The Great Minivan Mystery

Dodge Grand Caravan

There wasn’t a lot of outrage when Dodge decided that the Grand Caravan needed to go. There was a little bit of curiosity and maybe some shock from certain family-oriented car buyers, but no one threw much of a fuss about the news.

The death of the Grand Caravan signals the end of an era and echoes a changing attitude about family transportation. Minivans are becoming a smaller niche market as car-based crossovers and SUVs secure their places in the driveways of America’s suburbs.

Few people cried over the loss of the Grand Caravan because Chrysler would still sell its identical twin, the Chrysler Town & Country. For all intents and purposes, the Grand Caravan was dead.

So why then, out of nowhere, did spy photographers capture images of what appears to be a new Grand Caravan, cloaked in heavy camo, testing in the American Southwest?

There’s been no other indication that Dodge, or its corporate overlord FCA, have changed their minds about the Grand Caravan. Dodge is beginning its transition into a performance-oriented brand, while Chrysler intends to move slightly upmarket into a mass-market near-luxury brand. If a minivan were to exist, it makes sense to keep it as a Chrysler.

But there’s another little surprise in the test mule: It doesn’t appear to have a tailpipe.

Could Dodge be preparing to shock the minivan world with an all-new Grand Caravan equipped with either an electric or hybrid drivetrain? If so, no one is talking. Officials at FCA remain set in saying the company’s next minivan will wear the Chrysler wings on its grille. So what is the mysterious test mule that’s been spotted?

Maybe it’s just an experiment, or maybe it’s an indication of something new to come in the next few years. Or maybe Dodge really will field a new Grand Caravan when the current one expires.

One thing for sure, the Grand Caravan as we know it is gone. That leaves the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna to compete with the Town & Country, and who knows how long those will last.

Would an electric or hybrid minivan be interesting to you?

-tgriffith

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Used Dodge Grand Caravan
Used Chrysler Town & Country
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