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gm4life

Quick Drive 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SE

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2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SE G Package

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The Story...

Last Saturday I spent a day in 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SE G Package with the base 3.3L 175hp Flex Fuel V6 and four speed automatic. This van listed for $29,360.00 and was painted in Melbourne Green Pearl with 16 inch alloy wheels, it also had a full list of other toys which I will get into later. This van is my brothers used for his sales job, he trades every 1-2 years for something new. **Side note I will have option of getting it when he is done with it in a year and it has about 60,000 miles on it, and for the right price I would be tempted, provided the old Impala gets enough miles on it.**

The Toys...

First off let me say I am NOT a minivan lover by any means. With that said let’s get started, first off I really like the color it was different and looked sharp with the two tone interior. The sharp 16 inch alloy wheels helped "sport" things up some on the outside, and the manually shift-able four speed automatic was a nice thought in a van. The interior was well done and materials were not super soft nor did they feel cheap, it also had nice features such as 3 zone climate control, uconnect system, power rear windows, power sliding doors, power rear hatch along with the cool ignition key. The seats were comfortable and supportive in the front and in the second row bucket seats as well. The Stow n Go worked effectively and was easy to and fast to use, and the power sliding doors and hatch although a nice feature certainly aren't needed. The sound system sounded good, and climate controls had a nice feel along with all the other dash board switches. The cargo space is huge with both rows of rear seats folded into the floor, perfect for moving!

The Drive...

Driving the SE is yet another story, make no mistake this thing is not for drag racing but performance from the 3.3L 175hp OHV V6 is just adequate, another 20 or 25 hp would do wonders for it no doubt. The torque curve is pretty good and produces a more respectable 205lbft. and transmission response from the VLP four speed automatic is respectable and the manual shift feature is handy, but not super intuitive. The ride was smooth, not too “floatly” and making for a "nice" driving experience. The handling is pretty good for a van and gives decent communication. All in all it drove pretty good, but you have to keep the pedal down to get it moving and my brother does the same when he drives it. You also have to nail it good when you pass. Aside of needing another couple dozen ponies this van is a-okay in my book.

My Final Thought...

Overall I have warmed up to the Caravan, and actually find the interior and exterior styling to be pretty sharp. The performance is just okay, and ride and handling are just fine. The van has tons of neat features and drives nice, if I just knew it would be reliable, I would consider adding it to my stable when my brother is done with it. (If the price is right, and it would be... Trust me.) So am I surprised I actually like the new 5th generation CG? Not as much as you might think, I always liked the function of a van but never would consider one because they are so "dorky". With some moving in my future the value of having a vehicle like this appeals to me more and more, I just wish it could be GM. Then again it is about time I own another Dodge. :scratchchin:

Any thoughts, ideas or comment are always welcome!

Please someone tell me, I have lost my mind liking a Chrysler minivan?

Edited by gm4life
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i test drove a Routan (cousin) with a 4.0 and it was a nice drive, especially for a minivan. of course, it had more motor and that darned eurotuned suspension.

myself if i was in the van market i would look at the chryslers, but would probably get one of the many of the glut of practically new routans for really cheap. basically for the styling.

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i test drove a Routan (cousin) with a 4.0 and it was a nice drive, especially for a minivan. of course, it had more motor and that darned eurotuned suspension.

myself if i was in the van market i would look at the chryslers, but would probably get one of the many of the glut of practically new routans for really cheap. basically for the styling.

Glad to know I haven't lost it. I thought it was nice considering it was a van.

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Nice write-up.

I love minivans. I don't care what the trendy people think of them because I'm not shallow and I love the utility. Stow `n Go is the best feature to be invented for minivans since they themselves were invented. Always hated lugging the seats out.

The 3.3L...amazing they still make that. Our soon to be departed `90 Town and Country has that same motor. Great engine, still runs like a champ...just too bad the body was totaled by a Pathfinder. Too bad they didn't put the 6-speed in it to make better use of the power it has. The Routan gets a 6-speed to go with the 3.3 IIRC. If power is what you want the 4.0 6-speed is the fastest minivan out there. :P

As far as reliability goes. It's a mixed bag. Some people have great luck with them, some people have had problems with them since day one. If your brother hasn't had any real issues with it yet, it should be fine. They seem go through brakes pretty quickly (20k-25k miles).

Problem with the Routan is yes it has a bit better interior and yes it has a "sporty" (and I use that term lightly) suspension, but you can't get Stow `n Go and that would break the deal for me.

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Nice write-up.

I love minivans. I don't care what the trendy people think of them because I'm not shallow and I love the utility. Stow `n Go is the best feature to be invented for minivans since they themselves were invented. Always hated lugging the seats out.

The 3.3L...amazing they still make that. Our soon to be departed `90 Town and Country has that same motor. Great engine, still runs like a champ...just too bad the body was totaled by a Pathfinder. Too bad they didn't put the 6-speed in it to make better use of the power it has. The Routan gets a 6-speed to go with the 3.3 IIRC. If power is what you want the 4.0 6-speed is the fastest minivan out there. :P

As far as reliability goes. It's a mixed bag. Some people have great luck with them, some people have had problems with them since day one. If your brother hasn't had any real issues with it yet, it should be fine. They seem go through brakes pretty quickly (20k-25k miles).

Problem with the Routan is yes it has a bit better interior and yes it has a "sporty" (and I use that term lightly) suspension, but you can't get Stow `n Go and that would break the deal for me.

Hey thanks DF, it really was a nice van! He says he has good luck with it so far and the 3.3L seems to be a pretty good engine, even though it is pretty old. A 4.0L Routan is nice and is my favorite minivan but as you stated doesn't have stow n go and that is a deal breaker for many van buyers.

Edited by gm4life
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even though the routan does not get the stow n go, that's ok with me. one reason, the stowngo doesn't work all that well in the new vans compared to the old ones. there is not the same amount of room for the folding procedure to work. also, i see that breaking over time if used a lot. the routan has more comfortable second row seating in return and also still has the floor bins. I am willing to make that tradeoff for the nicer styling on the outside and more comfy second row seats.

its just that the van doesn't fit the VW image. CHrylser ought to change the design to the routan design and their sales would improve.

i think minivans need to evolve a bit to survive. crossovers are not adequate for serious utility. yet, minivans lack AWD and lack rakish styling and driver oriented interiors.

aa new age minivan should be able to still haul a sheet of plywood, but it should also not look lik a huge bus.

what's really needed is an evolution to crossover design so that it has serious cargo capacity, adds all wheel drive optionally, and is lower and more sleek.

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even though the routan does not get the stow n go, that's ok with me. one reason, the stowngo doesn't work all that well in the new vans compared to the old ones. there is not the same amount of room for the folding procedure to work. also, i see that breaking over time if used a lot. the routan has more comfortable second row seating in return and also still has the floor bins. I am willing to make that tradeoff for the nicer styling on the outside and more comfy second row seats.

its just that the van doesn't fit the VW image. CHrylser ought to change the design to the routan design and their sales would improve.

i think minivans need to evolve a bit to survive. crossovers are not adequate for serious utility. yet, minivans lack AWD and lack rakish styling and driver oriented interiors.

aa new age minivan should be able to still haul a sheet of plywood, but it should also not look lik a huge bus.

what's really needed is an evolution to crossover design so that it has serious cargo capacity, adds all wheel drive optionally, and is lower and more sleek.

I understand what you are saying, but the stow n go is a huge selling to point to alot of people. It is part of the reason I liked this van so much.

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Actually...that there are so many nicer crossovers available now kind of kills the Minivan thing for me. Owning three of them (Astrovan, Voyager, Safari Van) (thankfully one of them was totaled soon after we got it) was more than enough for me.

Sorry..and I don't personally like the Routan either...although in some ways it is a really decent product.

Nice write up though, gm4life...and glad you like the color. I do like the color!

Voyager had the 3.3L, and it wasn't a bad motor...

Chris

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Only 175HP?!

The 3.3L in my grandfather's old 2001 Caravan Sport had like 185hp.

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My sister bought one of these not too long ago unloaded her POStiac Grand Prix for it. Nice van, Stow n Go is freaking awesome.

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My sister bought one of these not too long ago unloaded her POStiac Grand Prix for it. Nice van, Stow n Go is freaking awesome.

I know it is a neat feature, and really liked it.

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Why my mom's T&C was totaled we got a Town and Country rental with Stow `n Go. That feature alone is worth buying the van for. Nothing compares to it.

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I understand what you are saying, but the stow n go is a huge selling to point to alot of people. It is part of the reason I liked this van so much.

true. but they should have refined the execution of it. the seats are thin and uncomfortable. i guess they figure the tykes in the car seats can't tell the diff.

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I checked out the Routan at a local VW dealer after reading this thread. regfootball, you are right, it does outclass the Honda and the Toyota by a pretty fair margin.

However, I still would like a crossever better I think. Although a Chrysler/Routan minivan would tow a small race car or a small camping trailer with ease I think.

Chris

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That it is.

What is nice is getting the middle row of seats out of a Minivan and putting kids in the back row.

Cooler can fit in front of the kids, they can use it as a table as they travel.

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here is the thing with sto no go. it should be power operated as an option. the mechanism as it is seems complex and ripe for breakage. I like the sliding thing in the lambdas better, even if they do not stow. and if you have stuff in the floor bins, you can't stow the seats anyways. most of the time if you have an infant seat latched in you won't want to take the time to unlatch it just to shove the seat in the floor.

so i do think its nice to have that option, and a class leading feature, i think they can refine it a bit. if they have the power third row it makes more sense to me to do a power second row as well also. ford has a power second row on many of its SUVs.

swivel and go is more debatable. nice idea but it really compromises comfort.

sto n go is great for the time you want to haul a couch....or have a an orgy in the back and need as much surface area as possible.

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That it is.

What is nice is getting the middle row of seats out of a Minivan and putting kids in the back row.

Cooler can fit in front of the kids, they can use it as a table as they travel.

Damn straight!

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....or have a an orgy in the back and need as much surface area as possible.

:roflmao:

I wouldn't want power Sto-n-Go to be honest, another automatic thing to break. Then again I am a tight wad. :2cents:

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here is the thing with sto no go. it should be power operated as an option. the mechanism as it is seems complex and ripe for breakage. I like the sliding thing in the lambdas better, even if they do not stow. and if you have stuff in the floor bins, you can't stow the seats anyways. most of the time if you have an infant seat latched in you won't want to take the time to unlatch it just to shove the seat in the floor.

so i do think its nice to have that option, and a class leading feature, i think they can refine it a bit. if they have the power third row it makes more sense to me to do a power second row as well also. ford has a power second row on many of its SUVs.

swivel and go is more debatable. nice idea but it really compromises comfort.

sto n go is great for the time you want to haul a couch....or have a an orgy in the back and need as much surface area as possible.

Nice!

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Why my mom's T&C was totaled we got a Town and Country rental with Stow `n Go. That feature alone is worth buying the van for. Nothing compares to it.

true. but they should have refined the execution of it. the seats are thin and uncomfortable. i guess they figure the tykes in the car seats can't tell the diff.

Definitely a selling point. When my wife worked at the GM dealership and saw the 2005 Grand Caravan on the lot that we now own, she had a couple of eyebrows raised when she said she wanted it. People said, "...but you work at a GM dealership?" Her reply was simple, "Well, if GM would make a van with Stow'N'Go, or a minivan at all, I'd consider it, too!"

We were also praised for finding one with the 3.3L instead of the 3.6L for reasons that revolved around reliability. The jury is out on the transmission, which many mechanics often joke is the first thing they think is wrong with a Caravan when they see one parked outside the shop. Isn't that just a comforting thought when you own one? My wife and I have discussed how nervous we get when we take the engine up in RPMs and drop down a couple of gears. It just doesn't sound smooth, almost as if something wants to rattle free. We chose to avoid any hard acceleration or passing, just for peace of mind.

As for the seats, we've taken a few 500+ mile trips with various people in the back and there have been no complaints about the seats so far. There is very little we could think of changing anything to do with the cargo area; except maybe adding a 120v outlet, but the power inverter we already own takes care of that through the supplied rear 12v power outlet.

It's pretty comforting knowing how little they've changed them in a few years. At least, it makes me happy to know there wasn't much worth changing... if it wasn't a cost-prohibitive issue for Dodge anyway.

Thanks for the writeup.

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