The 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan scores with its capable V6, Stow'n'Go seats, and strong value proposition. But it's dated and lags behind competitors, offering poor safety features, cheap interior materials, and disappointing ride quality.

Best Value

The 2018 Grand Caravan models range in price from $27,345 for a base SE to over $36,000 for a fully-optioned, range-topping SXT. All are front-wheel drive and equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 paired with a six-speed automatic. On the safety front, a rearview camera is standard, but advanced features like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane departure warning are unavailable.

With an eye towards the Grand Caravan's value proposition, we'd choose the base SE model that offers the usual power features as well as keyless entry, front and rear air conditioning, third row Stow'n'Go seating, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, and heated outside mirrors. Keeping things simple, we'd only add second row folding seats and an upgrade to the infotainment system that includes Bluetooth connectivity.

Here's how we'd build it

  • Model: 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan SE
  • Engine: 3.6-liter V6
  • Output: 283 horsepower / 260 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • MPG: 17 City / 25 Hwy
  • Options: Uconnect Hands-Free Group ($690, Bluetooth, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, auto-dimming rearview mirror with microphone, remote USB port, steering wheel audio controls), Second-Row Buckets with Fold-in-Floor Seats ($995)
  • Base Price:$27,345 (including a $1,095 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$29,030

Performance

Dodge Grand Caravan

The Grand Caravan's V6 offers crisp acceleration and pairs nicely with FCA's quick-shifting, six-speed automatic. The engine is quiet and, even over rough surfaces, exterior sound levels are fairly muted.

But the highlight reel ends there as the outdated chassis allows torque steer to rear its ugly head – the front-wheel-drive layout is easily overpowered by the V-6's abundant power – while the suspension, tuned for control, produces a buckboard-like ride that transmits even the slightest road imperfections to interior trim panels.

Style

A boxlike exterior surrounds a roomy interior with plenty of storage options, decent visibility, and front seats with great adjustment options. In addition to the requisite fold-into-the-floor third row, the Grand Caravan's available Stow'n'Go middle row (standard on SXT) performs the same magic – eliminating the need to haul seats out for more space, while providing additional under floor storage when the seats are being used.

At the same time, the Grand Caravan's dull, outdated exterior has been eclipsed by competitors that include the Chrysler's own Pacifica, while the interior – trimmed with soft-touch surfaces on top of doors and the dash – cedes every other surface to cheap-looking hard plastics.

The Best and Worst Things

Minivan versatility at this price point makes the Grand Caravan an intriguing value proposition, but that means putting up with outdated styling, a budget-grade interior, and a buckboard-like ride.

Right For? Wrong For?

Dodge Grand Caravan

The Grand Caravan's combination of price and features should appeal to value-conscious family buyers.

A boxy exterior and cheap, dour interior will have style conscious buyers taking a pass.

The Bottom Line

Despite its strong V6 power, versatile Stow'n'Go seats, and value proposition, the Grand Caravan's dated looks, low-rent interior, and poor ride quality keep it from being a true contender in its class. Leave this one as a last resort at the rental car desk.