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1997 Dodge Grand Caravan

  • 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan Base Minivan
    • MAX MPG
      25
    • SEATS
      7
    • HP/TORQUE
      150/167
    • ENGINE
      2.4L I4
    • MSRP
      $18,580
  • 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan ES Minivan
    • MAX MPG
      22
    • SEATS
      7
    • HP/TORQUE
      158/203
    • ENGINE
      3.3L V6
    • MSRP
      $26,495
  • 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan LE Minivan
    • MAX MPG
      22
    • SEATS
      7
    • HP/TORQUE
      158/203
    • ENGINE
      3.3L V6
    • MSRP
      $25,905
  • 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan SE Minivan
    • MAX MPG
      22
    • SEATS
      7
    • HP/TORQUE
      150/167
    • ENGINE
      2.4L I4
    • MSRP
      $20,755
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1997 Dodge Grand Caravan Review

Upgraded features make this van a great choice.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

Dodge’s segment-leading minivan continues to be one of the best family vehicles on the market. The 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan brings a lot to the table and shows just why the line has been the top-selling minivan. Adequate engines, a great choice of trims, and a driver’s-side sliding door all come in a modern, aerodynamic design that shows a big change from the boxy minivans of previous generations. The Grand Caravan drives and tows like a small truck and offers the cargo capacity of a van.

Very little changes for the new model year of the Grand Caravan. Much of it affects the cosmetic department, but some additions make the Grand Caravan easier to operate and safer.

The Range

Body Styles: minivan
Engines: 2.4-liter four cylinder, 3.0-liter V-6, 3.3-liter V-6, 3.8-liter V-6
Transmissions: three-speed automatic, four-speed automatic
Models: Dodge Grand Caravan, Dodge Grand Caravan SE, Dodge Grand Caravan LE, Dodge Grand Caravan ES

What's New

In the second year of the new generation, the 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan gets little in the way of updates. Traction control becomes available on the LE or ES, but not on the base or SE. An enhanced accident response system comes standard on all models and unlocks the doors and turns on the interior lights automatically in the case of airbag deployment. New paint colors become available; a new wheel style has been given to the base; and the interior receives additional sound dampening. The transmission also gets new software for smoother shifts.

Exterior

The outside of the 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan is a far cry from where it started. Where the original caravan looked boxy, the new Grand Caravan appears angular in the front and rounded-off in the back. More colors become available this year and new wheel covers come on the base. The driver’s-side sliding door is unique to the Grand Caravan and comes standard on the LE and ES. This feature makes a great addition to the minivan model range, and it would not be surprising to see this work its way across to the other carmakers. The second sliding door allows passengers and cargo to be loaded and unloaded faster and with less confusion.

Interior

The inside of the 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan seems spacious and considerate of the needs of a family. With seating for five or seven and enough storage space for the necessary cargo, it works well for long trips, soccer practice, and all family applications in between. The easy-out roller seats allow two people to easily remove the seats in a matter of seconds. The seats themselves feel comfortable. The dashboard looks extremely well laid-out and easy to navigate. Driver visibility looks good, with plenty of windows and slim pillars.

Performance & Handling

The 2.4-liter, four-cylinder standard engine in the 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan seems fairly inadequate for the base seven-passenger model. With the longer wheelbase and seating arrangements, the three-liter V-6 is almost necessary for getting decent performance. The 3.3-liter engine partnered with the four-speed transmission should be adequate for almost any normal use. For towing, the 3.8-liter provides a necessity. With the longer wheelbase than its partner vehicle, the Caravan, the Grand Caravan still handles very well. The ride feels smooth, and the van seems very easy to control and maneuver. The four-wheel drive makes a great option, especially for areas with inclement weather.

Safety

Driver and passenger front airbags come standard on the 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes are available on the base and come standard on all other models. The Grand Caravan receives four stars out of five for passenger protection and three out of five for driver protection in a frontal crash from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Grand Caravan a “Marginal"" rating for overall safety, including a “Good"" rating for head, neck, and chest safety measures.

EPA Fuel Economy

Dodge Grand Caravan, 2.4-liter four-cylinder, three-speed automatic: 18/23 mpg city/highway
Dodge Grand Caravan, 2.4-liter four-cylinder, four-speed automatic: 16/23 mpg city/highway
Dodge Grand Caravan, 3.0-liter V-6, three-speed automatic: 17/22 mpg city/highway
Dodge Grand Caravan, 3.3-liter V-6, four-speed automatic: 16/22 mpg city/highway
Dodge Grand Caravan, 3.8-liter V-6, four-speed automatic: 15/22 mpg city/highway
Dodge Grand Caravan, AWD 3.0-liter V-6, four-speed automatic: 14/20 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Low price
  • Plenty of interior space
  • Decent handling for a minivan

You Won't Like

  • Inadequate base engine
  • Useless base model

Sum Up

Upgraded features make this van a great choice.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Dodge Caravan
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Oldsmobile Silhouette

See the New 2015 Grand Caravan.

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