Performance » 7
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
Engines are a bit noisy and not very fuel efficient
gear changes are barely noticed
brake-pedal feel is superb
Car and Driver
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."
TheCarConnection.com 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."
The 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan performs like most other minivans, with good fuel economy and a smooth ride.