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Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Voyager

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Comments

  • keygokeygo Posts: 38
    I picked up my new new van Friday. A couple of first impressions of my Town and County LXi AWD:

    The 3.8 is much quicken than the 3.3 I had in my 1992 AWD. I was very surprised.

    I am glad I put the leather in the interior. It is very slick. My dealer, I just realized, forgot to order the heat warmers. I will put in a call tomorrow to see if there is anything that can be done.

    I wish I had ordered the power lift gate. I think it is set up for the power and the non-power is not as good as my old one.

    The stereo is good. However, loading CDs in the 4 changer is awkward at best. You can't have anything in the cup holders.

    Get the removable counsel. Storage would be limited without it.

    The handling is wonderful compared to my old van. It still isn't my wife's Lexus but I sure have enjoyed driving it so far.

    I do hear a sound at 2100 rpms. It is bad so far but....

    I will touch base again with an update. Thanks to all of you whose posts helped me make my decision.
  • cgaydoscgaydos Posts: 116
    "American automobile genius caught the Japanese manufacturers empty handed. " -- carleton1

    Interesting spin. Actually, what happened was that Chrysler took a FWD station wagon (Reliant/Aries K) and modified it to be a minivan. Subsequently, all their competitors modified their existing RWD cargo vans into minivans. The RWD, truck-based minivans offered inferior performance to the FWD, car-based Chrysler minivans (unless towing was required), so Chrysler just flat-out dominated the market for the first 10 years. The only exception was the GM FWD plastic-bodied dustbuster minivans introduced in '89, which failed due to overall poor design.

    Finally, in '93 Nissan/Ford came out with the FWD, car-based Quest/Villager. Very popular at first, but small size and lack of safety features hurt its sales. However every minivan introduced since then (except the re-introduced Eurovan) has been built on an FWD car platform.

    Craig (owner of a '94 and '01 T&C)
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    And wasn't it a stroke of genius for Chrysler to make this simple modification into THE success story that makes the modern minivan available?
    I would actually prefer a rear wheel drive minivan with a pickup front end and the van from driver's seat rear ward. I liked the higher seating of our 91 Astro, the more powerful 4.3L V6, the larger fuel tank, the same interior space in a vehicle 2 feet less length, and the panel doors.
    However, the Dual Zone Temp (now 2001 Triple Zone improvement), Overhead console with compass/outside temp/Trip Computer, outstanding HVAC are big advantages of our Grand Caravan.
    I hope other manufacturer's copy Chrysler's PT Cruiser and produce more comfortable sedans like the PT Cruiser. ECHO is a step in the right direction but with an interior too cheap.
  • bholiobholio Posts: 21
    I think the reason the first generation Ody failed is simply because it did not have sliding van doors. It had normal car doors in the rear. To me, that's not a van, it's a station wagon, no matter how tall you make the vehicle.

    I drove an Astro (rental) for a week in 1998. Good power, really, really nice 3 piece rear door that I wish my T&C had. However, the way the engine compartment extended into the drivers compartment was awful. As a passenger, I had to pick which leg I extended as there was not enough room for both of my feet (with shoes on) in the passenger footwell.

    However it was this first minivan experience which made me realize that my next vehicle was going to be a minivan.

    My next van rental was a Windstar in 1999. Very, very nice.

    While the Astro is somewhat unsuccessful as a passenger van, notice how GM has locked up the commercial minivan market. Although I have driven a 1st generation caravan cargo van long ago, I haven't seen a Chrysler minivan in years.

    As for the Japanese, they are doing what they have always done. They start out with vehicles that are too small and bare-bones, and then grow them in size and features over time until they hit on what the US market wants. When the minivan first came out in 1984, they were still focused in getting the cars right. Now, look at the Ody, Sienna and MPV.

    By the late 80's early 90's they had the cars figured out to the point they were mainstrean and started with van. The Mazda MPV, that funny looking Toyota and eventually the 1st gen Honda. Toyota is doing the same thing right now with large pickup trucks. First the T100 and now the Tundra.
  • ingramwd2ingramwd2 Posts: 15
    Took delivery of our new '01 T&C LTD FWD four days ago. It was a factory order and arrived at the dealer's lot about 3 weeks ago.

    This vehicle is just fabulous even when compared to any '96-'00 T&C model! What an improvement from from our '98 GC LE FWD!!! Also considered GC ES 29S pacakge but found stretching a bit for T&C is fully worth the extra money.

    We also got the Mopar Video System. Very happy with it and feel it was a wise decision as well, albeit pricey. Paid CAD 2,093 (approx. USD 1,350) + tax including insatllation.

    I too am convinced 2100 rpm resonance noise is not exclusive to AWD models. I must admit though, had I not read about it on this forum, I wouldn't have noticed it.

    A good thing about Canadian models is that you do not have to pay for some options like heated front seats, Inferno Red paint and 5-year/100,000 km (60,000 mile) power train warranty. We also get day-time running lights, which DC have switched to head lamps as opposed to park/signal lights on '96-'00 modles - a nice idea.

    Once again, thanks very much for all the info and advice.
  • pgs_28pgs_28 Posts: 34
    ingramwd2

    Where did you buy your T&C and what did you pay?

    Paul
  • ingramwd2ingramwd2 Posts: 15
    Ours is a 36-month lease, so did not get any rebates. Dealer is Davidson Chrysler in Toronto (a Five Star Dealership).

    Total Price (before taxes): $46,453 (29X Pkg, Trailer Tow, 4-disc CD, Freight, A/C Tax - $44,360 + Mopar Video - $2,093).

    Lease rate: 3.8% Reidual: 45% Only $600 of video system is residualized.

    I personally think the price should be at least $700 less. CarCostCanada.com quoted $42,669 as the dealer cost price. Dealer denied this saying it is $43,389. (before $350 ad participation fee). I beleive $720 difference is their hold back, which they never admit.

    When & where did you buy/lease yours and what did you pay? Just curious...
  • cgaydoscgaydos Posts: 116
    "And wasn't it a stroke of genius for Chrysler to make this simple modification into THE success story that makes the modern minivan available?" - carleton1

    What's amazing is that no other manufacturer, American, Japanese, or European, copied the FWD formula for nearly 10 years. Let's face it, except for the configuration the first generation (84-95) Chrysler minivans were nothing special. However, the competitor's auto execs consistently delegated the creation of their own minivans to their Truck/Van divisions, which explains the Aerostar, Astro/Safari, Toyota LE van and Previa, Mazda MPV (1st generation), Eurovan, and that funny thing from Mitsubishi that lasted maybe 2 weeks in the US. And except for the Windstar and 2nd generation Odyssey, when the Chrysler competitors did start building car-based FWD minivans they built them too small (i.e. Both generations of GM dustbuster minivans, both generations of Quest/Villager, 1st generation Odyssey, Sienna, 2nd generation MPV).

    I mean, it's not that hard to figure out what makes a high-sales minivan: Large interior, great crash test results, reasonable reliability (Windstar need not apply), drives like a car (FWD), easily configurable interior. The Sienna actually sells well despite the small size, but Toyota will be the first to tell you that size is the only thing that kept it from dominating like the Odyssey does. Yet, although it is easy to understand what makes a high-sales minivan, only 3 large, FWD minivans are available: Windstar, Odyssey, and Dodge/Chrysler. Amazing.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Funny that Toyota downsized from Previa to Sienna. My friend liked the size of his Previa better than his 98 Sienna LE but says the Sienna is vastly superior to the Previa in every other way.
    I wish each company would copy and include the advantages of their competitor. It really benefitted Honda when they copied the size and some of the nice Chrysler featurers. Why didn't Honda include Dual (or Triple) Zone Temp, Quality stereo, Overhead console with compass/outside temp/Trip Computer? I personally think DC should have copied Honda in using the folding 3rd seat that was used in American station wagons for decades.
  • cgaydoscgaydos Posts: 116
    "Funny that Toyota downsized from Previa to Sienna."

    Remember the Previa was RWD and based on a cargo van that is not available in the states. The Sienna is FWD and based on the Camry. I don't think they actively downsized, I speculate that they just designed the best minivan they could, but underestimated the importance of size to their customers. (DC did the same thing in '96 ... the 2nd generation minivans had worse crash test results than the first generation ones, costing many sales. DC didn't recognize the importance of the crash test results, so it wasn't a priority in the minivan redesign.) No doubt the next Sienna is already in testing and addresses the major reason that people did NOT buy it ... size.

    BTW, I hesitated to buy my '01 T&C due to the mediocre crash test results of the '96-'00 DC minivans. BUT, after various research and comparing what I could see of the body structures of the '00 and '01, I decided to take the risk. I'm betting that DC recognized that the crash test results cost them more sales than any other single factor, and that they'll have addressed that weakness in spades in this version.

    "I wish each company would copy and include the advantages of their competitor." As far as Honda not including the DC luxury items like tri-zone AC, my personal speculation is that Honda plans an Acura version of the Odyssey, but not until after the new Odyssey plant is on-line. So, they have to save some luxury features for the most expensive line. As far as DC not having the fold-down seat, I'm sure the marketing accountants at DC projected number of sales lost due to lack of the magic seat, compared to number of sales (and profits) gained due to AWD, and voted for AWD. Given the number of AWD minivans gathering dust on lots, they may have made the wrong choice. Personally, though, I'll take the sliding third seat over the magic seat, although ideal would be sliding magic seat.

    Finally, note that some cool ideas get copied immediately (i.e. dual A/C, dual sliding doors) and others languish around for years before becoming popular (i.e. power sliding door, introduced on '89 dustbuster minivans but not copied until '97 on Sienna; magic seats introduced on '95 Odysseys but not copied until '00 MPV and dustbusters).
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    The size of the Sienna may be constrained by the assembly line is configured - Siennas come down esxactly the same assembly line as Camry sedans, which is the only assembly line you'll see in which that is the case. All the other vans are made on dedicated assembly lines with no sedans interspersed with them. That's partly because no one has been able to duplicate Toyota's efficient production system.

    Unfortunately, what Toyota did is hedge its bets - if the Sienna hadn't proven popular, it could easily gear up to produce more Camry sedans. It's a zero-sum game - if production of one goes up, the other goes down.

    Both Toyota and Honda have clearly stolen sales from Chrysler - in minivans. However, neither has enough production capacity - just yet - to seriously challenge DaimlerChrysler. I suspect that within a couple of years, that will change - and that Chrysler will feel a squeeze at the low end of the market from the new Kia Sedona. Having dropped Plymouth, it is vulnerable at the lower price end of the spectrum.
  • bholiobholio Posts: 21
    Chrysler's dropping of the Plymouth has has not caused the base model of the Voyager or Caravan to go away.

    You can still buy a base Voyager (Chrysler instead of Plymouth) or Caravan with the 4cyl engine in the $16-17K range. The Grand Voyager is gone, but the base Grand Caravan still exists.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    However, the buying public associates the Chrysler name with the high end (in the U.S.; overseas, exported Neons, etc. are badged as Chryslers so the story is different).

    Removing the Plymouth lineup did weaken the low end for DaimlerChrysler - Dodge hasn't picked up all the Plymouth Neon sales, nor will Dodge and Chrysler pick up all the minivan sales from Plymouth.

    Kia will be very aggressive with the new Sedona minivan - on price, and though the company has the same reputation for poor quality that Chrysler has, it offers a far better warranty on its new vehicles.

    DaimlerChrysler is the company that stands to lose the most from Hyundai/Kia's entry into the minivan market.
  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    cgaydos, I disagree on what would be a better configuration for the DC vans. I have a 96 Grand ES and have moved the second row captains chairs to the rearmost position, it's like a limo back there, but at the expense of third seat legroom. I would like to see the third seat have an extra set of mountings to move it further back when carring only passengers, and the ability to fold and tumble forward behind the second row when only 4 passengers and luggage is needed. It then becomes a problem with keeping the floor mountings of the seat out of the way of cargo, and keeping the seat comfortable for passengers. Has anyone seen the third folding seat in the new GM's that thing is only about 1 to 2 inches thick and as hard as a wooden bench!
  • pgs_28pgs_28 Posts: 34
    Wow... small world. I too bought from Davidson Chrysler.... it was my 2nd purchase from there from a salesman named Myserak or Mike.

    I got the LTD plus towing package from 4 CD changer. I traded in my 1998 Chyrsler Sport and paid a total difference of $28,500 tax in... drive away price. The van was on there lot last week advertised for 19,500 but they hadn't had a nibble on it for over 3 months. I thought a fair price would have been in the $17 to $18K range. So I figure my actual cost would have been somewhere around $46K taxes included.

    What do you think of their service. Oh and what color did you buy? Have you talked to them about the 2100 rpm noise problem? What other problems have you noticed. BTW.. I live in the Yonge/Sheppard area.
  • cgaydoscgaydos Posts: 116
    hayneldan, I can understand why you might want that configuration if you're carrying six large passengers. My issue is 4 children and luggage. I'm willing to sacrifice unneeded leg room for more cargo space. But I could see that someone might want to shift the 3rd row bench BACK when no cargo space is needed.
  • dfsykesdfsykes Posts: 11
    Do the second row captains chairs in the T&C or the split rear bench in the T&C Lxi have the ability to fold and tumble forward to provide more cargo space without actually removing them? If so do they lock in that position.
  • shelbydog25shelbydog25 Posts: 18
    My 2nd row captain chairs in my 01 GC Sport do fold forward but don't "tumble". I assume these are same in a T&C
  • dfsykesdfsykes Posts: 11
    Thanks Scanner. That was a great link. It looks like only the split bench can fold and tumble. Do you know if they lock in that position? I have three kids so I think I will keep one of the sides of the back bench in the fold and tumble position to allow for more cargo room plus an extra seat when I need it, I think that this would only work if they lock though. Thanks.
  • geoduckgeoduck Posts: 52
    The second row captain's chairs in our 2001 T&C LXi do tumble over to allow better access to the rear. I don't believe that they lock down that way, but would remain so if cargo steadily pushes forward.

    The rear split bench seats also fold down and tumble over. Don't recall if they lock down as we have two toddler/booster seats installed, but I think they do.

    We have had one of the 2nd row chairs removed for months as it liberates lots of space and lets the little kids scramble back into their own seats real easily. In addition, gaining more space is real easy by removing the remaining captain's chair. In the case of longer items inappropriate for the roof rack, we just pop out a split bench half and move a kid to the available captain's chair. This meets our needs better than a magic seat would have.
  • larrysherlarrysher Posts: 7
    Has anyone found out whether there is a Technical Service Bulletin on the 2100rpm resonance?
    -Larry
    Naples, NY
  • rolfe2rolfe2 Posts: 81
    larrysher --

    See my post #914 on 16 April, if you haven't already. I haven't heard any news since. (No TSB yet, that I'm aware of.)

    I'd sure like to hear if someone else can confirm my findings.

    --rolfe.
  • ingramwd2ingramwd2 Posts: 15
    You probably got a better deal. The colour of ours is Inferno Red.

    No, I haven't talked to Davidson Chrysler about 2100 rpm noise. Wife says she doesn't notice it at all and doesn't want it taken to the dealer unnecessarily! (she's the primary driver of this vehicle).

    The only other issue I have is the snowflake sign (to indicate the rear A/C is on) doesn't seem to go away in the auto mode. I read someone else mentioning this on the T&C LX/LXi/LTD message board. But it also could be due to the weather being warm and daughter has it at 19-20°C all the time.

    Re: Davidson service, I have found them to be better overall than my previous dealer. They are actually closer to me - the "neighbourhood" dealer since I live at the south east end of Scarborough (West Hill lakeshore on the Pickering border). What made you come to them all the way from Yonge & Sheppard?
  • david872david872 Posts: 11
    Hi folks - I've read several posts regarding the 2100 rpm noise. I just bought a 2001 T&C LXI and took it on the first trip and noticed what I call a "high pitch humming" noise at about 75 mph. It starts and then will go away if you speed up or slow down. If you put the cruise control on it seems to faded in and out, but pretty much will stay there. I take it this is different from the roof rack noise? I saw someone give a NTSC 00063 and a TSB 23-002-01 - are they for the roof rack? I e-mailed DC and a Mr. Lee Brown called me today to say he has never heard of this problem, but he is only one of over 200 agents who answers mail. I told him of the posts I've seen. He said he knows of no tech bulletins. My dealer said they have never heard of it either and they cannot test drive a vehicle above speed limit of 70 mph. Any additional info anyone has would be appreciated.
  • fcas2004fcas2004 Posts: 15
    I test drove both versions of the T&C Limited this weekend. On a steady uphill road I distinctly noticed the 2100rpm sound with the AWD; not with the FWD. My wife heard the same sounds sitting in a middle seat. Temperature was about 65F. I'm still on the fence about which to order. Will the vibration cause more problem down the road? I may opt for snow tires in the winter if I go with the FWD. My other concern is the towing package; something I will not need. All the Limiteds on the lot had this option. I will purchase some version of the Limited within the next several weeks. Any thoughts are appreciated.
  • ingramwd2ingramwd2 Posts: 15
    We got the towing package (AHT) because it includes the heavy duty cooling (NMC) and not for actual towing. NMC helps on long summer trips, especially with A/C on for prolonged periods. The difference between the two options on LTD is negligible since it comes standard with load levelling and full-size spare tire.

    All LTDs I have seen at my dealer had AHT and 4-disc CD changer (RDW). I guess it makes sense considering the low cost to include these useful options on this trim level.

    We have a LTD FWD (10 days old, 700 km) and I am the only one in the family to notice the 2100 rpm resonance noise. Even to me, it is not at unacceptable levels. In fact, wouldn't have noticed it had I not read the posts here and started paying careful attention.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    We love our 99 GC SE but feel 2001 are not as nice except in top of the line trim levels. I also think the dash of the earlier models is more attractive than 2001 DC minivans.
    The larger cargo area in the Odyssey would have been better for us on recent trip as all of the luggage (food, etc) would have fit behind the 3rd seat whereas in our GC we had to put some between Quad seats and sliding doors. The more comfortable seats of Sienna would have also been nice.
    However, I would NOT trade the exquisite comfort provided by Dual Zone Temp (Triple Zone for 2001) for the nicer features the Sienna and Ody have.
    DC reliability is as good or better than Odyssey although Sienna may have the edge by the slimest of margins.
    That trip computer/compass/outside temperature display in overhead console is another nice feature where Chrysler/Dodge are infinitely superior to the competition.
    27.5 MPG on a round trip (and 23.5 MPG average in 27067 miles)having the comfortable space of a Grand Caravan with 3.3L lets me laugh at the recent price increases of gasoline. We will NOT give up the comfort of a minivan until gasoline gets over $4.00 a gallon.
  • gramom123gramom123 Posts: 1
    This is my 2nd DC mini. The first one was a little bare bones, but I never had any problems. This one is loaded & I love the great new options. The sliding doors and hatch are so very useful loading kids and groceries. I almost bought a $40K-plus SUV instead, and I am so happy I didn't. The console is extremely useful too. Minivans are considered a little "down market" around here, but I am proud of my versatile, "anti-status symbol"! While my kids are small, I don't think I will ever buy a car that doesn't have automatic doors again.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Noticed at the parking lot of the Best Western Park Place International in Anaheim that more than half of minivans were Grand Caravan...with all 2001 GC being the Grand Caravan Sport. A few Chevy Ventures and Ford Windstars were also there. Did not see one Odyssey or Sienna. Parked our 99 GC SE next to a 2001 GC Sport and I like the styling of my 99 better than the 2001... both exterior and interior.
    I cannot understand why DC put an ugly narrow black rub strip on the side of the Sport instead of the more attractive color coordinated strip in prior years. The seats look cheaper than earlier Sport and the vertical accent of center console is not as attractive.
    The most offensive change was the absense of the beloved Trip Computer. On the other hand, the Triple Zone Temp would be an improvement over my Dual Zone where rear passengers get temperature selected for the driver.
    The DC cheapskate changes are causing me to want to hang on to my 99 GC SE for a long time... and to more seriously consider Sienna or Odyssey as possible next minivan.
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