1997 Dodge Grand Caravan

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Key specs

Base trim shown


Body style


Seating capacity

199.7” x 68.7”


Front-wheel drive



7 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best Minivans for 2024

1997 Dodge Grand Caravan review: Our expert's take

Chrysler Corp.’s 1997 Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan are Chrysler’s grand examples of a grand minivan.

The Caravan, which debuted in 1984, gave impetus to what has become one of the most important segments of the automotive market. Dodge keeps the momentum going by offering a long wheelbase Sport version and new features such as all-wheel drive and front- wheel disc brakes.

The 1997 Sport package includes monochromatic paint, 16-inch cast aluminum wheels and tires, a 3.3-liter (201.5-cubic-inch) V-6, four-speed automatic transmission, touring/handling package, body-color luggage rack, sunscreen and solar glass, and fog lamps.

Dodge has a little of everything for everybody with its ’97 Caravan. The most popular version is the front-wheel drive that is available in standard, SE or LE form. For those who have a desire to drive all four wheels, there is the Grand Caravan in SE, LE and ES trim.

AWD is a new feature for Dodge this year and includes four-wheel disc brakes. However, there is a bit of a premium associated with this system, with the manufacturer’s retail suggested price just under $2,300, depending upon the equipment level.

Chrysler says its AWD system is the only one of its kind available on a front-wheel- drive-based minivan.

The heart of the system is based on an inter-axle viscous coupling that splits the engine’s driving torque between the front and rear wheels, depending on where traction is needed most. During normal driving, up to 90 percent of the engine’s torque is directed to the front wheels. When the front wheels begin to slip, the coupling automatically transfers the needed amount of torque to the rear wheels.

Additionally, an overrunning clutch allows the braking system to control the vehicle as a front-wheel drive. This prevents front-wheel brake torque to affect the rear wheels.

I’ve long been of the opinion that Mother Nature designed the horse so that it pulled the wagon with all four feet and that man in all his wisdom should drive the vehicle with all four wheels. It offers superior road stability and safety under all conditions.

The ’97 Caravans offer a plethora of engine choices, including a new 3.0-liter (181.4-cubic-inch) 12- valve single overhead cam V-6. By virtue of its overhead cam valve train, this motor produces almost as much power as the larger 3.3-liter V-6.

The 3.0-liter is rated at 150-horsepower versus 158 for the 3.3. There is a considerable differential in torque, however: 176 foot-pounds for the 3.0 compared to 203 foot-pounds for the 3.3.

If you’re going to a four-wheel drive Grand Caravan, the bigger still 3.8-liter (230.5 cubic-inch) V-6 is the package that gets the job done. The 3.8 has a 12-valve rocker arm/push rod valve train that has been around forever, and it puts out 166-horsepower and 227 foot-pounds of torque.

It takes a little more power to drive those back wheels, hence the 3.8 offers a broader range of pulling power.

It is rather obvious that you have more r oom and cargo carrying capacity with 119.3 inches of wheelbase and 199.6 inches of overall length than you do with 113.3 inches of wheelbase and 186.3 inches of overall length.

For one, you can carry seven people in the long wheelbase Grand Caravan versus five in the standard model. The seating arrangement is 2/2/3 as against just 2/3 for the short wheelbase mini.

That 13.3-inch differential also accounts for a maximum 168.5 cubic feet of cargo volume compared with 142.9 cubic feet.

The van market today is tailored to have the vehicle drive and ride like a car, and the Caravan’s styling and appointments are reminiscent of a fine sedan.

There is a larger glass-to-body ratio, with 32 percent more glass than the previous generation minivans. Hidden sliding-door tracks enhance ease of operation, entrance and exit. Seats are properly positioned to ensure that passengers are located acomfortable distance from the floor. Chrysler claims the Caravans provide best-in-class hea d, should er and leg room.

Buyers have a broad range of price options that run from $17,315 to $25,805 for a Caravan to $18,580 to $29,600 for a Grand Caravan. The line is the broadest minivan product offering ever presented by Dodge.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.5
  • Interior 4.0
  • Performance 4.8
  • Value 4.9
  • Exterior 3.8
  • Reliability 4.8

Most recent consumer reviews


Car handles great in all conditions!!

This vehicle has a great amount of room for all the gear. Third row seat means I can haul 7 passengers easily and add the ski rack on top and you are set to hit the slopes with friends or family!


Fan of my Dodge Caravan used to buy only GM

Got the 1997 GRAND CARAVAN used from family member.I always had GM previously.My. only previously favorite carmaker had constant repairs after so many years of use. I just got used to it. I bought 1 of them brand new within 6 months I had huge rust spots around windows.Dealership kept repairing. Every 2 years like clockwork had to have new muffler system.Fuel pumps starters.I really do feel very badly about negativity of another car maker but its so true.Like I said I just thought that was what it meant to own a car. My Grand Caravan didn't give me ANY problems. Certainly bought new tires and oil changes, definatly a different world than owning ( my previously beloved GM's ) My caravan is for sale now its 16 yrs old.If I wasn't replacing it with another Grand Caravan I would of hated to sell it.


best car i ever owned

i bought my van with 225k om it when i got read of it it had 257k i still regret selling it it was the most reliable car i ever owned

See all 6 consumer reviews


Based on the 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan base trim.
Frontal driver
Frontal passenger


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Dodge CPO Go
New car program benefits
36 months/36,000 miles
60 months/100,000 miles
36 months/36,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
6-10 MY and/or 75,001-120,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
3 Month 3,000 mile Max Care Warranty
Dealer certification required
125 point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

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