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2012 Dodge Caravan vs Town & Country

April 19, 2012

When I first saw the Dodge Caravan along aside the Chrysler Town and Country they looked as if they came out of the same factory just on different days. The Town and Country was the one with the fancier trim and higher price tag.

Well, today we are going to take a closer look at the two. I want to see if my first impression ten years ago holds true for the 2012 models of each.

I started out by visiting the website of each, because I found it extremely hard to get a dealer put the two side by side. The Chrysler website was more flashier, with a lot of putting my cursor over a link instantly bringing up previews of that page. Dodge’s website was a little simpler. It lets me choose what I want to look at other than hovering my cursor over it. I had to definitely click on the link.

To start the Dodge Caravan comes in four basic trims; American, ST, SXT, and Crew. The American is marketed as the Dodge Caravan’s basic trim. Having less features than the other three, it comes with a 3.6 liter engine delivering 283 horsepower to the wheels via a six speed automatic transmission. The Crew trim  does have a lot more features for transporting just people as opposed to people and cargo.

The Chrysler Town and Country has only three basic trims; Touring, Touring L, and Limited. Under the hood of these three trims is the same 3.6 liter engine producing the same 283 horsepower to the wheels via a six speed automatic transmission. The only real differences in these trims is the fancier interior along with multimedia options.

I thought it was interesting to note that US News Rankings and Reviews rated the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan 6 out of 8 in the Minivans category. While the 2012 Chrysler Town & Country got the ranking of 5 out of 8 in the same category.

Looking at the detail reviews of the Dodge Caravan from US News shows they liked low base price, innovative Stow ‘n Go seating, and lots of cargo space. They felt the engine was what they called sluggish.

Now the next step better rating for the 2012 Chrysler Town & Country impressed the reviews with its smooth ride, versatile seating options, and great 283-horsepower V6. What they didn’t like was other vans have better performance, and the lack of driver leg room.

What I thought interesting was we have the same people reviewing basically the same vehicle with the same engine and the same transmission, producing the same horsepower. In the less expensive model the engine is called “Sluggish”, and in the more expensive model the performance is called “Great”. Tell me what I am missing something. Right now I see partiality in the reviewers eye for the fancier model.

I did a little research as to the cost of diagnosis and replacement of fuel injectors for the base trim for each. What I found was quite interesting. The cost of the fuel injectors was the same. However, the cost of replacing the same part was $10 to 20 higher in the Town and Country over the Dodge Caravan.

Now if you go over to MyCarStats.com you will find quite a list of issues around the Town and Country.  The Dodge Caravan does not have quite as long list of issues.

The Gas mileage for a Dodge Caravan is rated at 17 miles per gallon in the city and 25 on the open road. This is exactly the same mileage rating given to the Chrysler Town and Country.

Price to buy the Dodge Caravan will run you between $21,000 and $30,000 out the door, depending upon the trim and extras. The Chrysler Town and Country will cost you between $30,000 and $40,000 just to drive it off the lot. Big difference here.

Bottom-line: My perception of the 2012 Dodge Caravan beside the Chrysler Town and Country is still the same. In fact I think the cost difference has widen.

Now if you are going to spend a lot of time on the road transportation people, then you might want to consider the Crew trim of the Dodge Caravan. For the family who has to transport kids, dogs, and stuff the Caravan is the minivan for you.

Want to save more money? Get my little book, Cussins Family Shopping Guide. Here is a little book that will help you save big money. Just go to click here to get your copy today.

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