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And while the Honda Odyssey comes closer than the Montana, the Honda still feels a bit more ungainly and heavy than the seemingly more nimble Chrysler van.
One driver summed up the T&C's impressive road manners thusly: "Unlike the Honda and Ford vans, which are big and feel it, the Town & Country is big but doesn't feel it."
Despite the fact the Town & Country wasn't the quickest van in this test, the engine and transmission still got high praise among the drivers.
With 215 horsepower and 245 foot-pounds of torque, he said the engine "moves this vehicle with authority."
Despite the few gripes, Chirico really enjoyed his time in the minivan. He spent the better part of one month driving all over Southern California in a Dodge Grand Caravan and "loved it." Wow, who woulda thought?
http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/longterm/articles/45220/page003.html CHRYSLERS RESPONSE TO INTRO
"The Grand Caravan's engine and transmission seem to be a much better match for each other than the Odyssey's. Acceleration from a stop was much quicker, therefore making it easier to enter a freeway."
Karl feels the 3.8-liter V6 in our long-term vehicle provides abundant low-end torque, giving the Grand Caravan an almost nimble feel during around-town cruising. The copious power delivery is backed up by a responsive, communicative steering system that further elevates the Dodge to "almost fun-to-drive" status. Rather amazing for a minivan.
During his commute, Brent found time to evaluate the interior. The amount of feature content impressed him, specifically the leather seating, automatic headlights, power doors/mirrors/locks, automatic climate control, seat heaters and moveable center console. The console's flip-out cell phone holder earned a thumbs up, as it held his Nokia 6160 perfectly. And while this van can't be ordered with a navigation system, it does have a compass mounted in the rearview mirror, a feature Brent used on a couple of occasions. He also really liked the audio controls mounted on the steering wheel, saying that they are perfectly placed on the back of the wheel and are easy to use.
In an announcement made at the New York International Auto Show, Dodge Caravan was awarded the coveted Automobile Magazine Readers' Choice All-Star for Best Minivan.
The 2001 models of the Dodge Dakota, Caravan, and Stratus Coupe and Sedan have all been rated as Consumers Digest "Best Buys".
The 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan took home top honors as the best minivan in the market for the second year running, according to AAA rankings.
DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group was the only company with domestic brands to tally four winners in TQI segments. These were the Chrysler PT Cruiser, LHS and Town & Country and the Dodge Dakota.
Hands down, this 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan has everything you want in a passenger vehicle, truck and minivan. I tried to find something to complain about. I just couldn't.
This new Grand Caravan has a lot to offer a busy mom or dad who wants a different level of comfort and convenience to haul your busy family to the ice rink or swimming pool.
Fifteen Years After It Created A New Market, The Chrysler Minivan Is Still The Leader And Trend Setter. Now They Add The Selectable Autostick Transmission.
Many trendy vehicles will come and go, but I predict when flash and fashion fade, there will be the Dodge Caravan, rolling along in undiminished numbers.
Some of the basic ingredients of this eminently successful offering have not been changed, things like its size, seat-height, and front-drive configuration. But the upcoming Dodge Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, and Chrysler (nZ<caron>e Plymouth) Voyager, and models do benefit from quieter-ride suspension pieces, bigger brakes, a trio of more potent V-6 engines, a powered rear liftgate, dual powered sliding doors, improved front airbags and new side-impact bags, power-adjustable pedals, fresh exterior sheetmetal, and an even more clever interior design.
The 2001 lineup includes the Chrysler (formerly Plymouth) Voyager, Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country, a trio that has given DaimlerChrysler mini-van dominance with sales of 600,000 plus, or about 40 percent of the 1.5 million market annually.
It would appear as though the Ody isn't the only minivan out there winning awards and praises from various organizations. Dispite all of the hype over the Ody, Chrysler's minivans are still the only ones on the market that have been awarded MOTORTREND's CAR OF THE YEAR (1996). That's very impressive when you consider the other cars over the year that have been given that honored award.
As a friend put it best, "you can't stay on top forever, at least in the eyes of the critics." I think a major reason why so much hype as been given to the Ody since it was redesigned is that DC has simply done so well in terms of customer loyalty and minivan sales. Of course critics are going to be eager to give the crown of "the best minivan" to a new contender after a single product has been given that title 16 years in a row.
It allways amusses me that despite all of the awards Honda has been given for the Ody, it's sales are eclipsed by those of the DC minivans and I think will continue to be well into the future. After all, a company just doesn't sell 9 million minivans over a period of a decade and a half for no good reason.
-Adam (16/M/CA)00 T&C LX FWD
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