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2011 Dodge Grand Caravan
I must express that I hate minivans with a passion. I'm a car enthusiast and would rather drive a sports-car, sports coupe, sports sedan or anything that is fun to drive. They pay me to drive these vans so since the price is right(free) I do my job with it. It is effectively, a tool.
With that said, I will admit, nothing hauls stuff and people like a minivan. We get to use my vans on personal vacations and we've taken many. For example, this past summer we drove from Florida to Maine covering over 4000 miles total and with five occupants, the Minivans are a dream to travel in. As a Service Engineer I carry lots of tools, test equipment and on occasion, boxes of parts. The stow and go seats(especially the middle captains chairs) are awesome. You can haul ANYTHING in these!
Now onto the new for 2011 Grand Caravan. While I remember vividly the drive home in my 2008. I was 1 mile off the dealer lot and commented to my wife.....This thing is junky. Far worse than the 2006 it replaced. Today however was a different story.
For 2011 they overhauled the interior. Its WAY better!! The dash is actually nice looking. The door panels and arm rests are made of nicer softer materials and the seats are significantly improved. Even the fabric is nice. This interior is actually competitive now with others in its segment. The exterior is largely the same with the exception of the grill, front bumper and rear hatch and rear bumper. They are revised and look a little better but compared to every other minivan available it still looks the weakest. Suspension is supposed to be new and it feels it. This van rides noticeably smoother. The steering and driving dynamics feel better than before. The 3.6 engine does feel snappier however the new 6-speed transmission doesn't shift as smooth as before. I'm hoping there is some adaptive logic going on and will eventually improve.
Overall its a significant step in the right direction. Would I buy this for myself if I needed a Minivan for my family vehicle? Nah, I like the Kia Sedona still more-so. Sienna and Odyssey are still far superior in my opinion.
So, for the next two or three years I suffer the daily grind in the Dodge Grand Caravan. An improved one but still a Dodge Grand Caravan. Boring, unexciting but utilitarian, functional and actually reliable.
Dreaming for a day without a minivan.