The Dodge Grand Caravan is an obvious choice for large families. This roomy vehicle provides plenty of space to store all of your children’s school supplies or sports equipment. If you’re planning a road trip, the minivan can fit all of your luggage thanks to the 143-cubic-feet of cargo space (on the 2016 model).
However, does the nameplate become less practical when these children have grown up and started college? Christine Breen doesn’t seem to think so. With one child already in college and another headed there soon, she’s thought long and hard about whether she should continue pursuing the nameplate when it’s time to purchase a new ride.
Breen’s established that she appreciates the minivan for much more than its roominess and family-friendly attributes. She would certainly be the one to know, too. After having totaled her original Grand Caravan, Breen replaced it with a newer 2012 version. In fact, immediately following her accident, she made a call to her dealership and asked the business to hold a particular minivan. Breen had them keep it out back for a month as they waited for her insurance check to clear. There was no way Christine was going to be denied her preferred vehicle.
Breen is certainly a fan of the nameplate, and there’s no denying that this driver knows what’s see talking about when it comes to this particular vehicle. So what keeps her going back to the Grand Caravan? Let’s find out…
Christine understood that owning a minivan meant that she’d be the one called upon to transport her children and all of their friends. With room for up to seven passengers (and still enough leftover space to store their accompanying cargo), Breen got used to her Grand Caravan essentially being a bus.
“Anytime someone in the family needs to go somewhere with more than four people, you know who they’re asking first,” she explained. “I like that it has enough space to take seven people somewhere, or if I’m moving my kids in and out of college I can fit all their crap.”
The class-exclusive Stow ‘n Go seating and storage system has also come in handy for the family. During their frequent trips to Vermont, Breen has found that she’s hiding her third row in favor of improved cargo space.
“I like that the back Stow ‘n Go is really easy to use,” she remarked. “I can put the seats in by myself, I can get them up by myself. I didn’t think it’d be that simple, actually.”
Of course, even with the second- and third-row seats in their proper position, the Grand Caravan has still proven that it can deliver plenty of space to work with.
“We’ve used it to haul a lot of stuff,” she said. “When we go down to the Cape, we pretty much fill it to the ceiling.”
During those three-plus hour drives to Vermont and the Cape, Breen is looking to get to her destination as soon as possible. Thankfully, the Grand Caravan’s engines provide enough power to keep her cruising down the highway.
“It’s got pretty good pickup,” she said. “I’ve never had a problem pulling out somewhere or merging onto the highway. I can go 80 on the highway to Vermont, which I wasn’t really expecting from a minivan. It holds its own, especially for a big vehicle.”
The 2012 model offered plenty of power via the 3.6-liter V6 engine, which could deliver 283 horsepower and 260 pounds-feet of torque. Those specs are still featured in the 2016 model’s V6 engine, and the inclusion of the Variable Valve Timing has resulted in an incredible 25 mile per gallon highway fuel efficiency.
Breen also enjoys the height of the vehicle, which stands at 67.9-inches. The vantage point is certainly different than your standard sedan, and many drivers view this as a unique advantage.
“I like that I’m a little bit higher than a car,” she said. “It doesn’t drive like a bigger van, though. It feels like I’m driving a smaller car, and I don’t feel like I’m driving something so huge that I can’t fit in the parking spots.”
Having previously been in an accident, Christine also appreciates the vehicle’s diagnostic alerts. The system will notify the driver of any underlying issues with their vehicle, whether it be mechanical or something else.
“I like that it has the alert that tells you when you have low tires,” she said. “It’s a wonderful feature. Instead of having to visit a mechanic and pay money to check the pressure, the van does it for me. Then I can just have my husband fill them back up.”
Finally, among the more obscure features, Breen is a particular fan of the automatic door opener. This makes loading and unloading all of her supplies an absolute breeze.
“I use the automatic door opener a lot,” she explained. “Teaching preschool, I carry a billion things in and out of work with me on a daily basis. Being able to hit the button from afar and have the doors already open when I get there, it’s really kind of nice.”
Breen clearly has a soft spot for the minivan. After all, she has owned two different versions of the nameplate. However, with her kids getting older, is she going to pursue the Grand Caravan the next time she’s shopping for a vehicle?
“Oh, you can bet on it,” she explained. “I like having all the storage features and being able to go someplace with more than four people. Even if I didn’t go with the Grand Caravan, I would probably still go with some sort of an SUV or a minivan even when the kids are grown.”
Wait, so despite having owned a Dodge Grand Caravan for more than a decade, would Breen really be willing to move on to a different nameplate?
“I probably will end up in the same van,” she laughed. “Never say never, but I had the same mindset last time I was shopping for cars. If I want a minivan, I’m not going to suddenly find a better option. The Grand Caravan is really the only option, in my opinion.”