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2008 Dodge Grand Caravan



  • they are going to bring this van into the 21st century and put an independent rear suspension on it this time?

    and any news on diesel offerings?
  • I hope that they fixed the one problem we have with our '06 T&C which we noticed only after we tried to set it up for carpool with five small kids. The third row does not have a middle shoulder belt (only a lap belt) and it is narrower than the Sienna's third row. Very difficult to find the right combination of booster/car seats that fit.

    Also would be nice if they had an 8 seat configuration as an option as with Honda and Toyota.
  • Also would be nice if they had an 8 seat configuration as an option as with Honda and Toyota. "

    The allpar article says there is a 2nd row bench seat option
  • The current van also has a 2nd row bench seat option but it only seats 2. The article did not indicate the new one would be different.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I went over the photos of the '08 van, and here are some of my comments:

    1) The outside mirrors are finally bigger than the current ones (which are the smallest in class). Though not as big as Toyota Sienna or Nissan Quest, it's much better than the '07 size. I would like to know if they will offer some features found on some competitors, like signal mirrors (Ford, Toyota), Tilt down in reverse (Nissan Quest), Auto dimming, etc.

    2) The rear speakers are in the same position as before, which is BAD. If you have children, it's right into their ears. The speakers from the 3rd row seats have to be moved somewhere, lower, or to the sliding doors..

    3) I love the big, comfortable interior door handles. The current ones is a pain to use. I don't like, though, the way the new controls on the door are designed. The door locks & window controls are very clever in the current. Probably it's safer. I also hope it's illuminated (probably is).

    4) I HATE the way the shifter is located. I urge Chrysler to rather put them back on the column, and not leave it there on the dashboard. It's really weird.

    5) There is an option for heated front and 2nd row seats, but no word about cooled seats (Ford & Mercury offer them). Note to Chrysler: If you wanna be ahead of the competition, you have to AT-LEAST offer everything they offer, plus some new (as swiveling seats, etc.), like HID headlamps, (laser cruise control if you want), (LED taillamps would be nice).

    6) Still sticking with RED rear signal lamps. IMO amber is more appropriate. Rear lights mimic the 300 sedan.

    7) No option for 8 passenger will be a big drawback for many people. Please add an 8-passenger version, it doesn't have to stow into the floor. Leave that for the rear seat only.

    8) What’s about heated and cooled cupholders? Like on the Chrysler Sebring? It might be very useful for long trips with children. (I see the the 2008 Ford Focus will have illuminated cup holders... Some Lexus models offer them too... Can you add this to the new van? Just asking...)

    9) The Extra Large TALL A/C vents causes the climate controls and cup holders to sit too low. Cut the vents in half, and bring all controls closer to the driver. Or, put the vents and controls at an angle, like the Honda Odyssey. The temperature controls seems more complicated than it should be.

    10) I personally hate the cruise control the way TOYOTA is doing it, so I am not excited that Chrysler is copying it. I like it on the steering wheel with illuminated controls. But DCX is now providing (illuminated?) audio controls on the steering wheel, I loved it so much the way it was, behind the steering wheel.

    11) Still no optitron gauges. Why the Pacifica is the only Chrysler providing it is beyond my understanding. Not bad, though. The Dodge version looks cooler, with ice blue illumination, and big fat rounds (like Nissan’s - to block daylight glare?), and red needles. Chryslers, on the other hand, has the old style green-blue backlighting, with black needles (why not red?) which also applies to the analog clock which is available on the Chrysler version only. I do like the 4 separate gauges design on the Chrysler over the 3-gauge design in the Dodge version.

    12) A word about the key fob: I have a ’05 DCX van, and recently, most manufacturers design the remote controls on the key itself, not on a separate fob. I personally like a separate fob, and not a big fat key, but the main concern is that when the key is hanging, buttons can get pressed accidentally. Many times in the past I found my GC van in the morning with an open sliding door! Sometimes my van starts to beep because the PANIC button is getting pressed accidentally. Some companies (as Mazda) have a solution, there is a spring-loaded retractable cap which covers the controls. Can you copy that for us, Mr. Chrysler?

    That’s it for now. More to follow. STAY TUNED :)
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    I've seen the Chrysler versions will have heated/cooled seats and cupholders! Also HID headlamps.

    Having the keyfob integrated into the key allows the battery to be charged while driving with key in ignition, otherwise you're replacing battery in hanging fob
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Looking at the pictures over and over again. And finding some more nitpicking here and there... Let me continue...

    13) Looking at the Chrysler instrument cluster, I realized that the way it shows you the engine temperature and fuel level, is left and right, not up and down, like the current DCX vans, and like the ’08 Dodge version. I think it’s a mistake, because it’s much easier to see any level “at-a-glance” when showing it up and down, than right-to-left, so you always have try to remember: Is “right side” full and “left side” empty... or vice versa?

    14) I also don’t like the idea of placing the outside temperature and compass information into the instrument gauges. I like it better the way it is on the current models, on the front of the overhead console, so it is viewable for everybody in the van. My wife loves to see the temperature when I’m driving, and she will really miss it if Chrysler is placing them at the gauges. Besides that, the gauges will not be as clean as I like. Too much info in a tight space.

    15) The windshield wipers design is changed. Instead of both wiper blades being one on top of the other (as in the current models), they changed it the way like most other vehicles. (I don’t like the change. I think the way it’s now is better for both, the driver and front passenger, especially in snow.)

    16) In the current model vans, it’s very difficult to access the registration sticker, due to the bumpy speaker which blocks it, which makes it very uncomfortable for most people to change stickers or even just to clean the bottom inside of the windshield window. I hope this will be better in the new ’08 model.

    17) Addition to the mirror part: I want the mirrors to be as close to the door as possible. That makes for a smaller blind spot. In the current vans, the mirrors are very far away, the worst of all minivans. I also hope they will feature “approach lamps” (also known as “puddle lamps”) behind the mirror, which lights up when you unlock the van at night time when it’s dark outside. In addition, I would like the headlamps and rear backup lamps also to light up when unlocking the door. Most GM vehicles feature this, and it’s very useful when it’s dark outside. Ford features the front headlamps only, not the rear backup lamps.

    18) I wonder if the steering wheel will be telescoping as well as tilting?

    19) The rear seats which will fold down in the floor, does not seem to be much improved over the current stow-n-go seats. Still sits very low, and tilted way up, ready to take off... Somehow, Toyota, Honda and Kia (and even Nissan) are managing to do it better. I would not buy one if the seats will still be as uncomfortable as it is now. My rear passengers are always complaining about them.

    Stay tuned for more...
  • I bought a 1996 Caravan SE and recently got rid of it to buy a 2006 GC SXT, with no knowledge of the changes coming for 2008 model year. Overall the 2006 is a far better car than the '96, and amazingly the dealership had 2006 SEs going for $16k I think, same as what I had paid for the '96 with 96,000km on it in 1999. One noticeable change, my '96 SE had illuminated sunvisor mirrors with dimmer switches, the '06 doesn't have the dimmers. Does the '08 have dimmer switches I wonder?

    I'm not sure I would have held out for the 2008 though, the stereo still does not have a USB plug on it for playing MP3s (FAR more useful than a CD player or even a DVD player for that matter). In fact, I wish they had an option to do away with the factory A/V equipment and use aftermarket equipment instead. Two DVD screens? So what! You can buy a good portable DVD player for about $100, for what Chrysler charges you could buy the kids a laptop computer and play DivX and whatever you want for chrissakes.

    The powertrain changes I don't care a whit about, in fact, I feel better driving the '06 knowing the engines had been tweaked for 10 years than an '08 with new power plants and potential lurking transmission problems.

    The swivel'n'go seating is neat for the kids but nowhere as useful as stow'n'go. Stow'n'go is an absolute delight, to fold all the seats down for moving stuff compared to how I used to have to lug those heavy benches around. I hope the 2008 has a full stow'n'go option also? Also, any final word on whether the short wheel base version will have stow'n'go?

    It's a shame they had to eliminate AWD to accommodate stow'n'go, but on the other hand the Chrysler FWD powertrain had been problematic enough without having to contend with AWD issues.

    That said, I never had a problem with my old '96 but I always drove with crossed fingers XX. No problem yet with the '06 with 6,600km on the clock.

    The one big thing that NOBODY is mentioning is the wind-down rear windows!! Do the rearmost windows still fold out? That always struck me as a feature that never worked that well, though it seemed futuristic in 1996 (that and the cross-over wipers that never once crashed, thankfully). That is a crying shame that they got rid of the crossover wipers. I got a sunroof in the '06 for a little extra ventilation capability.

    Overall it's a mixed bag, in some ways they go forward, in some ways they go backwards or miss the boat, i.e. lack of bluetooth receiver for A/V. I'm 7 yrs older than I was in 1999 so my perspective has probably changed too, especially with the kids.

    Lastly, I am glad to see no ugly aerial in the photos however I do see a black bump on the passenger fender, is that the antenna? Maybe I'm just not seeing the wire aerial, or it is a power aerial. If it's just a bump they should have just put it on the roof I think, and integrated a cell phone antenna at the same time.
  • "Overall it's a mixed bag, in some ways they go forward, in some ways they go backwards or miss the boat, i.e. lack of bluetooth receiver for A/V."

    I'm not sure what you mean by bluetooth receiver for A/V, but they have the integrated bluetooth package for cellphones. Also, contrary to what you wrote, there are A/V inputs for MP3 players and were there already if you had the CD changer - I have it right on the console on my 2004 T&C and play my creative zen in the car with a direct connection. They are also offering a 20 GB removable hard drive that can store movies and music.

    As far as the DVD screens, any vehicles can have portable units and that's fine if that's what you want. But many people prefer the integrated solution that doesn't require the sound to come from tiny speakers or a lo-fi
    radio transmitter. They are popular in minivans and every competing model offers them. This just has an added feature that you can select or not - 2 movies at once

    You mention some steps forward and some back, but I can assure you that they would have been vilified had they not updated the powertrain. An utter disaster. I guess all cars should leave in what works decently, and never put in new motors and trans? They will get much more power with the same or better gas mileage due to the first in class 6 speed. Could there be problems? I guess, but these are already in other DCX vehicles, so that helps...And companies will eventually die if they just "leave well enough alone." That's a fact.
  • jeepdtjeepdt Posts: 15
    So THAT is why the controls are on the fob! Clever. :)
  • jeepdtjeepdt Posts: 15
    That's the first time I've EVER heard that rational for a sunroof. Given that this is a new vehicle, there's bound to be some comments on what DC has missed or designed poorly but I think these new vans look clean and solid, especially the DGC. As an owner of an '02 Mazda MVP (first minivan to have 200BHP AND operational rear windows), you can get some real ventilation with those windows. Can't wait till they start marking those babies down next January! :shades:
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I really hope the new vans will be very fuel effeciant - especially with the newer 4.0L engine. I would also like to see a bigger gas tank than the 20 gallon on the previous models. Ford and GM has about 25-26 gallon. I know it's not easy when you have seats stow in the floor, but I hope they will find some way... at least 22 gallon... the more the better.
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    I saw either a picture or video of the 08 CG minivans with 4 windows down and the rear windows poped out for vent. I imagine sunroof plus rear quarter vent windows provides a quiet and mild breeze of fresh air. Something simialr to my pickup w/ moonroof and power sliding rear window. Great control over airflow, and can be quiet with a light airflow.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Got this month's Consumer Reports, where they rate family sedans, including the new Chrysler Sebring. WOW! Such a bad and dissapointing report!

    The "only" good thing they found about the car, was that the "controls are straightforward", and that's it. Otherwise, everything is negative:

    "[The Sebring] it's a big dissapointment for a redesigned model..."

    "Both engines are noisy and unrefined (the 3.5L V6 version wasn't available at the time of our test)..."

    "Ride & Handling are mediocre, and the sedan feels ungainly at its limit..."

    "The interior is not well finished, with expensive hard-plastic surfaces and large panel gaps..."

    "The Sebring's ride is fairly compliant, but ride motions can get quick and frequent over bumps and undulations..."

    "Road noise is pronounced, and both engines are loud under acceleration..."

    "Handling is mundane, and both cars (4 Cyl and V6) lack agility and have noticeable body lean..."

    "The steering is neither quick nor communicative..."

    "Braking is unimpressive, with average stopping distances and a soft brake pedal..."

    "The Sebring's interior looks cheap and insubstantial. Almost all of the touchable surfaces are hard. Panel fit has large, uneven gaps and unfinished edges..."

    "The front seats are narrow and uncomfortable. Many found the hard backrest the protrudes into the lower back area to be notably unpleasent..."

    "Most controls are straight-forward, but the displays lack contrast and can be marred by reflections..."

    OK, I know this forum is for the 2008 minivans, but this report makes me VERY worried! Chrysler will use the same stereo, gauges, and other parts from the Sebring on the new minivan. I foresee bad reports on many publications...

    I understand that swivel'n'go can be a nice feature, and to have 2 DVD screens is a nice touch, but if the new van will not have fit and finish comparable to Sienna, Sedona & Odyssey, and ride & handling to beat them, I think it will not be a winner, despite all the cool gadgets.

    See, CR didn't even mention anything about the cool and hot features of the Sebring, (cooled and heated cup holders), or MyGig audio system with 20 GB onboard. What they (and most consumers) care about is a good ride and exciting handling, and a well executed interior.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    My second worry is, why is everybody so quiet. It seems like no one is interested in the upcoming redesigned van. In some other forums, people keep on debating and discussing, everybody seems to be excited about them. But here is so quiet. Everybody fell asleep...
  • My biggest concern with the new vans is the price. How much will the model with the 4.0 liter engine be? I hope they are priced realistically given that Kia, Honda and Toyota vans all have similar horsepower engines standard in all trims. Hopefully we won't have to pay through the teeth to get a competitive powertrain. The current model, after all, trails the Asian brands in power and refinement.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    What I don't understand is....Why spend the $$$$$ putting all that variation into their Minivan i.e....2 V6s, a 4 spd or 6 spd auto? Put the new V6 and 6 spd auto into every van like Toyota and Honda does!!! Go for volume! They can't save that much money using the old engine/tranny? The only excuse I could see is that there's capacity restraints on the new engine/tranny?
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    "Why spend the $$$$$ putting all that variation into their Minivan i.e....2 V6s, a 4 spd or 6 spd auto? Put the new V6 and 6 spd auto into every van like Toyota and Honda does!!! Go for volume!"

    I agree. It's easy to speculate they have some "leftover" powertrains they intend to continue to offer for now.

    Wouldn't it be simpler and a more cost-effective strategy to concentrate on the quality of a single modern powertrain and the new van? Wouldn't that keep costs down up-front, as well as warrantee claims?
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    I agree. It's easy to speculate they have some "leftover" powertrains they intend to continue to offer for now.

    I'm certain this isn't the case, no OEM builds inventory of anything, let alone engines. DCX would save all sorts of things...factory floor space, simplified product mix, higher volumes - lowering cost, customer goodwill.... It baffles me that DCX would continue on with out of date trannies and engines.
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    Limited capacity, not excess inventory. That's my guess. How many 4.0L's can DCX make to support all their vehicles vs. 3.3 and 3.8L? Likewise, the tranmissions. I don't agree that it should be a limititation, but I'm 98% confident that is the issue.

    Also, I bet the pushrod engiens cost 50%-75% as much as the 4.0L, so I think that is significant.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    BIG Surprise: CR does not like a Chrysler vehicle :sick: CR trashed the dash controls for DC minivans saying they are "confusing and busy".

    Having owned a 2002 T&C, I do NOT like the simpleton controls of the 2006 Sienna where all windshield wipers and washer controls are on one stalk. I liked the T&C separate controls for front and rear wipers MUCH better and also liked having 4 separate controls for Bass, Treble, Balance, and Fade better than having to scroll thru a menu with one push button of the Sienna stereo.

    CR is "NOT Recommended for purchase" because it is biased, un-reliable trash. :lemon:
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Yup, CR is biased against the Americans. Thats why the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan rate so highly in their class, and have much better than average reliability ratings. Don't be a hater just because Chrysler can't put decent interiors in its vehicles, and its powertrains are a class behind the leaders....

  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Ohhh yippy!! CR picked a few domestic products!!!! Do this simple test....pick up any issue of CR and note which pictures of automobiles make the cover or start of the articles. 99% of the time it's a japanese car. Even on this latest auto issue - there's finally a small pic of Fusion but much larger pics of a Mazda and RAV!!! Nahhhh no bias there. Then note in some tests where they make assumptions of being too new to rate (ususally domestics) but can manage on japanese cars. No bias there too I'm sure.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    Ahem... let's focus on the minivan redesign and get off of what you think about CR ratings. Please check out the Auto News discussions that are specific to ratings systems.


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  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    DaimlerChrysler has a web site where a 2008 GC can be priced with different option groups and a separate site where a 2008 T&C can be built and priced.

    Does Edmunds have a similar site?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    As soon as Chrysler releases the pricing data to us, you'll be able to build & price it on the main site in our "new cars" section.


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  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I really hate the liftgate handle on the 2001-2007 DCX minivans. It's electronic, and it's hard to get used to it, and even then it's not comfortable. Leave alone when I have passenger, they never get it right.

    I understand it's more safe than the older designs in many liftgates, which easily caused you to pinch your fingers while pulling, but this is not the right way of fixing it.

    The BEST liftgate handle design I've seen on a minivan is on the Ford Freestar. Yes, the Freestar. It did for the liftgate handle what all other manufacturers did to the door handles. You don't need to turn your hands up (Are we really that crazy comfortable already...?), just grab the handle, and it's on its way up.

    Hans: I agree that CR's reports are not always fair, but you MUST admit that even if you love extra controls for the bass and treble, the current DCX minivans have an ugly, busy interior, light years behind any other minivan. So many tiny look-alike buttons, sitting next to each other. Very confusing. And unfortunately, the new upcoming redesigned minivan doesn't seem to be much better. For example, the temperature controls are truly confusing, in top of being placed too low.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    When pricing the 2008 model on Chrysler's site, you have 3 models, each with a different engine. The LX model comes with the old tired 3.3L, the Touring version with the 3.8L (200 hp), and only the top-of-the-line Limited will get the new 4.0L with the 6-speed tranny.

    IMO this is a very big mistake. at-least the 4.0L with the 6-speed combo should be an option on the Touring version - which will probably be 60-70% of the sales.

    Also, leather seating should be OPTIONAL on the Touring. Do not make it standard please! I hate leather, I don't want to pay for it, but I still love a good stereo system and MyGig, and other nice gadgets. Please Chrysler! Don't repeat the same mistake again you did with the current models. Do not require to take leather seating before choosing the nice features. I hate when manufacturers are doing this! Leather seating / heated seats should be a standalone option, regardless of what other option packages you choose!!!
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    The BEST liftgate handle design I've seen on a minivan is on the Ford Freestar.

    The BEST liftgate handle design is NO handle i.e... my power liftgate on my DCX GC SXT. Push the button on the fob or IP. No juggling bags of groceries while trying to open the door.
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