2013 Dodge Grand Caravan

2013 Dodge Grand Caravan Crew Review

Spending a week behind the dual power-sliding doors.

By: Tim Healey

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: July 15th, 2013

Minivans continue to exist despite the overwhelming popularity of crossover SUVs for several reasons: they continue to provide plenty of utility, they sometimes deliver better MPGs than the SUVs do, and as long Americans shun true wagons, minivans will always have value. Not just for families, but for those who use their vehicles for work.

Enter the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan Crew, which is a bit too dressy to be a work vehicle (despite its name) but not quite sporty enough to be the hot-rod van of the family. It basically tacks some goodies onto the volume-selling SXT trim.

Our "work crew" didn't need to load the van with people, pets, or cargo, but that didn't stop us from taking a spin.

  • On the Road

    Acceleration is the most surprising thing about the Grand Caravan Crew, thanks to the 283-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 under hood. Tromp the gas and the front tires will spin with an alert chirp before the Crew scoots off. Be the first one to get your kid out of the prison otherwise known as school with this van. Carpool-lane bragging rights are all yours.

    The sportiness doesn't completely end when faced with the kind of road best suited for sports cars. Dodge imbued the Crew with steering that actually has feel and a pleasant heft, and while body roll exists (how could it not in a van?), the Crew holds the road better than we'd expect, without mushiness. It's still a van, and it reaches its limits quicker than we'd like, but even if it's not a hot-rod in van clothing, it's competent.

  • Interior

    Dodge wins points for functionality, and roominess is never in question, but we didn't get a sense of luxury from the materials. Too bad, since the Crew doesn't lack for equipment: heated seats, infotainment, satellite radio, blind-spot monitoring, nav system, USB, rear-cross path detection, Bluetooth, parking assist ... all the goodies are here.

    Ease of use trumps luxury here, everything is functional - just not glamorous.

  • Exterior

    The GC's look is familiar to the point of extreme by this point. If one were to present the motoring masses (non-enthusiast division) with doctored photos of all minivans in this class sans badging, the Grand Caravan would undoubtedly stand out over the others. That speaks well to Chrysler's ubiquitous presence in this class and evolutionary styling.

    That's the good news for Dodge and Chrysler. The bad? It's become kinda, well, boring. Not that any minivan is truly sexy, but Honda, Nissan, and Toyota get points for trying (Toyota's Sienna might be the best-looking of the bunch), while Dodge slaps on its traditional "cross hair" grille and hopes that's enough. For those for whom looks matter not, it's fine, and it ain't ugly. But style flair isn't the main selling point here.

  • Final Thoughts

    If you're buying a minivan, utility, comfort, convenience, and perhaps fuel economy, matter over performance and style. The Grand Caravan Crew scores well in all of those important categories (except fuel economy, at 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway) and adds just a dash of performance to go with it.

    We'll likely never love a minivan around these parts. But this one is more than likeable enough.

  • Specs, Features, Price

    Engine: 3.6-liter V-6

    Transmission: Six-speed automatic

    Drive Wheels: Front-wheel-drive

    Fuel Economy: 17 mpg city (automatic), 25 (manual)/33 mpg highway

    Base Price: $28,595

    As-tested Price: $32,480

    Available Features: Navigation, Bluetooth, USB, satellite radio, infotainment system, heated front seats, blind-spot monitoring, rear park assist, heated second row seats, heated steering wheel, power liftgate, cross-path detection.

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