The Caravan is back

The venerable Dodge Caravan has returned for its 34th model year.

Many had believed that it would not reach the 2018 model year, because of new safety requirements. A mild redesign of some key components resolved this issue.

2017 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT Plus — the SXT Plus did not make it into 2018

Thrifty minivan buyers can get the 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan SE, SE Plus, or SXT, with a list price starting at $25,995 (all prices exclude destination charges). Making these minivans a true bargain are a choice between $4,000 in cash rebates and $2,000 in subprime  cash plus a subvented loan rate, varying from 0% to 3.9%.

New for the 2018s are a discount on the second-row Stow ’n’ Go seats, down to $995 — half the price of the 2017s. SE Plus buyers can get the class-leading second-row Stow ’n’ Go system, too, now.

All Caravans come with the 3.6 liter engine (283 hp) and a six-speed automatic; seven airbags, 17-inch wheels, four-wheel antilock brakes, trailer sway damping, and power front windows and locks are all standard. Indeed, even tilt wheel, audio and cruise control, and triple-zone climate control, with rear and conditioning and heating, are standard.

Interior is probably similar to this 2015 Caravan SXT

By Federal law all 2018s must have backup cameras, so the base minivan comes with a 6.5 inch radio/backup camera display. Buyers can get a hands-free phone system for $690, a DVD entertainment system for $995, and a roof-rack for $395.

The SE is expected to capture roughly 40% of purchases, about the same as the SE Plus, which costs almost $3,000 more but comes with an alarm, remote start, fog lamps, and automatic headlights, along with second-row in-floor storage tubs. It also upgrades the interior trim, and throws in the hands-free phone system and Blacktop package. At this level, buyers can get navigation ($995), a power driver’s seat ($200), or second-row Stow ’n’ Go (seats that fold into the floor).

The SXT, finally, nears Pacifica turf, with a list price of $31,495; it has nicer wheels and trim, standard Stow ’n’ Go seats, dual power sliding doors, a power driver’s seat and liftgate, better seat surfaces, the “Super Console,” and a standard bright roof rack.  The Blacktop package is optional ($595).

The Caravan is still needed to keep volume at Windsor reasonably high, with the critically acclaimed Pacifica still making a name for itself. Allpar sources have talked about a Pacifica-platform crossover coming to the plant, but the timing is uncertain; and as long as there’s no crossover, the Caravan is likely to still have a place in the Windsor plant.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304

This post was last modified on November 10, 2017, 8:58 am

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