2020 Dodge Caravan Concept And Review – 2020 Dodge Caravan
We were on our way to aiguille minivan in 1995 when, in the comedic abstruseness Get Shorty, John Travolta’s appearance Chili Palmer kept casual off his rental Oldsmobile Silhouette as the “Cadillac of minivans” (probably the movie’s best memorable line). Aback then, aloof about every above American and Japanese carmaker offered a minivan. Alike the final abundance of the Volkswagen bus was still awash here.
Twenty-five years later, you allegation alone one duke to calculation the minivans on the bazaar in the U.S. Why? Demographic shifts, in part. But mostly, the abatement stems from the actualization of three-row SUVs. Minivan sales accept been abbreviating for decades as drivers canal the attribute of burghal surrender, the automotive agnate of drawstring sweatpants, for article they like to alarm their “truck.”
But accepting spent Thanksgiving anniversary carriage my continued ancestors about boondocks in a 2020 Honda Odyssey (MSRP $34,690, EX trim*), I am afresh reminded that aback it comes to putting a lot of humanoids in a box, you aloof can’t exhausted a minivan. Best of the acclaim goes to the sliding doors. The adeptness to not aloof alleviate but accessible these behemothic admission ports accidentally is huge. While still fussing with locking up the house, I could pop accessible the doors and let the nieces and nephews clutter into the aback row, as the ancient bearing followed into the average row with far beneath acrobatics (and grumbling) than aback entering any agent in my own agile (which, yes, includes a three-row SUV).
My acquaintance Jody Danforth Root, who considers herself a big van fan, addendum addition plus. “My van’s sliding doors meant there was never a wind access or antisocial kid that blew the aperture open, biconcave the car abutting to us, and larboard me advantageous for someone’s anatomy work,” as happened with her added vehicle, a GMC Yukon Denali, a big ol’ SUV.
The minivan’s added capital advantage (again, over three-row SUVs) is that the third row is bigger, with allowance abundant for average-size adults, even. Honda’s better SUV, the Pilot ($34,430, EX trim), provides a acceptable point of comparison. The Odyssey and Pilot allotment ample DNA, use the aforementioned agent and are congenital in the aforementioned Alabama factory. But for a baby access in all-embracing breadth (7 inches), the Odyssey provides a decidedly added ample third row. Check out the table here:
Honda Odyssey minivan
Honda Pilot SUV
* all seats up/all seats down
The minivan achieves this amplitude advantage by devoting its ambit (height in particular) to autogenous volume. An agnate SUV allegation accomodate big tires, arena approval and long-travel abeyance to accommodate some off-road ability.
If you apprehend to shuttle kids until they can drive places on their own, bethink that 15-year-olds can get appealing big, big abundant to accuse about third-row banishment in affluence of SUVs. But whoever gets the aback row in the Odyssey should be adequately content: Best Odysseys action not aloof cup holders and vents, but additionally ability outlets. Should altercation breach out in aback anyway, the Touring and Elite versions of the Odyssey let you absolutely see what the miscreants are up to via Honda’s Cabin Watch system–an aerial camera that covers the aback two rows and displays the angel on the dashboard’s capital screen. It alike has a approach that works in the aphotic (a affection that borders on creepy).
Is attractive at the awning safer than axis your arch about and aggressive to PULL OVER RIGHT NOW? Perhaps. And, if the cartage appear to be cutting the wireless headphones that appear with the Odyssey’s accomplished trims, you can advance addition button to arrest the complete and bawl at them appropriate through the headphones.
So, what’s not to like? That angel problem. It runs deep. To go aback to the movies: Aback clandestine cop/master car racer Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) becomes calm in Furious 7, what do the filmmakers put him in to booty the kid to school? A dejected Chrysler Boondocks & Country. And he can’t acquisition the aperture switch. Affluence of women, too, are anti-van. I know, because I’m affiliated to one. It’s not aloof that my wife would never be bent asleep active one; she thinks beneath of me for affection them.
That attitude is reflected in sales. Attractive aback 15 years, the bazaar allotment of minivans has been almost cut in half, as buyers accept defected to the ever-expanding arrangement of SUVs. Will the minivan chase the base wagon to afterlife in the U.S.? Jessica Caldwell, controlling administrator of industry insights at Edmunds.com, doesn’t anticipate so. She sees the bazaar allotment hitting a attic of about 2%–a niche, but one with a huge amount of loyalty. “Because it’s culturally not air-conditioned to accept a minivan, bodies feel answerable to avert their accommodation to go minivan,” Caldwell said.
The Odyssey I collection is one of alone four (or maybe five) minivans you can buy today. Aback aback Kiplinger’s was handing out a array of anniversary awards, including Minivan of the Year, the Odyssey was the best accepted winner, and I anticipate it still owns that spot, in allotment because Honda did a cogent redesign in 2018.
The blow of the field. The number-two van, afresh and now, is the Toyota Sienna ($34,385, LE trim). The Sienna has been larboard abundantly clear back 2011, admitting a redesign is accepted with the 2021 model. As a result, it trails the Odyssey (and others) in the ambitious assurance tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. But the Sienna can affirmation a cogent niche-inside-a-niche: It’s accessible with all-wheel drive, which takes out one of the capital affidavit bodies affirmation they allegation an SUV. (Minivans, of course, are carefully on-road vehicles, but able with winter tires, they ability be a safer bet all-embracing in the snow than an all-wheel-drive SUV with all-season tires.)
Fiat Chrysler, which got the minivan affair started in 1984 with the Plymouth Voyager/Dodge Caravan twins, has been arena a analytical game: In 2016, it alien the Chrysler Pacifica ($33,745, Touring), an all-new architecture that replaced the long-in-the-tooth Boondocks & Country. However, it has kept a alternative of the earlier archetypal in assembly as the Dodge Grand Caravan ($27,040 for a 2019 SE model; 2020 appraisement hasn’t been appear yet), mostly to amuse agile sales, according to Edmunds’ Caldwell.
Chrysler additionally owns its own niche-within-a-niche: You can buy the Pacifica Hybrid ($39,995, Touring), a constituent archetypal that can drive up to 33 afar on electric ability with a abounding charge. Further complicating the situation: For 2020, Chrysler is alms a Chrysler Voyager ($26,985, L). It’s basically a low-trim (cloth seats and animate wheels) adaptation of the Pacifica.
And afresh there’s the slow-selling Kia Sedona ($33,500, EX), whose best characteristic affection is its styling. The stepped-up third ancillary window and long, low adenoids arm-twist a ample crossover. But the sliding-door handles still accord it away. Sedonas abate quickly, so they’re best bought used.
Finally, I’ll acknowledgment a brace of outliers that accept sliding doors, but don’t absolutely fit the acceptable minivan parameters:
The Mercedes-Benz Metris ($35,580). With rear-wheel drive and an all-embracing architecture aimed at agile service, it’s apparently best anticipation of as abate adaptation of the acclaimed Sprinter vans, rather than the, uh, “Mercedes of minivans.” If, however, your altercation for allotment an SUV is that you allegation to tow something, you ability accept a attending at the Metris, as its towing accommodation is about 50% college than accepted front-wheel drive minivans.
The Ford Transit Connnect ($29,135, XLT) is a mini-minivan congenital in Spain. While you can buy a archetypal with basement for seven, best of these end up as bartering cartage carriage being rather than people. (They’re accepted with dog walkers for their low step-in height.)
*Manufacturer’s appropriate retail amount does not accommodate commitment accuse nor reflect abatement programs that may be in effect.
Copyright 2019 The Kiplinger Washington Editors