Retro Cars Wiki

Under Chrysler Corporation's Dodge brand, the minivan was called the Dodge Caravan. Along with its twin, the Plymouth Voyager, the Caravan initiated the minivan phenomenon. Since its inception, the Caravan was the sales leader in the minivan category. Throughout its second generation, the Caravan was available in four trim levels: base, SE, LE and ES, in either standard size or the extended Grand Caravan.

Year-to-year changes[]


Since Dodge was looking forward to a complete makeover in 1996 for the front-drive Caravan, new features for the 1995 Dodge Caravan were limited to a series of minor enhancements. Chief among these included an optional refined 4-speed automatic transaxle and a revised remote keyless-entry system. Antilock brakes were now standard equipment on LE models, and engines fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) were upgraded from limited production to a regular production option that anyone could order. Dodge also had realigned and upgraded equipment availability throughout the Caravan line.

Positioned right in the middle of the minivan market, the Dodge Caravan was designed for family-oriented buyers who prized versatility and a carlike ride. Key competitors included the Plymouth Voyager, Ford's rear-wheel-drive Aerostar, GMC's rear-drive Safari and Chevrolet's rear-drive Astro and front-drive Lumina.

The base engine remained the 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder. Optional engines included the 3.0-liter sohc V6, a 3.3-liter V6 and the 3.8-liter V6. For 1995, the base transmission was a 3-speed automatic. A 4-speed automatic was optional. The 5-speed manual was dropped. The Caravan was also available with all-wheel drive.

The Cargo Van was discontinued after 1995, leaving behind only the Passenger Van until 2002.


The feature most pertinent to the minivan is optimum use of imaginable space. To this end, the standard-wheelbase version of the redesigned 1996 Caravan is 3.6 in. shorter on the outside than the Mercury Villager, but provides 16% more cargo space on the inside. Companion priorities embrace ease of entry, seating packages and walk-through capability. The new Caravan addresses ease of entry by maintaining the same step-in seat height as previous models. To facilitate entry and exit using the original floor height, Dodge lowered the doorsills 1.4 in. To increase utility, the Caravan can be equipped with an optional driver-side sliding door.

Seats form the basis around which the new Caravan was designed. Their placement and form, especially the rear rows, directly affected underbody construction. Consumer clinics revealed that owners like to remove the seats to increase cargo room. So this concept was retained, allowing the removal of the center seat(s) while the rear one rolls forward on small wheels and folds up. All seats are removable without tools. Accessing the seats without leaving the vehicle is intended to be easier with an additional 1/2 in. of space between the front seats and quad-seating placement.

Caravan buyers can choose from a plethora of models and trim lines, all of which offer dual-airbag protection, antilock brakes and childproof door locks. Body rigidity for the 4-door version is 50% greater than it was for the prior 3-door configuration, and the familiar MacPherson strut front suspension and tube axle/leaf spring rear suspension have been retained. Vehicle track is wider now, reducing the diameter of the turning circle by nearly 3.5 ft. Base power comes from the 2.4-liter dohc engine also found in the Cirrus and Stratus sedans.

Retail prices[]

As of mid-1994:

  • $16,145 (1995 Dodge Caravan Cargo Van)
  • $16,160 (1995 Dodge Caravan Passenger Van)
  • $18,855 (1995 Dodge Caravan SE Passenger Van)
  • $23,380 (1995 Dodge Caravan LE Passenger Van)
  • $17,685 (1995 Dodge Grand Caravan Cargo Van)
  • $18,605 (1995 Dodge Grand Caravan Passenger Van)
  • $19,595 (1995 Dodge Grand Caravan SE Passenger Van)
  • $22,270 (1995 Dodge Grand Caravan SE Passenger Van with all-wheel drive)
  • $23,680 (1995 Dodge Grand Caravan LE Passenger Van)
  • $25,755 (1995 Dodge Grand Caravan LE Passenger Van with all-wheel drive)

As of April 4, 1995:

  • $19,595 (1996 Dodge Grand Caravan SE)
  • $23,680 (1996 Dodge Grand Caravan LE)

As of September 22, 1995:

  • $16,575 (1996 Dodge Caravan)
  • $19,270 (1996 Dodge Caravan SE)
  • $23,620 (1996 Dodge Caravan LE)
  • $24,210 (1996 Dodge Caravan)
  • $17,825 (1996 Dodge Grand Caravan)
  • $20,010 (1996 Dodge Grand Caravan SE)
  • $24,110 (1996 Dodge Grand Caravan LE)
  • $24,700 (1996 Dodge Grand Caravan ES)

As of July 27, 1997:

  • $17,235 (1997 Dodge Caravan)
  • $18,580 (1997 Dodge Grand Caravan)
  • $19,925 (1997 Dodge Caravan SE)
  • $20,755 (1997 Dodge Grand Caravan SE)
  • $25,215 (1997 Dodge Caravan LE)
  • $25,905 (1997 Dodge Grand Caravan LE)
  • $25,475 (1997 Dodge Grand Caravan SE with all-wheel drive)
  • $29,070 (1997 Dodge Grand Caravan LE with all-wheel drive)

Shipping prices[]

  • $560 (1993-1996 models)
  • $580 (1997 models)


Video Clips[]


Dodge Grand Caravan 3DR Minivan (1996)