With an all-new Caravan coming for 2008, changes to the Caravan and Grand Caravan are relatively minor for 2007. There’s a new base Canada Value Package; remote keyless entry is standard on base models; quad seating and manual lumbar adjustment become standard on SXT models; Stow ’n Go seats are standard on the base Grand Caravan; and Marine Blue and Modern Blue replace exterior colours Butane Blue and Midnight Blue.

The Dodge Caravan is available in two sizes, as the regular-wheelbase Caravan and long-wheelbase Grand Caravan; available engines are a 3.3-litre V6 (which can be ordered in an E85 flexible-fuel version, although that fuel isn’t readily available in Canada) and a 3.8-litre V6 used on the Grand Caravan SXT. Both engines are mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.

The company’s Stow ’n Go seating, which features second-row seats that flip and fold entirely into the floor, are only found on the long-wheelbase Grand Caravan.

Features on the base Caravan SE include 15-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, tilt steering column, cruise control, heated mirrors, power locks with keyless entry, power front and rear quarter windows, variable intermittent wipers, rear washer/wiper, dual sliding doors, CD stereo with four speakers, driver’s side inflatable knee blocker, and engine immobilizer.

The SXT adds 16-inch aluminum wheels, second-row bucket seats, dual-zone manual temperature control, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, and deluxe insulation package.

The Caravan can also be ordered as a cargo van, with 16-inch steel wheels, anti-lock brakes, air conditioning and no rear seats, for $22,780.

The base Grand Caravan includes the features of the Caravan, but adds four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, Stow ’n Go seating and 60/40 split third-row bench.

The Grand Caravan SXT adds 16-inch aluminum wheels, traction control, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, three-zone temperature control, rear heating and air conditioning, overhead console with trip computer, garage door opener, rear courtesy lamps, illuminated vanity mirrors, fog lamps and roof rack.

Available options on the Caravan include anti-lock brakes, front seat centre console, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, side curtain airbags and power-adjustable pedals; the Grand Caravan can be further optioned with leather interior, power-adjustable seats, trailer tow package, and power sliding doors and liftgate.

Still considered the “original minivan”, the Caravan has been overtaken in quality and handling by many competitors: its smaller V6, while adequate around town, is sluggish on the highway, steering tends to be vague, and while it’s put together well, some of its materials look cheap. Its relatively low price still makes it attractive for families on a budget, though, and the Grand Caravan’s exclusive Stow ’n Go seating remains a great idea: if your passenger-to-cargo ratio changes on a trip, the van can be immediately reconfigured, without removing seats. Expect prices on the 2007 version to drop once the 2008 models come out and dealers want to clear their lots.

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