Making to jump to a minivan? Dodge Grand Caravan

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1,230
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Greenville, SC via Chicago, IL
Thread starter
We just found out our family will be growing, yet again. With 2 kids and one on the way, my Elantra isn't going to work. I found a 2018, 1 owner, Dodge Grand Caravan SXT w/ 42k miles. New tires and in almost new condiiton. It has the Pentstar v6, which is why I'm drawn to it. Leather, power everything/lift gate, stow-and-go seating, backup camera, etc. It stickered for 33k, and I can get it for 14.5k OTD. It would be the nicest vehicle we've owned, and it's priced where I won't be upset when my kids thrash it over the 10+ years we own it. I understand this platform is old, and has been around for years and is considered "outdated" to it's rivals. It's also $10k less at minimum than it's rivals (Pacifica, Sienna, Oddssey). Both of these facts make it appealing. Thoughts on this vehicle, platform, powertrain, etc.
 
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12,885
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
Since the new Chrysler Pacifica has been on the market, they've also kept the Dodge Grand Caravan which is still around and being sold NEW. Before you take the plunge on a pre owned Caravan(still a good choice IMO), you might want to consider buying a BRAND NEW Caravan with a "possibly" HUGE Discount on the hood and getting the full warranty along with the vehicle. I mean, the new one may not be the SXT or the leather lined interior but, it's brand new. I read in many publication that, Dodge is practically giving them away brand new. Now, I don't know exactly what that(giving away) means but, it's worth looking into. I have heard this commented on: AlexOnAutos, Consumer Reports, Motormouthcanada and Everymandriver(all Youtube videos). So, this is saying something, to look into it. EDIT: And because most car dealerships aren't selling anything due to this pandemic, when they do fire up sales again, the discounts may be even greater. IDK!
 
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1,664
Location
Prospect, KY
They drive pretty good and get good fuel economy for what they are. We have one for a work vehicle and I can get 29-30 mpg on relatively flat roads cruising 80-85. Plenty of power for driveability too. I have wanted one but the known reliability issues with transmissions and AC going out makes me hesitant to do so. Everyone I know that has one has replaced both before hitting 100k miles. If it's cheap enough to make these repairs acceptable then I would go for it and hope it happens at a relatively convenient time and place. We would travel alot with it and might be in the middle of nowhere when it happens.
 
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1,230
Location
Greenville, SC via Chicago, IL
Thread starter
Originally Posted by Char Baby
Since the new Chrysler Pacifica has been on the market, they've also kept the Dodge Caravan which is still around and being sold NEW. Before you take the plunge on a pre owned Caravan(still a good choice IMO), you might want to consider buying a BRAND NEW Caravan with a "possibly" HUGE Discount on the hood and getting the full warranty along with the vehicle. I mean, the new one may not be the SXT or the leather lined interior but, it's brand new. I read in many publication that, Dodge is practically giving them away brand new. Now, I don't know exactly what that(giving away) means but, it's worth looking into.
Base models new will cost 18k+ and are really stripped down.
 
Messages
12,885
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
Well, at least you've looked into it, well done! smile Have you tried negotiating with a sales rep on a more expensive trim? I try to put the sales rep in the headlock(so to speak) and drive down the price even further. Best of luck in your purchase. CB
 
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983
Location
SE PA
Originally Posted by spk2000
They drive pretty good and get good fuel economy for what they are. We have one for a work vehicle and I can get 29-30 mpg on relatively flat roads cruising 80-85. Plenty of power for driveability too. I have wanted one but the known reliability issues with transmissions and AC going out makes me hesitant to do so. Everyone I know that has one has replaced both before hitting 100k miles. If it's cheap enough to make these repairs acceptable then I would go for it and hope it happens at a relatively convenient time and place. We would travel alot with it and might be in the middle of nowhere when it happens.
I haven't heard about problems with AC or transmission (not saying that isn't true) but good to know because Grand Caravan has been on my list for a while. I know 2010-2013/14 had issues with cylinder heads but other than that I though they are solid.
 
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Messages
1,230
Location
Greenville, SC via Chicago, IL
Thread starter
Originally Posted by diyjake
Originally Posted by spk2000
They drive pretty good and get good fuel economy for what they are. We have one for a work vehicle and I can get 29-30 mpg on relatively flat roads cruising 80-85. Plenty of power for driveability too. I have wanted one but the known reliability issues with transmissions and AC going out makes me hesitant to do so. Everyone I know that has one has replaced both before hitting 100k miles. If it's cheap enough to make these repairs acceptable then I would go for it and hope it happens at a relatively convenient time and place. We would travel alot with it and might be in the middle of nowhere when it happens.
I haven't heard about problems with AC or transmission (not saying that isn't true) but good to know because Grand Caravan has been on my list for a while. I know 2010-2013/14 had issues with cylinder heads but other than that I though they are solid.
I have not heard of this issue either. I'm going to look into it asap
 
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7,937
Location
Champlain/Hudson Valley
Join a Dodge/Chrysler board and seek trannie and AC info. Is van available privately or through a dealership? Our neighbor has a 2015 (T&C) and its transmission died 300 miles from home. He still had some warranty left, thank heavens. You always want to heat up a transmission during test drives. This time of year might not be the most favorable time. Is the Pentastar the 3.6l V6? Without knowing anything I'd lean towards buying it because the vehicle impresses you and fixing a transmission isn't the end of the world. See where you can have it thoroughly inspected before you buy. Ask 'em if they CAN inspect a transmission.
 
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4,634
Location
Suburban Washington DC
Originally Posted by dja4260
We just found out our family will be growing, yet again.
Due to the shelter in place orders? You had nothing else to do? crackmeup Maybe look into station wagons with 3rd row seats before a minivan.
 
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4,108
Location
IL/GA ,USA
Good for you OP. For first, it will save you and wifey some back pains. Also, kids + toys + multiple space rows/areas could mean less bikering. I would PM TheCritic, Trav, Overkill (he's pretty close to the factory), StevieC (he's not here anymore, but he has a Limited all options one). I would say for now, even with the trans possible problems, it should be OK. Instead of desiring 10+years, wish for 5 and 50k miles. Another would be go on cars, copart, autotrader, local cragslist and check the similar vans for sale how they look at mileage longer than 150k miles. if VIN present in the ad, check carfax/autocheck say trans replaced But for now, I would say for the next 20k-40k miles, you need to worry about motor oil, maybe drain-and-fill ATF fluid, brakes and tires. And seat protectors. And enough power for 3 tablets. And good hearing protection.
 
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4,108
Location
IL/GA ,USA
Originally Posted by atikovi
Originally Posted by dja4260
We just found out our family will be growing, yet again.
Due to the shelter in place orders? You had nothing else to do? crackmeup Maybe look into station wagons with 3rd row seats before a minivan.
Aren't minivans a station wagon with rounded lines with 3 rows of seats that actually can accommodate adults?
 
Messages
4,108
Location
IL/GA ,USA
Originally Posted by Kira
Join a Dodge/Chrysler board and seek trannie and AC info. Is van available privately or through a dealership? Our neighbor has a 2015 (T&C) and its transmission died 300 miles from home. He still had some warranty left, thank heavens. You always want to heat up a transmission during test drives. This time of year might not be the most favorable time. Is the Pentastar the 3.6l V6? Without knowing anything I'd lean towards buying it because the vehicle impresses you and fixing a transmission isn't the end of the world. See where you can have it thoroughly inspected before you buy. Ask 'em if they CAN inspect a transmission.
With the power put down by this engine, should not be a problem to check/heat the trans. But very good idea: OP, chekc couple transmission shops in the area for some socially-distant coffee talk...
 

JC1

Messages
4,731
Location
Oshawa, Ontario Canada
There are no major issues with the tranny or AC. My 2015 has Front AC only. I wanted it that way since rear AC units can fail over time regardless of which vehicle they are on. When you service the tranny make sure they only use ATF+4. One of the issues with Caravan's years ago was people were using the wrong fluid. The only issues I've had with my 2015 Grand Caravan is a bad gas cap and the actuator on the passenger side dash vents gets stuck after winter and blows hot air. It can be fixed by getting under the dash and hitting the actuator with a screw driver or pair of pliers a few times to loosen up the gears and get it to move into the cold position. 2020 is the last year for the Grand Caravan, I believe they already stopped making them. You may be able to get a deal on new one with zero percent financing. That's what I did back in 2015. I bought mine in August.
 
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3,276
Location
Northern Ontario, Canada
I work at a Dodge store. It's about as bullet proof a platform you can buy. Since is is just over basic warranty, make sure all the features and options work. Same as for as for other vehicle.
 
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4,634
Location
Suburban Washington DC
Originally Posted by pandus13
Originally Posted by atikovi
Originally Posted by dja4260
We just found out our family will be growing, yet again.
Due to the shelter in place orders? You had nothing else to do? crackmeup Maybe look into station wagons with 3rd row seats before a minivan.
Aren't minivans a station wagon with rounded lines with 3 rows of seats that actually can accommodate adults?
Station wagons accommodate adults just fine. If you view driving as just a necessary chore left to a mundane appliance, by all means, get a minivan. Personally, I would prefer something a bit more exciting like maybe, [Linked Image from cnet3.cbsistatic.com] or [Linked Image from media-service.audiusa.com]
 
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4,108
Location
IL/GA ,USA
re atikovi: The OP used to drive some GT stick-shift models. Right now he is into family life. What you posted does not have 3 rows... Beside the older Volvos with the jump seat. And I don't think there are a lot of Wagon models that the back seats could accommodate 2 kids + 1 bucket baby-seat on the same row. Source: I own a VW Golf Sportwagen (also tried the VW Golf AllTrack at the time) and a Mazda5 (mazda3 with a mini-minivan body. 3 rows, with last row for kids). I think the sportiest value for the money at the time in US for 2adults+2kids is the Buick Regal TourX (german Opel Estate?). Audi, Merc, BMW, Jaguar are in the $40k+ range...
 
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