With an almost twenty-five year history, the Dodge Caravan has changed the way families travel in America. This minivan first hit the market in 1984 and wowed audiences with its modern versatility. The precursor to the Grand Caravan, this model clearly caught the attention of the buying public and quickly became the bestselling minivan on the market. While the first generation of the minivan had a boxy, unadorned face, the newest fifth generation has a more forward, modern design with a muscular build and defined center spine line.
The first Caravan was equipped with a 2.2L K I4 and was available in three different trim levels. A turbocharged version was also offered, but did not sell well and was later discontinued. It was in the second model year that Car and Driver named the Dodge Caravan as one of their ten best. In 1987 Dodge styled the Caravan with exterior wood grain accents, but the trend quickly faded, and the wood paneling was suspended in 1990.
The second generation of the Caravan was fitted with several different V6 engine choices, and a driver's side airbag was implemented as well. All-wheel drive also became available on the Dodge Caravan in the second generation. However, it wasn't until the third generation began in 1996 that the exterior received a makeover. The squared style was swapped for a more curved, streamlined design. An all-new driver's side sliding door was implemented, where previous model years had the typical swing out door style. This innovation gave the Caravan a more aerodynamic appeal, and buyers continued to make this minivan a top seller in the United States.
It wasn't until the fourth generation that Dodge introduced "Stow 'n Go" seating, an inventive system that allows rear seating to fold down into the floor to allow for extra cargo space. This system reinvented the minivan and gave it credibility as a vehicle that could be used for both the family and worksite. The fourth generation also brought about a name change for the model, and it officially became the Dodge Grand Caravan (taking the trim level badge and applying it to the entire model line). The minivan also received two sliding doors for easier rear entry.
The newest addition to the Grand Caravan is the "Swivel 'n Go" second row seating. These seats can turn 360 degrees so that passengers can converse and "hang out" with third row passengers with ease. The swivel seating provides a more intimate environment and gives the feeling of sitting in a living room with two comfortable couches facing each other.