The best feature on the Grand Caravan, though — the one that makes Honda engineers snap their pencils in jealous frustration — is the Stow 'N Go seating system.
Stow 'N Go means you can make the back seats fold into the floor in just a few easy steps. Flip a few leavers, and your seats disappear, leaving a flat loading surface that gives you the flexibility of a cargo van.
And when your seats are filled with passengers, you can use the Stow 'N Go holes in the floor as extra storage.
In the end, you have a simple choice to make. Do you want the Odyssey — a better minivan by most measures — or do you want the
cheaper-feeling Grand Caravan with magical seats and $3,000 sitting on the hood?
Minivan buyers, good luck. You've got some tough decisions to make this year.
Derek Price writes for CNHI News Service, which distributes his column.
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What was tested?
2011 Dodge Grand Caravan Crew ($28,695). Options: DVD player ($1,300), power liftgate ($425), navigation system ($695). Price as tested (including $835 destination charge): $31,950.
Why buy it?
Its base price is nearly $3,000 cheaper than the Honda Odyssey, and that's before any incentives. Its Stow 'N Go seating system is pure genius.
Why avoid it?