Love them or hate them, minivans have always provided the type of utility that three-row SUVs do not. A lower ride height and sliding rear doors make it easier to lift kids and car seats in and out (especially in driveways), and third-row seating provides more space and features than most of the large SUVs on the market. Unfortunately, the minivan segment is getting a little smaller as Chrysler announced that it is removing the Dodge Grand Caravan.
Out with the old
Production of the Dodge Grand Caravan will end on May 22 of this year and the van will be through the 2020 model year. However, due to strict emissions, it will not be for sale in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Needless to say, sales were already dwindling, but they’ll be reduced even more this year.
The Grand Caravan is survived by its parent-company stablemate, the Chrysler Pacifica, which getting a refresh for the 2021 model year, and the Chrysler Voyager, the brand’s more budget-friendly offering that will basically stand in place of the Grand Caravan.
Times were good
For those keeping track, the demise of the Grand Caravan should be not much of a surprise. After all, Chrysler resurrected the Pacifica in 2017 and when things are shiny and new (and come in a hybrid form) the public tends to gravitate towards them. This left the Grand Caravan to eventually exit stage left while removing it’s 35-year-old make-up and quietly watching from backstage.
It’s a sad departure, mainly for the 1,500 employees at the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Windsor facility, where the Grand Caravan was built. However, the van did have a stout timeline that will live on in the annals of automotive history as it was one of the first and longest-living minivans ever produced. After all, 35 years of production is nothing to sneeze at.
Not just about the numbers
The Grand Caravan was first introduced in 1984. And while its timeline spanned five generations (the last run starting in 2008), the brand didn’t do much to breathe new life into the model. Sure, the Stow n’ Go seats were revolutionary and the hard plastics were easy for parents to clean. But when other vans like the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna are constantly changing and getting bigger (and more luxurious) it’s hard for a boxy, plastic-clad van to keep up.
Also, three-row SUVs are getting more and more advanced and the market is constantly shifting towards them because most parents can’t stand the thought of even driving a minivan, much less actually owning one. Speaking of which, if you live in a state where the Dodge Grand Caravan will still be sold for this year, you can probably get a killer deal. If not, then we recommend looking into the Chrysler Voyager.
Goodbye, Dodge Grand Caravan, we’ll miss you. Kind of.