2010 Dodge Grand Caravan Performance

On Performance

Dodge outfits the 2010 Grand Caravan with a choice of three engines, either a four-speed or six-speed automatic, and front-wheel drive. (All-wheel drive has fallen off the ordering sheet.) There's a 175-hp 3.3-liter V-6, a 197-hp 3.8-liter V-6 and a 251-hp 4.0-liter V-6.

The two larger engines are teamed to a six-speed automatic, and the combination in either case provides more than adequate performance for this class of vehicle. 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 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan a "strong performer."

The 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan performs like most other minivans, with good fuel economy and a smooth ride. recommends you pass on the 3.3-liter V-6 and the four-speed automatic that comes with it. If you want better acceleration while actually boosting fuel economy, take the big six; it earns 17/25 mpg in EPA testing, while the 3.8-liter six gets 16/23 mpg and the 3.3-liter six achieves 17/24 mpg. Kelley Blue Book points out the midline 197-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 has "no problem transporting the medium-size loads to which we subjected it," but Motor Trend reports "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." The bigger six-cylinder minivans also get the six-speed automatic, which Automedia says "operates so smoothly that gear changes are barely noticed." Even with the big engine, Autoblog finds nothing special about the Grand Caravan's power: "While it drove alright for a vehicle that weighs around 4,300 pounds, it's no tire-smoker."

Handling and ride aren't any better or worse than in most minivans, which makes the performance rating among minivans more a fuel-economy derby. 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 it has "more confident handling than before, with especially positive steering."

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