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Honda Odyssey vs Dodge/Chrysler minivans



  • Scanner - Be careful about throwing out generalities. I am pro Odyssey and did form my own opinions after test driving.
    I went into the process of buying a van reluctantly. We were the people who swore up and down that we would never be caught dead owning a minivan. I was driving an Explorer, a Camry, and an Integra, and decided that we needed a van to accomodate our needs. This vehicle would replace the Explorer (lease expired) and the Integra (not practical after the second child).

    We took an inventory of what our family and friends were driving and got their experiences. My parents ('99 T&C LX) and my in-laws ('98 Quest) seemed to like theirs the best. We assessed what was important to us (interior space, performance, reliability, price, looks, features, in that order) and narrowed the list down to the DC extended vans, Toyota Sienna, and the Odyssey. I thought going into the process that we would probably get the T&C or a GC. My wife was leaning to the Sienna.

    We drove the Toyota first. We liked the luxury features and the quiet ride, but were concerned about the price and interior space. Next we drove the Odyssey. A dealer had an EX-Navi on the lot after a buyer cancelled. We drove it and liked the extra power, the interior space, the seating flexibility (especially the second row bench/captains chair flexibility), and the solid road feel and handling. The interior noise was a louder than the Sienna, but we didn't find it to be that much of a negative. We thought the Navi system was neat, but I wasn't willing to spend $2000 for it. Third, I drove a GC Sport. It was right off the truck and the climate control and stereo was not working (apparently, they don't install the fuses for those until they reach the dealer). This skewed my opinion, and the dealer wouldn't stop bugging me. I decided to try out a T&C. I enjoyed the comfort, features, the handling and the interior space, but I hated the dark blue interior and almost threw my back out trying to remove the back seat. This van had the 3.3 V6, which I felt was underpowered compared to the Odyssey. I wasn't willing to go up to the Limited to get the 3.8 (this dealer did not have any LXi w/3.8, didn't seem willing to look, and the EX wasn't out yet).

    We went home and spent a day weighing the pros and cons of each vehicle. We decided to go with the Odyssey EX (no Navi) for the following reasons:
    1. More usable interior space and easier to configure, with convertible second row and stowable third row.
    2. Interior environment felt more open and airy.
    3. More power and better EPA mileage.
    4. Better road feel. Felt more connected to the pavement.
    5. Better reputation of reliability.
    6. Lower initial cost and better record of resale value.
    7. Relative scarcity. After driving a camry and Explorer, it's nice to have something a little different from the rest of the crowd.

    I can say now after dring my Odyssey for 3 months and 6500 miles, that I do not regret my decision a single bit. It has met all of my needs. I have taken 3 family trips, hauled about 1000 pounds of lumber, and a refrigerator. In the big hauling jobs, the folding third row has been a benefit. I could have done the jobs with a DC van, but I would hate to have to remove that third row very often. I usually leave the third row up to take advantage of the deep well for carrying groceries.

    It is not my intention to convert you scanner, but the tone in your messages seems to imply that there is no possible way any person could evaluate these vans and then decide on the Odyssey. I just wanted to let you know that I did my homework and chose the van that was best for my needs. Don't take it personally that I didn't select your favorite, or imply that Odyssey owners are a bunch of mindless drones.
  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331
    Good comments. Obviously, everyone has their own priorities, and that is why people choose different minivans.

    I recently made a post on another forum with the exact content scanner described. I used Consumer Reports as a basis for a handling comparison. Granted, it was not because I can't make my own, instead it was because I was replying to a thread of posts which had also referenced Consumer Reports but left out some relevant information.

    The problem with individual comparisons on ride and handling is that they are very subjective. In most cases, you'll simply find that Odyssey owners preferred the ride and handling of the Odyssey, while DC owners preferred that of their minivan. At least magazine reviews sometimes include more objective measurements in a slalom or emergency avoidance maneuver.

    I will make one personal observation. My brother-in-law owns a T&C LTD AWD. Very nice minivan. As a child passenger safety technician, I'm always interested to see new implementations of integrated child seats. Many implementations are poor or mediocre. The one in the 2001 T&C is good, provided it is used for a child within the recommended limits. I'd have no problem using one for my kids if a suitable separate carseat was unavailable. It is a very nice convenience.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    one comment on the Odyssey. The 01 EX have the auto off headlights, can't comment on LX or the 99-00 models.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    ...and all that are from a magazine that loves Honda and BMW. I am glad they like your Odyssey that much. I am "quite sure" everyone of those professional writers own a Odyssey too.
  • I have been a subscriber to Car and Driver for over 15 years and until '99, the DC vans were by far their favorite. They lavished so much praise on the original '84 Caravan that you would have thought they drooling over a Ferrari. They tore up the original Odyssey ('95-'98) as being too small and too far behind the DC vans to be consider a competitor. Their editorial change of heart came about with the release of the '99 redesign of the Odyssey.
    I'll agree that they tend to favor Hondas and BMWs for the most part (I cannot understand their love affair with the outdated Prelude, for example), but they seem to place a premium on build quality and the "fun to drive" factor, which seems identical to the BMW mission. Honda's track record of quality seems to give it an automatic advantage in any comparison they do, but when all is said and done, I consider the opinions of Car and Driver more than I consider the opinions of Consumer Reports. At least you know they (C/D) drive the cars in the real world.
  • macmg3macmg3 Posts: 3
    I wrote Chrysler shortly after hearing the news of the minor fuel leak in the 01 Grand Caravan Sport asking them to recall some of the 400,000 mini vans out there now that could be potentially affected by this "problem". I was rather pleased with their response, which I have posted below.

    Dear Adam:

    Thank you for your mail concerning the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's 40% offset crash test results for the 2001 Dodge Caravan.

    We are pleased with the "Acceptable" rating that the Chrysler Mini vans achieved on the most recent IIHS crash test, although we caution that there is no single measure of a vehicle's overall safety. Our focus is on total, real world safety. We made significant changes beginning with the all-new 2001 mini van, adding 47 pounds of structural enhancements to improve performance in offset type crashes. The IIHS offset test results reflect the mini van's strong safety cage performance.

    However, we are disappointed that the IIHS chose to also issue a "Poor" rating for 2001 model year minivans because of a hairline fracture in the fuel pump mounting flange that occurred after the actual impact of the crash-test. This resulted in a minor fuel leak, approximately two tablespoons per minute, a result that occurred in only one test and has never been replicated in extensive testing.

    In fact, in approximately 50 high-speed, severe frontal impact tests, neither the Chrysler Group nor the government have ever experienced this test result. In similar testing, the Chrysler Group was unable to replicate this leak, as was the IIHS. Based on this testing, we feel that it would be extremely unlikely for this leak to occur in a "real-world" crash. We stand behind the safety and structural integrity of Chrysler Group minivans. They are among the safest vehicles on the road, period.

    Thank you for your inquiry, we understand your concerns, and trust this information provides greater understanding of the issue.

    With that said, hotspur I think your the one who just doesn't get it. You claim to think the DC minivans are "fine" vehicles but I have not herd you say one possitive thing about them. Therefore, I'll take the liberty of listing some of the totally-usable features that the 01 DC minivans have over the Ody.

    optional leather/suede interior, full time awd, 17 inch chrome titan wheel covers, 4 disk in dash cd changer, tri zone digital climate control, mini trip computer, power driver and passenger seats, center removable console, heated mirros and windshield, rear scuff pad, 4 wheel disc breaks, fog lamps, headlamp off time delay, rear 50/50 bench seating, grochery bad hooks, power sliding doors and rear hatch with obstacle detection system, adjustable cup holders, optional dvd video system, garage door opener, automatic locking doors, 10 speaker infinity sound system, optional autostick manumatic transmission.

    Rather impressive!

    -Adam (16/M/CA)
  • macmg3macmg3 Posts: 3
    The Ody isn't a bad minivan. Let me get that out of the way. I don't want to seem unfair or unreasonably baised towards the DC minivans. Carelton is right when he says both products have their unique features that attract them to consumers. However, I tend to like the more innovative and origional of products, and in this case its the DC minivans. As I've said before, without the DC vans your heavenly Ody would never have even existed. And as hotspur likes to say, "THATS A FACT, DEAL WITH IT."

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Chrysler tackles car quality gap

    Vans, SUVs and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards

  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    Many Ody owners as well as many of the car websites and magazines that hotspur points out have given the Ody its "highest marks" seem to think that having a good reliablity history and magic seat are the trademarks of a great minivan. I disagree. It makes me laugh when I think that most people with Odys have very low milage on their cars but still boast about its excellent reliablity. Ody owners are breaking 30k miles with no problems while thousands of DC minivan owners dating back to the 80s have gone 100k miles and above in their vans with minor problems, IF ANY. It is very convienent for Honda owners to say "don't buy a DC minivan because they will break down on you as soon as it's in your garage." However, to millions of DC minivan owners around the world who have had great experiences with their vans, including me...the same old terrible chrysler reliablity stories just don't cut it.

    As for the magic seat, we had one in an old Mitsubishi van we got rid of 5 years ago. It was a good piece of engineering, but I would harly call it a necessity, at least for us. The 3rd row seat is truly something that depends on the user and his or her needs. For some the magic seat better meets their needs and for other the 50/50 split seat is a better choice. Also, I would be willing to bet that if you sat inside a 01 T&C or GC with leather you would find the seat much more plush and comfortable than the seat of an Ody EX.

    Crappy breaks? Yea right. Our experience with these breaks are just the opposite. It's funny you mention breaks when your Ody doest even have 4 wheel anti-lock disc breaks, while many models of the T&C and DGC do. As I said before, these breaks have gotten me out of many bad positions and I feel very confident in my breaking abilities.

    More room for passengers in ALL possitions? Hardly. Look at the measurments given by both manufacturers for passengers in all seating locations. Even in the positions where the Ody has more room, it beats the DC minivans out by such small margins that in real life you wouldnt even notice the difference. It's not even worth boasting.

    Well hotspur, when DC minivans continue to outsell your immaculate Ody with its magic seat year, after year, after year maybe you will learn that there is something more to DC minivans than just facy features like tri zone climate control and power liftgates. Just a question, have you ever driven a DC minivan? Perhaps that's why there has been so much negativity comming from you and your post over the last year.

    -Adam (16/M/CA)
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Reliability report on Page 79 for Grand Caravan and page 82 for Odyssey.
    99 Grand Caravan.... AVERAGE reliability.
    99 Odyssey............. BELOW average reliability.
    Compare the circles for 00 of each:
    00 GC: All full red but 3 half red.
    00 Ody: All full red but 1 half red and 2 blank
    ...indicating more reported trouble with 00 Ody than 00 GC as reported by CR subscribers.
    Grand Caravan had FEWER reported problems for 1999 and 2000 than did the Honda Odyssey.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    I am curious too,hotspur...haven't you ever driven the 2001 DC vans? Or you are afraid we would take a picture of you in one :-) I just want your honest answer if you have driven one. What do you truely think of the van regardless of the history or the MSRP?
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    Well hotspur, it would appear as though your information on poor DC minivan reliability is becomming dated. I say this as I read a new article on on Strategic Visions Total Quality Winners. They gave the best quality in the minivan category to the 2001 Chrysler Town & Country. Contrary to the post many pro-Ody owners have posted, including would appear that the Ody doesn't win ALL of the awards.

  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    Although many good points have been brought up over the last few years from both pro-Ody and pro-DC minivan owners, I think there are some variables that have been over-looked. At least on the pro-DC minivan side. Here are some of my new points that I feel have been over-looked...

    Models, trim, options. I think one of the reasons why DC minivans will continue to outsell the competition, including the Ody is because there are simply more models and options to choose from. For example, with Ody there are only two models and one wheel-base size. On the other hand, DC minivans have numerous models and trim lines, as well as two wheel base sizes. Also, the Ody only has one standard engine to choose from, whereas the DC minivans have three engine choices for people to consider (including the 3.8L V6, with a higher torque rating than the Ody's 3.5L V6).

    Now lets move onto interior appointments. The Ody's boaring and plain (yes, i do not have a problem with saying this as I've been on a few rides in my Cousin's 99 Ody LX) interior does not compare to the interiors of even the lowest model DC minivans (ie Voyager and Caravan SE). DC offers about three differently appointed interior in the Caravans and T&Cs, including the sude/leather option in the T&C Limited.

    This "one size fits all" attitude that Honda seems to have adopted is not very attractive to many consumers, especially those on a tight budget. In addition, I've just seen a new review by one of the reviewers at that has tested the 01 Caravan and the 01 Ody, and has given the DC van a slightly higher overall score. The 2001 Dodge Caravan: 72% vs the 2001 Honda Odyssey: 68%. Honda owners, could this be possible!? A DC minivan getting a higher mark than the almight Ody!? I guess so...

    -Adam (16/M/CA)

    Hotspur, I strongly believe that simply driving a DC minivan helps to sell the car more than negotiating with a salesman over the MSRP or rebates (especially a Grand Caravan ES or T&C LTD). I recommend you drive one to experience the full driving effect these vans have on the driver and passengers.
  • wellphytwellphyt Posts: 28
    I may be wrong but I don't believe Honda is manufacturing enough vans yet to outsell the DC vans. My understanding is Honda is selling every van it can make.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Many customers prefer having a choice of vehicles at the dealership ready for purchase and being able to drive one. DC produces sufficient numbers for dealers to do this.
    With the Honda Odyssey, a prospective buyer does not have this option at most dealerships.
    When DC starts giving away minivans, let me know so I can get in line for the nice gift.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    4aodoge says: Crappy breaks? Yea right. Our experience with these breaks are just the opposite. It's funny you mention breaks when your Ody doest even have 4 wheel anti-lock disc breaks
    You know what I think, that deep down inside you know that your DC Van is going to "BREAK" or you wouldn't keep saying so. No I don't have 4 wheel disc breaks, nor do I even have 4 wheel disc brakes. But I do have a van that doesn't BREAK. And as far as Odyssey having a below rating in CR they even admitted that Odyssey was brought down by the early troubles with the power sliders, but since they have recalled them and fixed them, no more problems. Maybe with a little luck DC will also do the honorable thing and recall theirs to fix the firebomb van. And again maybe not until the government spends millions of my hard earned money in court to force them to do what's right.
  • hotspurhotspur Posts: 34
    So DC gets the IIHS to suppress its "poor" rating for four months in order to "correct" the fire hazard. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of buyers purchase these firetraps (I'm sure scanner can tell us the precise number) without being warned of this terrible problem. Then DC "corrects" the problem in all vans built after July 2 or 6 or some such date, but does nothing for the poor dupes who bought between March and July.

    Is this cynical or what? Why would anyone buy from this company? The ejection rear hatch mentality all over again.
  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331
    Interesting to see you post Consumer Reports reliability ratings. Do you think their conspiracy is over? Did you find sample sizes with those figures? Just curious.
  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331
    Honda has always been poor on model choices and options selection. In fact, that was the major reason we bought a Saturn over a Civic some years ago. It was also a lesser reason why we bought a Cirrus over some of it's competition when it first hit the market.

    Just as you said, the same is true for the Odyssey. Obviously, it isn't a competitive disadvantage, since the demand is so high. Clearly, if Honda's 2 models and dealer installed options don't suit someone's tastes, another make will.

    For us, Honda had it right. The base LX model had a nice 3.5L V6, standard traction control, good passenger room in the 3rd row, good crash and rollover ratings, lap/shoulder seatbelts and headrests in all seating positions and switchable locking seatbelt retractors which make carseat installation relatively easy. While I've not needed the magic seat once, my wife finds it extremely convenient quite frequently. The LX also didn't stick us with frills we didn't want, like leather or power doors/hatches. Sure it would have been nice to have some things Odyssey didn't have, like side curtain airbags, stability control and run flat tires. Unfortunately, no competitor had all those for 2001, either.

    I don't expect anyone else to have the same priorities that we had, but Honda's one-size-fits-all apparently fits as many people as Honda can make vans.

    Now had the crash tests been completed when we purchased, and had the 3.8L engine you tout been available on a model without the other frills at a cost comparable to the Odyssey LX, then a GC/T&C would have been a strong possibility for us. Funny how Chrysler's many sizes didn't happen to fit all, either. To each their own.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Excellent writting hotspur, but I bet scanner scanned right on by or maybe his common sense got a crack in it and is leaking 2 tablespoons a minute. What the DC people need to do is carry a couple of 5 gal. cans of gas behind the 3rd seat and only put in about 4 tablespoons of gas in the tank at a time. Then if they get hit from behind and DC by chance didn't fix the rear latch than the gas cans would be ejected and that way no fire.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    In case you didn't read my post #354...I am curious too,hotspur...haven't you ever driven the 2001 DC vans? Or you are afraid we would take a picture of you in one :-) I just want your honest answer if you have driven one. What do you truely think of the van regardless of the history or the MSRP?
  • If the ody's interior is boring and plain than what is the dodge's.....exciting and vibrant? Puhleeasse, gimme a break, its plastic my man, both of them, I mean....plastic. How emotional can you get about it? You want leather to go with your plastic, fine, then spend the bucks to get it. If you have a Honda, take it to the aftermarket guy or wait for the 2002 EXL. It's only an extra days hassle for a decade of comfort.

    The one size fits all is not attractive to many customers? Once again, what is the wait time for an Odyssey these days? Oh thats right, they are just keeping supply low for some sort of conspiracy thingy.

    Especially not to those on a tight budget?
    Yeah, all these Ody owners just have tons of cash to throw around. Wrong, the LX is a great buy for a someone who's worried about the bottom line but still looking for a few comforts. If thats still too much than as I said before, the MPV offers more than a short-base Caravan for the same price and Kia is knocking at the door with a 10 year warranty.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Interesting to read the apologies for buying the "Magic Seat" minivan. As I have written many times, we would have purchased a Granite Green Odyssey LX-C and in fact ordered one on March 16, 1999. The 5 month waiting time was not possible and after looking again at the Grand Caravan, we both felt the features of the GC SE AND the nice price we paid outweighed the benefit of waiting 5 months.
    So far our 99 GC SE has provided us with exceptional comfort in 30,588 miles while getting an overall average of 23.6 MPG and having ZERO problems. We do NOT regret our purchase.
    I believe we would have been just as happy with the Odyssey we had ordered...and would have purchased if the waiting time had been more reasonable. Each van has unique advantages.
  • scannerscanner Posts: 295
    for proving my point several times over.



    What was that you were saying about Odyssey owners being a bunch of mindless drones? ;-)
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    dmathews3, a "firebomb" van? I think not. It is so very convienent for you Ody owners to take advantage of the crash test news and use to it slander the image of a perfectly safe family vehicle. You all act as if under no circumstances would an all-mighty Honda Odyssey develop a minor fuel leak, AFTER a crash at 40mph into a concrete wall. A fuel leak could develop in any automobile depending on the severity of the crash and many other incalculable variables. I'm sorry your experience with Chrysler breaks hasn't been a good one, but I have experienced just the opposite in both of my DC minivans.

    You think deep down I know my 00 T&C will "BREAK"? It's insulting that Ody owners, many of which have under 30k miles (at most) on their vans, are telling me I think my DC van is going to "BREAK." We have driven over 110k trouble-free miles with both our 98 GC SE and 00 T&C LX combined. Throughout that time period of 110k miles, these vehicles have hauled our family of 6 through desserts, over moutains, and through city traffic without ANY trouble. Can any Honda Ody owner here (99-01 model years) say the same? I didn't think so.

    Now back to the Ody dash and interior. As I've said before, sit in a 01 Ody EX and then a 01 DGC ES and tell me which you find more attractive. It won't be that hard, really. Hutspur, stop quoting these magazines and online publications and make up your own mind about the interior of these two cars. You have still not answered the question, "have you ever driven or riden in a 01-02 DC minivan?" You boast about how many reviewers have given praise to the Ody without keeping in mind I could do just the same for DC minivans.

    Yes, Chrysler does offer more options, models, and packages in their minivan line-up. Do not deny that this is more benefitial to the consumer than a car like the Ody, with only two models and one engine size to choose from. For someone that is on a tight budget and doesn't do much hauling or towing, a 4cyl Caravan/Grand Caravan SE will do the job just fine and can be bought at an excellent price (much lower than the Odys).

    Masshoosier, while both vans indeed do use plastics in their interiors...some plastics are obviously better than others. I've sat and riden inside an Ody before and find do find the dash boaring and unappealing...especially compared to my 00 T&C's. How emotional can you get? It all depends, but I certainly wouldn't expect to see someone getting emotional over a dash like the Ody's.

    While the Ody LX is nicely priced and has many usefull standard features, so does a Chrysler Voyager or Caravan/Grand Caravan SE. In fact, these vans might even come with more features than the Ody LX, despite them being so low on the model-chain. Yes, you can get a Ody LX for a nice price, but you could get many DC vans (Voyager, DC SE) for a much lower price without sacrificing any major features.

    -Adam (16/M/CA)
  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    You drove thru desserts? What kind? Baked Alaska. Maybe a DQ Blizzard?

    Why do people place such importance on leather? Did we really suffer that bad on vinyl as kids. Really now, aren't the kids just going to tear it up too?

    Personally, I want all vinyl, rubber, and plastic so I can just hose the damn thing out. That would be an outstanding selling point for many of us with kids. Forget magic seats, nine cup holders, ten
    speakers, video entertainment centers, and triple zone a/c give me the ability to hose out the van.

    BTW I found the Dodge interior tacky too. No, I did not find it to be a superior driving vehicle. With Caravan's history for reliability and many friends tranny woes and my needs the Odyssey was the better choice for my situation.
  • hotspurhotspur Posts: 34
    The vinyl interiors on my BMW 2002 and 530i looked as good at 90,000 miles as when new. A Mercedes-Benz diesel with MB-Tex interior (that's vinyl) will look good as new at 300,000 miles. And no cows have to be killed to install it.

    Strange how we've come to view leather as "luxurious." On the M-B 560SEC in the late 1980s, leather was standard and cloth was an option for those that wanted luxury. I guess leather appeals to those who like plastic made-to-look- (badly, at that) like wood. They must feel more important sitting on leather "seating surfaces."
  • a Caravan? You can't fit nothing in a caravan compared to the Ody. The Grand Caravan perhaps. Don't say a Caravan compares cause it doesn't, They are way too small. Have three kids first then talk to us about the sacrifices between the low model caravan and the Odyssey. A whole different ballgame.
  • DTKWOKDTKWOK Posts: 131
    Well, to all you DC van owners, congratulations on getting a van with an exciting interior. I suppose to each their own, but even something as exciting as say a BMW, MB E-class, or even a Honda Insight's interior will eventually wear out in a couple of years (if not sooner). Remember that commercial where the guy is standing outside in the rain admiring {intensly} his Kia (or Hyundai)? C'mon how long that will last for any car (save an exotic one)? I suppose us "plain Ody folks" look for excitement somewhere else in life. ;) j/k
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    Hotspur keeps boasting about how many possitive reviews the Ody has been given over the last few years as if the same cannot be said for DC minivans. In fact, this is not true and I think in this post I will successfully prove my point.

    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? 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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