Minivan; Built in USA, Canada
  • 4-door van
  • 4-door van
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $2,400 – $6,000*


2001 Dodge Caravan ES


2002 Dodge Caravan Sport


2001 Dodge Caravan interior


2004 Dodge Grand Caravan


2004 Dodge Caravan

Pros:
  • All-wheel drive
  • Cargo room (Grand)
  • Entry/exit
  • Interior storage space
  • Passenger room
Cons:
  • Acceleration (4-cyl)
  • Fuel economy

Caravan’s hold on the minivan sales title can only be strengthened by the 2001 redesign, which added desirable innovations to a vehicle that’s hard to beat for refinement, utility, and carlike road manners. Don’t buy a minivan without checking out Dodge’s latest.

Overview

America’s perennial best-selling minivan was redesigned for 2001. Fresh styling, more power, and innovations such as a power rear liftgate highlighted the fourth-generation Caravan and extended-size Grand Caravan. Dodge again shared this minivan design with the Chrysler Town & Country and Voyager, which were similarly restyled for 2001.

Caravans came in regular and extended-length Grand models. Wheelbases were unchanged from the 1996-2000 versions, but the regular-length body was 3 inches longer and both measured about 2 inches wider.

Three models were offered: regular-length SE, Sport models in both lengths, and Grand Caravan ES. All seated seven, and had two sliding side doors.

Styling changes included wraparound taillamps and 50-percent larger headlights. Dashboards were revised, and the new center console (with internal power outlet) could be positioned between the front or second-row seats. All new was an available rear parcel shelf, with pop-up storage dividers that could be mounted at floor or midlevel positions.

Front side airbags were newly optional. Dashboard airbags gained dual-stage inflators and the front seat belts added pretensioners.

Front-wheel drive was standard, but all-wheel drive was available for Grand Caravans. A four-cylinder engine was standard in the SE, unchanged in power from the previous year. All other front-drive models got a standard 3.3-liter V6, with 180 horsepower–an increase of 22 hp. AWD minivans held a 3.8-liter V6, with 215 hp (an increase of 35 horsepower), which was optional for the front-drive ES.

Four-cylinder models used a three-speed automatic transmission, but V6 engines linked with a four-speed automatic. Both transmissions had a column-mounted gear lever, but the ES was available with Chrysler’s AutoStick feature. This adds a toggle in the column-shift lever, making it the only minivan with a separate control for manual gear changes.

Antilock brakes were optional for the SE, and standard on other models. Power operation for one or (on Grand models) both side doors was available. In a minivan exclusive shared with Voyager and Town & Country, the side doors could be closed or opened by hand even during the powered phase. The new power liftgate is another minivan first, optional on Grand Caravans. Controlled by the keyfob and interior switches, it has sensors designed to halt movement if the liftgate encounters an obstruction.

Unlike the Honda Odyssey and Mazda MPV, Caravan’s third-row seats do not fold into the floor. But Caravan offered a new 50/50-split third-row bench. Each portion weighed 55 pounds, could be removed individually, and could recline or be folded flat. A rear-seat video entertainment system and a navigation system were dealer-installed options.

Competitors included the Chevrolet Venture, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, and Ford Windstar.

Yearly Updates

2002 Caravan
Minivan occupants could now enjoy a DVD-based rear-seat video entertainment system, offered as a dealer-installed option. A VCR-based system also was available. This year’s Caravan lineup included a high-value eC, as well as SE and Sport models. Extended-length Grand Caravans came in SE, Sport and ES trim, along with high-value eL and eX models.
2003 Caravan
A power sunroof became optional for 2003 on America’s best-selling minivan, exclusive to the Grand Caravan ES. A power liftgate was standard on top-of-the-line Grand eX and ES models, and optional on other Grand Caravans. Power-adjustable pedals were scheduled to become optional during the 2003 model year, but the AutoStick transmission was no longer available.
2004 Caravan
An option packkge that celebrates 20 years of Caravans is made available for only the Grand Caravan SXT in ’04. It includes chrome alloy wheels, rear DVD entertainment, CD changer, leather upholstery, and unique badging.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine was standard in the regular-length Caravan SE and eC, mated to a three-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive Grand Caravans held a 215-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6, which was optional for the Grand ES. Other models in both sizes used a 3.3-liter V6, rated at 180 horsepower. Both V6 engines drove a four-speed automatic transmission.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/153
Engine HP 150
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 167
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
19/24
19/24
19/8
ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.3/202
Engine HP 180
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 210
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

18/24

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/231
Engine HP 215
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 245
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

17/23

17.1

Road Test

New convenience features account for the most obvious improvements in the 2001 redesign, leaving Caravan’s performance upgraded incrementally. That’s fine because this was already among the most capable minivans on the road.

Acceleration is good–with the right engine, that is. In a vehicle this heavy, the four-cylinder is acceptable only for light-duty, low-speed chores. The 3.3-liter V6 provides good power off-the-line and on the highway, in a regular-length model, but it feels overburdened in a Grand Caravan loaded for a family vacation. That’s makes the smooth, strong 3.8 the safest bet in Grands, where it supplies substantial muscle in all conditions.

It’s the smoothest of these engines as well. While all work nicely with the four-speed automatic, the AutoStick (available with the 3.8) furnishes a sporty dimension that’s absent in other minivans. Caravans (and Town & Country) are the few non truck-based minivans with the all-weather security of available AWD. In long-term testing, a 3.8 AWD Grand Caravan averaged 17.1 mpg. A four-cylinder SE returned 19.8 mpg.

Grand Caravans smooth out bumps better than the shorter-wheelbase models, but all Dodge minivans ride comfortably. Still, you’ll feel most pavement imperfections if the Sport Touring suspension is installed.

Steering is nicely weighted, and straight-ahead stability is admirable. Caravans with 15-inch tires are modest but predictable handlers, whereas the 16- and 17-inch setups provide noticeably more grip and sharper response in turns. Stopping power is adequate, but pedal feel and confidence improve with the four-wheel disc brakes on ES and AWD Grands.

Heavy crosswinds and 70-mph cruising elevate wind rush. Certain road surfaces bring out marked tire noise.

As before, Caravans are roomier and more user-friendly than most minivans. Low step-in height and wide doorways ease entry, and front-seat occupants enjoy plenty of head, leg, and shoulder room. All seats are comfortably padded, and Caravans still offer integrated middle-row child safety seats.

Grands have generous knee and foot clearance in the second- and third-row seats, making them spacious where regular-length versions can be cramped. The same goes for cargo space behind the third-row seat.

The split third-row seats are invitingly simple to fold and remove, but not quite as convenient as a foldaway design. Middle-row bucket seats tip forward, with little effort to provide access to the rear.

The ability to easily stop or speed up the power side door by hand is genuinely useful, as is the power liftgate. Both systems respond quickly to obstructions. Movable center consoles with interior lighting and power outlets are a nice innovation. The rear parcel shelf also is handy, though its pop-up dividers seem flimsy.

Rear headrests obstruct outward vision slightly. Caravan gauges are unobstructed. Controls are easy to decipher and close to the driver, but cupholders block the in-dash CD changer.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2002 Dodge Caravan SE 4-cyl

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 2
20%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 9
90%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 53

Specifications

4-door van
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
113.3 189.3 78.6 68.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
146.7 20.0 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.7 39.7 40.6 36.5
4-door van
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
119.3 200.5 78.6 68.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
167.9 20.0 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 39.1 40.6 39.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: The A/C compressor may fail, causing a squealing or missing drive belt. The compressor fails from not turning on the rear A/C controls, but running only the front. After the A/C parts are replaced, the body control computer requires reprogramming. (2001)
Doors
Description: Loose weather strip tricks the power sliding door into thinking there is an obstruction making it misbehave during opening or closing. The weather strip must be replaced.
Engine noise
Description: Engine tapping noise on startup of V6 engines requires updated exhaust valve swivel pads. (1998-03)
Engine stalling
Description: The engine may lose power or stall, especially when the temperature is below freezing, requiring replacement of if the throttle position sensor. (2001-02)
Fuel gauge
Description: The fuel gauge may drop below the actual level while driving, but may return to the correct reading after sitting for about 10 minutes due to a kinked hose at the leak-detection-pump filter. (2001-02)
Suspension noise
Description: Knocking or squawking sounds from the front suspension are corrected by replacing the sway-bar links. (2001)
Water leak
Description: Some early production (prior to April 2001) vehicles may have a serpentine belt that squeals of jumps off (in cold weather) the pulley caused by water leaking from the wiper module drain tube. In cold weather, ice forms on the pulley. (2001)
Water leak
Description: A wet passenger-side carpet is often due to condensation from the A/C drain tube blowing back into the passenger compartment and replacing the tube with a longer one corrects the problem. (2001-02)

Recall History

2001
Description: Lower control-arm bolt could fracture and lead to a loss of vehicle control. Dealers will replace affected parts.
2001 w/o keyless entry
Description: Sliding door latches could release in severe accidents. Dealers will replace both sliding door cylinder links free of charge.
2001-02 Grand Caravan
Description: Condensation from air conditioning ducts may drop through vent holes in top of radio, resulting in short-circuit that could result in speaker fire.
2002
Description: Some owner’s manuals are missing instructions for installing child seats. Owners will be provided with an addendum to the owners manual.
2002 Grand
Description: Fuel-tank-control valve weld joint could separate resulting in a fuel leak or fire. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
2002-04 w/V6 engine
Description: Upper power steering cooler hose may split and cause fluid leak, which could result in underhood fire.
2003
Description: Power liftgate latch may not engage the striker, allowing liftgate to open while vehicle is moving.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.