End of an era as Dodge Grand Caravan dies
It’s the end of an era, with the dropping of the Dodge Grand Caravan.
The minivan, first launched as a 1987 (the Grand Caravan, that is; the Caravan itself started out as a 1984 model), will not see 2021. In a widely anticipated move, the Grand Caravan will be dropped to make way for more Chrysler Voyager sales. The Voyager is a low-end version of the Chrysler Pacifica.
Chrysler Voyager replaces Dodge Grand Caravan
Never before has Chrysler had two series of minivans running at one time, with the ancient Grand Caravan and the newer Pacifica being churned out by a single Canadian factory. The Caravan picked up price-sensitive buyers while the Pacifica attracted people with features, ride, a quiet interior, and better economy. The Dodge had an old version of the same engine, with a soft six-speed automatic; the Chrysler had a newer version of that engine, with an efficient ZF-engineered nine-speed automatic, and a plug-in hybrid version to grab economy headlines.
The current Grand Caravan is mainly a 2011 rework of the 2008 model; the main differences are in interior and exterior styling and the replacing of multiple old V6 engines with a single brand-new Pentastar V6. A more recent change upgraded the minivan’s safety to conform to current rules. Despite two “clean-sheet” redesigns, the 2020 Grand Caravan has many of the architectural choices of the 1984 Caravan; the Pacifica was more of a departure.
To keep the Grand Caravan going in every state, the company would need to update the engine to meet California emissions standards; buyers in the 13 California-emissions states who want the Dodge minivan will have to settle for a nearly-identical 2019.
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, lives in Farmingdale, New York, and can be reached at +1.516-531-4021.