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by Bob McHugh
Now you see them – now you don’t! The ’05 Dodge Grand Caravan is the first minivan on the market to have disappearing second-row seats, in addition to a third-row split-bench that also folds into the floor. The Grand Caravan converts from a seven-seat passenger van into two-seat spacious cargo van just like, well, magic!
Yes, the “Magic Wagon” finally lives up to its historic name. And that’s not all – the ’05 Grand Caravan also offers buyers some excellent new safety features and an improved level of interior quietness.
A new minivan may not get the neighbours drooling with envy, but a minivan – especially this Dodge variety, still offers consumers the best automotive bang for the buck in terms of space and versatility. The Grand Caravan has more interior space than many SUV’s that cost twice as much and its big box interior cavity is more practical and easier to access.
One of every seven vehicles sold in Canada is a minivan and although the competition has grown over the years the Dodge Caravan is still the most popular one. In fact, Caravan has been the best selling minivan on the planet for over twenty years and over 10-million of them have been sold world-wide.
Both the standard-wheelbase Caravan and the extended-wheelbase Grand Caravan are offered in base and SXT trim levels. The base ’05 Grand Caravan can also be ordered with a new SE Plus trim package that includes the new Stow ‘n Go seating and storage system, four-wheel disc brakes, advanced multi-stage front air bags, remote keyless entry and lots more, for $2,180 – a bargain addition.
On the down side, last year’s seven-year powertrain warranty has been scaled back to five-years for the ’05 model year, in line with most of its competitors. Maybe this is a cost-cutting way for DaimlerChrysler to recover some of the $700 million it spent on re-designing this new minivan platform.