1996 Dodge Grand Caravan SE 3.3L V6 from North America
Form and function unfortunately don't equal quality
Transmission was repaired on three separate occasions, the first around 70,000km, a shredded gear was bouncing around. Then around 130,000km more transmission problems this time not under warranty and creating a huge expense. The third transmission problem @ around 180,000km was the end of our ownership of the minivan, surprisingly traded in on another Caravan.
Immediately after regular servicing, the minivan actually choked to death because the air filter was so clogged (shouldn't they check these things) and the Caravan had to be towed, fix cost was obviously negligible.
A/C Condenser was replaced under warranty.
One other really odd problem was somehow the oil pan was leaking directly into the incoming air for the cabin. Fixed under warranty involved disassembly of much of the dash. The car smelled like a garage inside (just stronger!).
The decision to buy the 1996 Grand Caravan was based on the pleasant experience we had with the 1988 Grand Voyager (3.0 LE), we owned the Grand Voyager from 1988-1996, and aside from some PDL problems early and under warranty really didn't take the car in for much of anything.
The 3.3L engine is unfortunately pretty much gone from Chrysler's repetoire right now, it used to be on most Intrepids. The engine performed well, and did not have problems. The seating comfort in this thing was great. We all loved the Grand Caravan and there's no vehicle that I've driven regularly that I have more confidence in for an emergency maneuver. For a vehicle of that size the Grand Caravan got nothing short of spectacular marks in that respect.
The Transmission doesn't seem to have a defect rate on these things. They are just plain faulty. Maybe changing the transmission fluid more often would benefit. Chrysler's own service people were friendly, but ultimately incompetent at times. The air filter incident rates as inexcusable in my books.
For function and form there's no matching this thing, at least in my belief. However Chrysler's quality is simply suspect and trying on owners. Perhaps the feelings of the family could be best summed up with this. In 2002 we owned a '93 Cutlass Supreme, '96 Sable, and '96 Caravan, in that year we got rid of both of the 1996's that were ailing at that point, and the '93 Cutlass Supreme and it's 228,000km doesn't seem overly in interested in giving out so it's still on the road.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 4th November, 2004