... .Basically, I have a 1 year old and a 4 year old and I want the ease of the access that the Minivans offer. We only travel over the passes on the way to my grandfather's house... and honestly in the 2 years we've lived in Washington.. haven't used the 4WD but once or twice... What major advantage does the AWD offer me???
    As far as the looks go... either one is fine.. I kinda think the the DC is a little sportier looking.. but being the materialistic gal I am.. at times... I like all the bells and whistles the T&C LTD offers.. My biggest complaint is the bench only 3rd row option of the Ltd... I can see where it would be rather a pain to take out.. I was told by the saleperson today that the two buckets could interchange with the back bench.. correct??? IF so.. then I guess it would still work for us... but the split bench is more versatile overall. ANy comments on the real space and comfort between that back bench vs. the split?

    I have also read about touring packages, different wheel sizes,etc.. I am getting so lost... I didn't know I had so many options! Guess I won't complain.. i was very unimpressed with the Hondas myself... not too many options and after growing up with Hondas all my life.. and wrecking a few myself :o) I'm not thrilled to listen to that whiney high pitched start up of the engine!!! ( Had to throw that in for the Honda man... sorry!) Since he insists on hanging out here.. guess he'll just have to smile at our contrary opinions!

    Anyhow.. back to my topic... the road noise... I was told that the T&C Ltd.. had less road noise than the Dodge counterpart... correct? What about the LTD. vs. the LXI?? Any road noise diffs?

    Love that interior of the LTd.. so nice! Did a test drive in real conditions too... 2 kids in carseats and mom in the back with one of them.. Now that's a test drive! Mom thought that the back row was very roomy and comfy.. couldn't believe how smooth and quiet the ride was either! Just add my entertainment system.. tv/vcr.. we're set!

    I'd love to hear back any opinions on the AWD vs. the FWD and the DC ES vs. the TC LXI or LTD...
    Thanks so much!!!
  • pgs_28pgs_28 Posts: 34
    Hi

    I just bought a T & C in steel blue with the taupe leather interior. I love the look and it's easier to keep clean than the dark blue leather that would show every crumb dropped by my 3 kids.

    I just got my van back from the dealership. I had it in for the humming noise. He made sure the spare was square in it's bay and tightened down a heat shield. This has minimized the problem but it is still there. But not to the point of bothering me anymore. I was given a GC
    Sport model and noticed the vibration noise was on it too but much more noticable. It would drive me nuts. The dealership also replaced the trim on the driver side door and that got rid of some air noise. I still hear outside wind on the front windshield and that will never go away. The reality is that it's a van.... big and bulky. There is going to be some wind noise. By adding more insulation to the vehicle has meant that noises that weren't heard before are now more prevalent. But the stereo is great!!!! ha

    I have the Limited model. It has traction control and I live in Toronto Canada. We don't exactly have dog sleds here... actually we are further south than 20% of the US. However we did get snow this year and the traction control made a huge difference. My old vehicle was a 1998 GC Sport so I can tell the difference.

    The vehicle is petty and smooth unlike the Honda product. But I will admit that the Honda is roomier. You can't beat the lluxury of a T & C. I love the look, the color, the leather, the cd player, the instrument panel... everything. And if you think the automatic tailgate is gimicky then you would be wrong. I can't believed I ever survived without it. The van is solid and run great on the highway.

    Is it perfect..... nope. But my research said it was the best available with the amenities that I wanted.

    Test drive them and pay attention to wind noise and acceleration. Take someone and carry on a conversation. I love to hear your feedback.

    I bought in Toronto and paid $26,800 Canadian NET including my trade-in of a 1998 GC Sport with 43K on it.

    PGS
  • geoduckgeoduck Posts: 52
    Well, Mom, we are in similar situations as your family: live in Western WA, have a baby and a 3yr old, and travel over the mountain passes fairly infrequently.

    We purchased a 2001 AWD LXi with the split bench in back and tricked it up to almost all the features of a Limited. We also had test driven the near equivalent AWD Grand Caravan model. It just seemed a little noisier all around, and the creature comforts seemed a tad more spartan.

    I do think the Dodge is available with 17-in tires which may improve handling, but I am thrilled with the T&C handling already.

    The issue of rear split bench vs. the three-across seating of the Limited is tough. We packed the vehicle with bodies the other day; two car seats maxes out the rear split bench. But when company goes away, at least my wife can remove a half and create decent space for diaper changes,and toddler acrobatics.

    AWD is worth it where we live by far! Don't you think your kids will want to play in the snow on the way to Grandpa's? We took it out extensively in around icy, snow-covered Snoqualmie Pass roads and it worked as well as our SUV. Another few years of exploring WA will bring you into places where AWD is handy.

    Limited is as quiet as the LXi, but with AWD you do get a noticable rumble at 2100 rpm. My full sized spare does not contact the exhaust system, so that is a rule out for noise causation. The noise is only noticable because the vehicle is so amazingly quiet, it doesn't deserve much weight in your decision.

    Dodge, T&C, or Suburban you can't go wrong.
  • I just took my 2001 AWD I&I in to the dealer about the low frequency noise. They have 4 customers with this problem including the demo the owner uses. They checked others on the lot and they exhibit it as well. They don't have any solution but did mention they were instructed by the regional office to try a couple different fixes - no luck though. They feel the good news is that this is consistent at a given PM over a wide range of vehicles - but no promises of course. The only other info they provided was that with vacations and Jan shutdowns, a lot of the Chrysler Engineers have been out on vacation.

    The other thing I did was register the problem with the Chrysler Customer Service Group - 1-800-992-1997. I figured it couldn't hurt.
  • Today I started negotiating for a new T&C LXi. I have been successful in negotiating for the dealer's incentive to varying degrees. Although, I have been unsuccessful to convince any dealerships to waive the advertising fee or surrender any holdback. Has anyone been successful in negotiating the advertising fee or holdback in addition to the dealers incentive and if so - how did you do it?
  • Thanks to PGS and Geoduck for your responses on the big decision making!! It is really helpful to have your opinions to help me with this decision.

    Geoduck... we must be neighbors.. I'm in Issaquah.. on the plateau.. Klahanie.. how about you? I can see where the AWD would be an advantage as we venture to the pass more... we just haven't yet since we've been there...except to drive to my grandpa's in The Dalles, OR.

    The split bench vs. the Ltd. bench is the major decision I have left to decide on.. Still a bit concerned about the AWD noise that everyone is talking about. I will definitely be driving another AWD to see for myself about that noise! :o)

    My cousin's husband is a Chrysler/Dodge dealer owner in Oregon.. he also told me to go one step down to the LXI and just option it to death... like you did. I am considering doing so... I haven't actually looked in and sat inside a "tricked out" LXI... if there is such a thing! HA! Never thought I'd ever consider ANY minivan.. "tricked out". What a riot! I still see those great looking new Burbs and love the way they look... way up high above everyone else.. safe and sound.. but out pocket some gas money!

    Negotiations.. I'm reading about the invoice, rebates, incentives, holdbacks, advertising... agh!!! I just thought I'd come up with a number that I'd researched and present it to the dealer.. they can take it or leave it... Or.. I can try to convince my cousin's hubby that he really SHOULD give us a great deal.. we are family!
    Any advice as to where to start..?? Where did you buy yours Geoduck?? Bellevue or ??? Can I ask how much you paid???? What options did you add?

    Thanks so much for any help!!!
    Maria
  • wevkwevk Posts: 178
    For some odd reason the "touring suspension" is not available on the LTD. That and the split rear seat were the reasons we went with a fully optioned T&C LXi (including the load leveling)
    wvk.
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