The Grand Caravan name is one of the veterans in the minivan business, but it's one of the most technically advanced of its kind, thanks to regular additions of infotainment features over the past decade. Some of those features simply aren't available in other minivans, even at premium prices.
The least expensive Grand Caravan is the AVP, a special $19,995 "American Value Package" with power windows, locks, and mirrors; a removable second-row bench seat and in-floor storage bins, but no fold-away second-row seats; a fold-away third-row seat; cruise control; air conditioning; and keyless entry. At that price, it underprices almost every seven-passenger crossover, not to mention a slew of five-passenger utes.
Mid-grade minivans contain more standard features, including a power tailgate and power side doors, and upgrades for audio systems. The Crew edition gains satellite radio, a power driver seat, and ambient interior lighting. There's a vaguely sporty R/T model with monochromatic trim and black leather seating; it gets its own suspension tuning and sound system.
On the options list, the Grand Caravan lists some truly useful features that will be a boon for connected families. There's a USB port for 3G dongles, that transforms the Grand Caravan into a WiFi hotspot. It's a no-brainer versus the more expensive DVD entertainment system, even if you spend for a couple of iPads. However, high-definition families might be swayed by a new Blu-Ray DVD entertainment system for 2013, offered on Crew and R/T models. It includes an HDMI input, a 115-volt outlet and two USB ports for gaming and recharging electronics.
Other features to check out are navigation; Bluetooth (either bundled with an upgraded radio, or an auto-dimming rearview mirror, or heated seats and steering wheel); the DVD entertainment system; and a power package for the side doors, tailgate and pedals on models where they're not included. Remote start and a 115-volt outlet wouldn't be left off either, not on such a high-functioning machine.
It sounds utilitarian, but think twice about ordering the new Stow 'N Place roof rails. It's possible, with all this interior room, that all of your stuff will fit inside the Grand Caravan. Rooftop storage bins cut into the coefficient of drag anyway, right?