The Dodge Caravan is the original minivan. First introduced in 1983, the Caravan quickly became synonymous with family transportation. Dodge followed up on its innovation of this new market segment by being the first to offer minivans with a sliding rear door, then the first to offer them with two. In recent years, it has lost a bit of its edge on competitors, with Japanese and Korean makers raising the bar on power, refinement, interior design, and safety.
The 2005 Dodge Caravan is part of the fourth generation of Caravans, introduced in 2001. With a shorter, 113-inch wheelbase, and 189 inches of overall length, this generation of Caravans is one of the easiest to maneuver. It’s also one of the most affordable. DaimlerChrysler introduced its 2005 models in January 2004 at the North American International Auto Show. Sales began in early 2004. The Chrysler Town & Country minivans are similar to Dodge's models but have more upscale interior features.
Body Styles: minivan
Engines: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 3.3-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Dodge Caravan SE, Dodge Caravan CV, Dodge Caravan SXT
2005 marks the first year the Dodge Caravan offers optional full-length side curtain airbags. A driver’s-side knee airbag is newly standard on all models. Fold-away second- and third-row seats offer added convenience, and a tire inflation monitoring system is newly available.
New options for 2005 include modular ceiling tracks that allow moving and removing storage bins, a CD holder, and a first aid kit, and Chrysler’s UConnect, which uses the audio system as a hands-free wireless link to cell phones.
The exterior of the 2005 Dodge Caravan is similar to the previous year’s model. Dodge’s distinctive crosshair grille has a U-shaped design with black bars. A new front fascia has a molded license plate pocket and new foglamps. The SXT trim features restyled 16-inch aluminum wheels, while SE models feature 15-inch steel wheels with new wheel covers. A monochromatic exterior color scheme is standard on all but the SE model. Power operation for the passenger-side sliding door is optional.
Standard equipment on the SE trim includes variable intermittent windshield wipers and rear intermittent wiper, all-season tires, and an underbody-mounted, temporary spare tire. The CV trim adds a rear defogger and a full-size, matching spare tire. The top-of-the-line SXT adds power-operated rear quarter windows and auto delay off headlamps.
All regular Caravan minivans seat seven occupants. The seats are constructed with super-high-density foam, developed by NASA for the space program. Cargo volume behind the rear seat is 15.3 cubic feet. The standard Caravan offers plenty of passenger room, but with so little room behind the rear seats, luggage may be a hassle. The longer Grand Caravan is better suited to hauling people and their cargo for long road trips. With all seats removed, the Caravan holds 146.7 cubic feet of cargo.
Caravan SE features include air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, bucket front seats, a cargo net, front console with storage, front and rear 12-volt power outlets, and an AM/FM radio with CD player. The CV model is nearly identical on the interior but has a bigger engine. Caravan SXT features include dual-zone air-conditioning, a rear defroster system, and a tilt steering column. In addition, heated power mirrors, sunscreen glass, power door locks, and keyless illuminated entry are standard on the SXT. Power-adjustable pedals and integrated child-safety seats are optional.
Performance & Handling
A 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine in the SE produces 150 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque, while the CV and SXT get a 3.3-liter V-6 that produces 180 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque. All models have a four-speed-automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. The Caravan is quiet and composed on the highway and handles nimbly in around-town driving.
All 2005 Dodge Caravans feature standard multi-stage front airbags, a driver’s-side knee airbag, three-point seatbelts with pretensioners in the front, and an alert that notifies the driver when the sliding doors are in motion. An anti-lock brake system (ABS) is available as an option on the CV and SXT trims. Full-length side curtain airbags are optional on all models. In government crash tests, the Caravan receives four out of five stars across the board, except in side-impact tests, where it scores five stars for rear passenger protection. The Caravan also earns a four-star Rollover Resistance Rating.
EPA Fuel Economy
Dodge Caravan: 17/24 mpg city/highway
- Agile handling
- Low price
- Easy entry and exit
- Passenger and cargo room
You Won't Like
- Limited availability of some safety features
- Some cheap interior materials
- Fuel economy
- Poor acceleration in four-cylinder models
Offers an enjoyable ride in a no-frills package for the family on a budget.
If You Like This Vehicle
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- Chrysler Town & Country
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