2006 Dodge Caravan

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2006 Dodge Caravan Review

Popular for a reason: it delivers a smooth ride at an affordable price.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

Introduced in 1984, the Dodge Caravan has sold over ten million models. It is similar to the Grand Caravan but has a shorter wheelbase. Last redesigned in 2001, it continues to offer good value for the economically-minded family. The minivan features good performance and handling; however, despite some quality improvements, mechanical issues continue to plague this vehicle. Therefore, it is advisable to get the extended warranty for anyone planning to keep the car past the basic three-year or 36,000-mile warranty. While there is more competition from foreign automakers, it still boasts smooth handling, good looks, and a comfortable ride.

The Range

Body Styles: minivan
Engines: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 3.3-liter V-6
Transmission: four-speed automatic
Models: Dodge Caravan SE, Dodge Caravan SXT, Dodge Caravan C/V

What's New

The 2006 Dodge Caravan has a handful of updated safety features, including a strengthened roof and side structure, side-curtain airbags, and a loose-fuel-cap warning indicator. As far as entertainment goes, the 2006 model is fitted with a new DVD-radio that plays CDs, MP3 CDs, and DVDs.

Exterior

The 2006 Dodge Caravan features the familiar Dodge crosshair grille with a U-shaped design and black bars. The front fascia has a molded license plate pocket and fog lamps. There is an optional rear spoiler available on the SE and SXT models. The SE features 15-inch aluminum wheels, while the SXT upgrades to 16-inch wheels. The tires are all-season, and there is a temporary spare mounted under the body. Overall, it measures 190 inches long and 69 inches high to the top of the roof rack.

Interior

The 2006 Dodge Caravan is not a minivan full of lush interior appointments, so buyers must be willing to get by with just the basics. It seats seven comfortably, and the seats are made from Super High Density Foam, which was developed by NASA for the space program. All models feature front reading lights and dual vanity mirrors. Also included is a cargo net, as well as front and rear 12-volt power outlets. There are only two trims available: the base SE and the upgraded SXT. The C/V is a cargo van designed for those seeking a reasonably-priced vehicle for commercial use. The SE features dual-sliding doors with an alert system, a 66-watt CD stereo with four speakers, and bench seating in the second and third rows. The SXT includes those amenities plus dual-zone manual air-conditioning with separate rear controls, power door locks and keyless entry, second-row bucket seats, tilt steering, sunscreen glass, and a split-bench third row. Power windows, locks, and mirrors are standard on the SXT and optional on the SE. The SXT has an optional trip computer, compass, and outside temperature display. Options on both models include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and power-adjustable pedals. Overall, it is not as well-equipped as some of its higher-priced competitors. When all the rows are up, it has 15 cubic feet of cargo space. When the second and third row seats are removed, that space opens up to 142 cubic feet.

Performance & Handling

The 2006 Dodge Caravan SE comes with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine hooked up to a four-speed automatic transmission. This combination produces 150 horsepower (hp) and 167 lb-ft of torque. Considering the size, it is simply not powerful enough. Thus, it is almost essential that the buyer upgrade to the SXT, which features a 3.3-liter, V-6 engine that provides 180 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque. In addition to the power boost, the upgraded engine also runs quieter at high speeds. The V-6 also comes standard on the C/V. The only transmission available on any model is a simple four-speed automatic. All-wheel drive (AWD) is not available.

Safety

The 2006 Dodge Caravan is equipped with standard front disc and rear drum brakes, but the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is only available as an option on the SXT. All models have driver-knee airbags, while full-length side-curtain airbags are optional on the SE and SXT. Traction and stability control are not available. In terms of safety features, the Caravan comes with child-seat anchors, rear-door child safety locks, passenger-airbag occupant-sensing deactivation, and a low-tire-pressure warning gauge. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awards the Dodge Caravan a perfect five-out-of-five rating for driver and front-passenger frontal impacts, a four-out-of-five rating for front-occupant side impacts, and a five-out-of-five rating for rear-occupant side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Caravan its top rating of ""good"" for restraints, and a lower rating of ""acceptable"" overall.

EPA Fuel Economy

Dodge Caravan four-cylinder: 17/24 mpg city/highway
Dodge Caravan V-6: 17/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Good handling
  • Roomy interior
  • Large cargo space
  • Low price point

You Won't Like

  • No traction or stability control
  • Quality issues
  • Weak standard engine on SE model
  • No standard ABS
  • Basic interior with some cheap parts

Sum Up

Popular for a reason: it delivers a smooth ride at an affordable price.

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