Dodge is promoting the Caravan's price as this year's most attractive feature. With a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $18,330 (not including the $665 destination charge), the four-cylinder Caravan SE is billed as the lowest-priced minivan on the market. Dodge also offers a Caravan SXT that's equipped with a 3.3-liter V-6, as well as a Cargo Van model.
Built on an all-new platform like the Grand Caravan, the regular Caravan comes on a shorter, 113.3-inch wheelbase. Developers claim the 2005 minivans are 16 percent quieter than their predecessors.
DaimlerChrysler introduced its 2005 models in January 2004 at the North American International Auto Show. Sales began in early 2004. The Chrysler Town & Country minivans are similar to Dodge's models but have more upscale interior appointments. Chrysler "invented" the minivan segment more than 20 years ago and has sold more than 10 million of them.
The styling of the 2005 Caravan is similar to the 2004 model. Dodge's familiar crosshair grille sits up front and has a U-shaped design with black bars. The minivan's grille is similar to the one on the new Dodge Magnum wagon. A new front fascia contains a molded license plate pocket and new fog lamps. Bodyside moldings are also new. Restyled aluminum wheels hold 16-inch tires on SXT minivans, while SE models roll on 15-inch steel wheels with fresh wheel covers. Power operation for the passenger-side sliding door is optional.
All regular Caravan minivans seat seven occupants. Super High Density Foam, developed by NASA for the space program, is used in the minivan's seats.
Caravan SXT features include dual-zone air conditioning, a rear defroster system and a tilt steering column. In addition, heated power mirrors, sunscreen glass, power door locks and keyless illuminated entry are standard on the SXT. For entertainment, the SE contains an AM/FM stereo with a CD player, and the SXT has a cassette/CD unit. Power-adjustable pedals and integrated child-safety seats are optional.
Cargo volume behind the rear seat is 15.3 cubic feet. With all seats removed, the Caravan holds 146.7 cubic feet of cargo.
Under the Hood
A 150-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder goes into the SE, while the SXT gets a 3.3-liter V-6 that develops 180 hp. Both minivans have a four-speed-automatic transmission.
Antilock brakes are optional for the SXT. Side curtain-type airbags are optional in the SE and SXT. An inflatable knee blocker helps protect the driver. Multistage front airbags, a BeltAlert reminder and a new sliding-door alert system for 2005 have been installed.
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