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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
“brake-pedal feel is superb.”
Car and Driver
“it operates so smoothly that gear changes are barely noticed”
“The 3.8- and 4.0-liter engines are a bit noisy and not very fuel efficient”
The 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan rides well in all forms and has surprising handling, but the 4.0-liter V-6 is the clear winner here. The sport-tuned suspension on SXT models and upgraded brakes throughout the model lineup will help improve overall performance.
Kelley Blue Book says that "for an additional $630 and no sacrifice in EPA fuel economy figures," you can get the more powerful 4.0-liter V-6, which serves “up 251 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque,” Motor Trend notes. CNet reports, “The EPA rates the Grand Caravan with the 4-liter V-6 at 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. We averaged around 17 mpg overall, with our mileage dipping well below 16 in the city.” Consumer Reports observes, “The 3.8- and 4.0-liter engines are a bit noisy and not very fuel efficient,” but Car and Driver calls this version of the 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan a “strong performer.”
Kelley Blue Book points out the midline 197-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 has much more ferocity, showing "no problem transporting the medium-size loads to which we subjected it." It comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, a first in the minivan class; Automedia says of the new gearbox, “it operates so smoothly that gear changes are barely noticed.” In driving this version, Autoblog finds nothing special about its power: “While it drove alright for a vehicle that weighs around 4,300 pounds, it's no tire-smoker, that's for sure,” they report.
Cars.com points out that the smaller 3.3-liter is only offered with a four-speed automatic, too. The gear selector itself “looks like a center-console shifter but is located high on the dashboard, to the right of the gauges,” they note, to make it easier for drivers to select gears manually. This engine/transmission combination is good for 24 mpg on the highway, not much more than the next-largest engine. It is flex-fuel compatible, though.
Autoblog calls the Dodge Grand Caravan a “smooth rider,” and Car and Driver notes, “brake-pedal feel is superb.” Automedia agrees: “Ride quality in a Dodge Grand Caravan SXT is outstanding, at least on smooth pavement.” They also observe that it has “more confident handling than before, with especially positive steering.”
The 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan does its job well, but unless you opt for the bigger engine, don't expect a sporty driving experience.