By Kevin Miller
It has been a quarter of a century since Chrysler Corporation launched the K-Car based Voyager and Caravan in the North American market, creating an entirely new segment of vehicle. Those minivans were incredibly successful for Chrysler, and they owned the segment for more than a decade. In the time since, domestic rivals GM and Ford each took several stabs at designing minivans before finally calling it quits. Meanwhile, competition arrived from Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai. While Hyundai/Kia has essentially dropped out of the market, the three Japanese-brand competitors are now to the point of having very competitive products in the minivan segment, with class-leading features of their own.
With all-new products for 2011 from Honda, Toyota and Nissan, Chrysler has given the Grand Caravan (and its Chrysler Town & Country sibling) a thorough refresh. Much like Toyota has done with the Sienna’s Swagger Wagon marketing campaign, Dodge has tried to make the Grand Caravan a “man van” by giving it aggressive styling features. A new front fascia with integrated chin spoiler, an integrated rear spoiler, and new LED taillamps reminiscent of earlier Dodge Durango products attempt to give the Grand Caravan more visual attitude. These subtle upgrades do make a notable upgrade in appearance compared to the absolute anonymity of the 2008-2010 version. Continue Reading →