Despite loads of innovative, family-friendly features, the 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan is poorly made and nearly impossible to recommend.
You know that guy you meet at a party who seems really cool? Then you hang out with him for a whole weekend and that cool guy is actually a loudmouth sexist who chews with his mouth open? Well, the 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan is the automotive equivalent of that guy.
If you happened to read our reviews of last year's Caravan, we were quite high on Dodge's all-new minivan, chock-full of innovative, family-friendly features. We also found its engine to be strong and its interior comfortable. We thought cabin materials could be better, but we could live with them given the van's other high points.
But that was based on our typical two-week evaluation period with a new car. Then we received a Grand Caravan as a long-term vehicle -- and our tune quickly changed. We encountered a host of problems, from a finicky radio and passenger sliding door to constant creaks and rattles. Build quality was terrible -- the "+" marking on the shifter was wiped off by someone's finger, the tan leather quickly showed signs of discoloration and the rear bumper plastic warped to the point where we couldn't open the tailgate. This was all after only six months, and you'll find similar experiences in our consumer reviews of the Grand Caravan.
In other words, the Grand Caravan is not a quality product, more a perfect example of cost-cutting and half-hearted design from a company just trying to survive. As we found on our initial experiences with it, the Caravan has some unique and useful features like Swivel 'n Go seating, a dual-screen rear entertainment system, Sirius Satellite TV and hard-drive audio storage. It also boasts the usual minivan attributes of abundant passenger and cargo space. Unfortunately, it's all sloppily executed.
As you can tell, we do not recommend the 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan. The Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Kia Sedona/Hyundai Entourage and several full-size crossovers like the Chevrolet Traverse would be much better choices for your family.