What Changed for 2008:
- All-new, ground-up redesign
- New 24-valve 4.0-liter V-6 engine joins carryover 12-valve 3.3- and 3.8-liter V-6 engines
- New 6-speed automatic transmission standard with 3.8- and 4.0-liter engines
- Short-wheelbase Caravan discontinued
- New Swivel 'n Go seating
- Optional power-folding third-row seat with \"tailgate\" mode
- Optional single and dual-screen DVD players and Sirius satellite TV
- Optional MyGIG stereo with integrated 20GB hard drive
- Standard three-row side curtain air bags
- Standard electronic stability control
While other domestic automakers are pulling out of the minivan market, Chrysler-producers of the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan, which together have figured prominently in the minivan market since the introduction of the original Caravan in 1983-believes the minivan will continue to be a strong seller. The Grand Caravan was designed to be a living room on wheels, the maker says. With new optional Swivel 'n Go seating, the second-row seats can be turned around 180 degrees. Seat belts integrated into the seats allow safe travel for rear-facing passengers. A lightweight table can be set up between the rows for snacking (or gaming) on the go. Other seating options include Dodge's Stow 'n Go, with second-row seats that fold down into the floor, and a traditional two-place bench.
Buyers of the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan can choose between two models: SE and SXT. The SE comes with a 3.3-liter V-6 engine and 4-speed automatic transmission; two-place second-row bench; all-row side curtain air bags; electronic stability control; anti-lock disc brakes; 16-inch steel wheels; power locks and front windows; conversation mirror; CD/MP3 player; and keyless entry. Options include Stow 'n Go and Swivel 'n Go seating; power-operated sliding doors; tailgate and second-row side windows; YES Essentials stain- and odor-resistant seat cloth and floor mats; cruise control; MyGIG hard-drive-based stereo; Sirius satellite radio; backup camera; single-screen rear-seat entertainment system; and alloy wheels.
In addition to the SE's standard equipment, the Grand Caravan SXT adds a 3.8-liter V-6 engine with 6-speed automatic transmission; Stow 'n Go seating; YES Essentials seat cloth and floor mats; power-adjustable pedals; rear air conditioning; cruise control; power driver's seat and second-row side windows; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter; HomeLink transceiver; steering wheel audio controls; LED interior lighting; additional interior storage; and alloy wheels. Options (in addition to those offered on the SE) include automatic climate control; 4.0-liter V-6 engine; navigation system; power-folding third-row seat; dual-screen rear entertainment system with Sirius Backseat TV; and a removable rechargeable flashlight.
The 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan SE comes with a 175-hp, 3.3-liter V-6 engine that runs on either gasoline or E85. It drives the front wheels through a 4-speed automatic transmission and carries EPA fuel economy estimates of 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway. The Grand Caravan SXT is powered by a 197-hp, 3.8-liter V-6 or a new optional 251-hp, 4.0-liter, 24-valve V-6 engine. Both are backed by an all-new 6-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy estimates for both the 3.8-liter and the 4.0-liter engines are 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway. Grand Caravans equipped with the 4.0-liter V-6 engine also feature stiffer shocks and higher-effort steering. Towing capacity is 1800 pounds; an optional trailer tow prep package, available with the 3.8- and 4.0-liter engines, increases that to 3600 pounds.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash-test results were not available at the time of writing; however the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan includes front air bags; three-row side curtain air bags; 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist; electronic stability control; and a tire-pressure-monitoring system; all standard. Swivel 'n Go second-row seats have the seat belt integrated with the seat frame, and Chrysler's internal crash tests have verified that passengers are safe riding backwards as well as forwards. Other safety hardware includes three LATCH child seat anchors, optional integrated child booster seats, and a rear-view camera. In the event of an air bag deployment, the Grand Caravan automatically unlocks the doors and switches on the interior lights and hazard flashers.
The 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan's Swivel 'n Go seating allows the van to be configured as a family room on the go. The optional center console, located between the front seats, slides far enough backwards to deliver drive-in drinks to passengers in the second row. The Grand Caravan SXT's optional dual-screen entertainment system allows the screens to work independently; video sources include the built-in DVD player, two auxiliary audio/video input jacks, or Sirius Backseat TV. (The dashboard screen will also play movies from the built-in DVD player so long as the transmission is in park.) There's a 115-volt outlet to plug in a video game system, VCR or additional DVD player. Stereo choices include the MyGig system, which features a 20GB hard drive that can store more than 1200 songs.