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1998 Dodge Caravan Review
A capable van for the American family.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 1998 Dodge Caravan serves as a family minivan manufactured by the Dodge brand of Chrysler. It debuted in 1984 along with the Plymouth Voyager. In 1987, the long-wheelbase version of the Caravan began and sold as the Grand Caravan. From that year onwards, the Dodge Caravan name referred only to the short-wheelbase version of the minivan.
The 1998 Dodge Caravan has two sister vehicles and sells under different nameplate variants around the world. It currently marks the 13th best-selling nameplate in the world.
Engines: 2.4-liter I-4, 3.0-liter V-6, 3.3-liter V-6, 3.8-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, three-speed automatic
Models: Dodge Caravan, Dodge Caravan SE, Dodge Caravan LE
The 1998 Dodge Caravan offers a new engine option this year, a 3.8-liter V-6. The minivan gets rear seat-mounted hooks for hanging miscellaneous items such as grocery bags. A new Quad seating arrangement has also makes entry and exit much easier than in previous models. The airbags inside the Caravan upgrade to next-generation airbags with a lower force of deployment.
Based on Chrysler’s NS platform, the 1998 Dodge Caravan looks good with its smooth and aerodynamic styling. Nevertheless, the exterior of the van does not go over the top and remains conventional. The front fascia comes fitted with the trademark crosshair grille used by Dodge.
The 1998 Caravan sits a wheelbase of 113.3 inches and has an overall length of 186.3 inches as compared to the 199 inches of the large-wheelbase Grand Caravan. Both versions measure in with the same width of 76.8 inches, but the Caravan reaches a total height of 68.5 inches.
The interior of the Caravan offers a generous amount of space. All the seats offer ample legroom and headroom for average-height passengers. Moreover, the large rear and side windows and windshield of the 1998 Dodge Caravan offer great visibility for the driver.
The low-slung dashboard of the Caravan has an attractive design, and the controls themselves mostly seem well-placed and easy to access by the driver and front passenger. However, the climate controls look a little confusing and poorly marked. On a positive note, all the controls and power window switches have a backlight, making them easier to see and operate at night.
Entry and exit to and from the 1998 Dodge Caravan seems easy because of its low step-up height. However, the highlights of this minivan include its innovative seat arrangement and its removable seats. The removable seats can easily be fixed and removed, but the difficult part comes when carrying them in and out of the van. Each of them weighs around 90 pounds, so two people must work together to move them.
The 1998 Dodge Caravan offers a decent amount of cargo space and lots of storage room inside the cabin itself. Storage bins sit in strategic locations from the front to rear for holding miscellaneous items.
Performance & Handling
The 1998 Dodge Caravan offers a 2.4-liter, straight-four engine that delivers 150 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque and three V-6 engine options. The first, a three-liter engine, delivers 150 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. The 3.3-liter engine delivers 158 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque, and the 3.8-liter engine delivers 166 horsepower and 227 lb-ft of torque.
Both the straight-four engine and the three-liter V-6 remain rather underpowered even for occasional trips with a good number of people inside the van. The other two engines provide enough power to get the job done.
The NHTSA gives the 1998 Dodge Caravan four out of five stars in terms of driver and passenger safety during frontal-impact tests.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Powerful 3.8-liter engine
- Great ride quality
- Spacious interior and cargo area
You Won't Like
- Underperforming I-4 and base V-6 engine
- Poor fuel economy
A capable van for the American family.
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