DaimlerChrysler's front-wheel-drive minivans were redesigned for 2005 and looked similar to their predecessors, but they differed inside. More than 15 new features debuted, led by the Stow 'n Go fold-flat-into-the-floor configuration for the second- and third-row seats. The seats can be folded down with one hand.
Dodge's Grand Caravan rides a 119.3-inch wheelbase. Stow 'n Go seating is standard in the SXT model and optional in the SE. Dodge Caravans, which are built on a shorter wheelbase, cannot have Stow 'n Go seating. Two new shades of blue — Modern Blue Pearl Coat and Marine Blue Pearl Coat — are new for 2007 Grand Caravans, and Cargo Van models have standard glass windows in the sliding side doors.
Dodge's familiar crosshair grille sits up front in a U-shaped design, and the front end has a molded-in license plate pocket. Fog lamps are optional. Aluminum wheels hold 16-inch tires on the SXT, while the SE rolls on 15-inch steel wheels.
All Grand Caravans seat seven occupants. The third row features a 60/40-split bench that can be folded partially or completely, depending on the model.
With Stow 'n Go seating, the head restraints don't need to be removed in order to fold down the seats. When the second-row seats are upright, two storage bins with integrated lids can provide additional storage space in the floor. Standard cargo net bags adjust to fit each storage bin. Split-bench tailgate seating is made possible by flipping the third-row seat rearward.
The second-row seats move fore and aft 100 millimeters, recline up to 40 degrees and have 13 positions. The third-row seatbacks recline up to 39 degrees. By pulling a single strap, the second-row seat tumbles out of the way for entry to the third row.
Three adjustable, removable bins fit into an overhead rail system, and one can hold an optional DVD entertainment system's screen. With all seats stowed, the minivan can hold 160.7 cubic feet of cargo.
Under the Hood
A 170-horsepower, 3.3-liter V-6 is installed in the SE, and the SXT gets a 3.8-liter V-6 that generates 200 hp and 235 pounds-feet of torque. Both minivans are equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission.
Antilock brakes are standard. Optional side curtain airbags protect occupants in all three rows of seats. An inflatable knee blocker helps protect the driver, and ParkSense rear parking assist is optional.
Dodge and Chrysler minivans have set the minivan standard in ride comfort and driving ease for years. Despite recent new competition, these models still serve as benchmarks. Performance is energetic at low speeds with either engine, though high-speed acceleration is less vigorous. In addition to steering with a light touch, Grand Caravans excel in seat comfort, quietness and overall stability, though their reputation for construction quality has been less assured.
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