Minivan; Built in USA, Canada
  • 4-door van
  • 4-door van
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $4,900 – $9,000*


2005 Dodge Caravan


2005 Dodge Caravan

Pros:
  • Entry/exit
  • Interior storage space
  • Passenger and cargo room
Cons:
  • Fuel economy

Dodge Caravan and its fancier Chrysler Town & Country sibling have laudable road manners and take a back seat to no minivan for convenience and utility. Toyota’s Sienna and Honda’s Odyssey are their only real rivals for all-around appeal. Those competitors have more-refined powertrains, and are newer designs. But Caravan has lower base prices and deeper discounts. Overall, it’s a Best Buy.

Overview

Dodge redesigned its Caravan in 2005 adding available curtain side airbags and fold-away 2nd- and 3rd-row seats. Caravan is built from the same design as Chrysler’s Town & Country. It came in regular- or extended-length body styles and in SE and SXT trim. All had 7-passenger seating. The regular-length SE had a 2.4-liter 4-cyl engine. Regular-length SXT and Grand SE had a 3.3-liter V6. Grand SXT got a 3.8-liter V6. All came with automatic transmission. Traction control was standard on Grand SXT, but all-wheel drive was no longer offered. ABS was standard on Grands, optional on SXT regular. Newly standard on all was a driver knee airbag. Newly available were curtain side airbags that cover all three seating rows; they replaced front side airbags. Also available was a tire-inflation monitor.

Standard on the Grand SXT was Dodge’s Stow ‘n Go 2nd- and 3rd-row seats that fold into floorwells. With the seats raised, the wells provide covered storage space. Other available features included power sliding side doors, power liftgate, power-adjustable pedals, DVD entertainment, and navigation system. Newly available were Chrysler’s UConnect, which uses the audio system as a hands-free wireless link to cell phones, and ceiling tracks that allow moving and removing such items as storage bins, a CD holder, and a first-aid kit.

Yearly Updates

2006 Caravan
No significant changes were made for 2006.
2007 Caravan
Caravan is unchanged for 2007.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

The regular-length SE had a 2.4-liter 4-cyl engine. Regular-length SXT and Grand SE had a 3.3-liter V6. Grand SXT got a 3.8-liter V6. All came with automatic transmission. For 2006, horsepower on the 3.8 was reduced by 2 to 205 and torque increased by 2 to 240. All have automatic transmission. Dodge recommends regular-grade fuel for all engines.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/148
Engine HP 150
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 165
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

20/26

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

19/26

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/231
Engine HP 206
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 239
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

18/25

18.5

Road Test

Weak 4-cyl engine feels even more lethargic than our test model’s lengthy 11.3 sec 0-60-mph time suggests. The 3.3 V6 is OK in regular-length Caravan. Grands need the smooth, strong 3.8. Transmission sometimes shifts abruptly at low speeds, is otherwise responsive, unobtrusive. Test Grand Caravan SXT averaged 18.6 mpg. Experience suggests overburdened 3.3 V6 should average 15-17 mpg in Grands. Test SE regular-length with 4-cyl averaged 19.8 mpg. All Caravans use regular-grade fuel.

Grands smooth out bumps better than regular-length models, but all Caravans ride comfortably. However, some testers cite suspension harshness over sharp road irregularities, and complain of float on wavy highways. Feels like a large, tall car in turns, and models with 16-inch tires have more grip and sharper responses than those with 15s. Noticeable nosedive in sudden stops, but good braking power despite slightly mushy pedal feel on some test examples. Stopping performance best on models with 4-wheel disc brakes. Heavy crosswinds and highway-speed cruising elevate wind rush, and certain road surfaces bring out marked tire noise, but neither is prominent enough to disturb conversation. SE has less sound insulation than other models, and its 4-cyl engine is louder, gruffer than V6s.

Gauges unobstructed and clearly marked. Controls multiply with features such as power side doors and liftgate, but all are relatively easy to decipher, close to driver. Interior materials a mix of sensible, durable materials and attractive surfaces. Low step-in height, wide doorways. Front seats supportive, though taller drivers may wish for more head, leg room. Rear headrests can obstruct outward vision slightly. Power-adjustable pedals allow shorter drivers to sit farther from the steering wheel airbag. Generous head, knee, and foot clearance, but some testers complain that 2nd-row bucket seats are too thinly padded, and 3rd row is uncomfortable for adults. Regular-length models have tight cargo space with all seats in place. Grand’s cleverly designed Stow ‘n Go seats fold easily into floorwells to lay flush with load floor. With seats in place, 2nd-row floorwells provide about 12 cu ft of handy, covered storage. And rear floorwell a boon to cargo space.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2006 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 - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 7
70%
Cargo Room - 10
100%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 60

Specifications

4-door van
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
113.3 189.1 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
39.6 39.9 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: 2005 Caravan 4-door van

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

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

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

Trouble Spots

Starter
Description: The remote starter may not work because of a failed hood switch. (2004-05)
Steering problems
Description: The steering wheel (column) has in/out play, which is corrected by installation of a hardware kit. (2005)
Steering problems
Description: Power steering additives containing Teflon can plug up the filter in the fluid reservoir. (2004-05)
Suspension noise
Description: Knocking from the front suspension is often caused by bad sway bar bushings, but may also include the sway bar links. (2005)
Water leak
Description: Water may leak onto the passenger side floor from the A/C condensate drain hose unless an O-ring is installed at the drain outlet. (2001-06)

Recall History

2005 Caravan
Description: Certain aftermarket brake master cylinders can leak in cold temperatures leading to a loss in braking performance. The brake master cylinder will be replaced free of charge from point of purchase.
2005 Caravan
Description: Right-front seatbelt retractor assembly may not have been properly assembled causing the seatbelt to improperly restrain front passenger in the event of an accident. Dealers will replace defective retractor assemblies.
2005 Caravans sold in states that use large amount of salt for road deicing
Description: The up-front (UF) air bag sensors that contain brass bushings installed in these vehicles may corrode and crack allowing water to enter the sensor and render it inoperable. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
2005-06 Caravan, Grand Caravan
Description: Front wiper-motor armature shaft may break leading to inoperative wipers. Dealers will replace defective wiper motors.

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.