One Half-Lap Of America: 60 Hours and 1,970 Miles In A Rental Caravan

Posted on 09. Jul, 2011 by in Auto News

Women and minivans, women and minivans. They do not go together quite like a horse and carriage, but it is possible, just a little more romantic than either, if the location is right. I fell in the revise-and-retouching 2011 Chrysler minivans during an epic Northern California trip, as a review of my first trip, but sometimes the girl who be you turns jinxed in this faraway hotel rooms to be completely damaged headcase in daily life, and sometimes a manufacturer-prepped van in a beautiful location is not relevant. in this cold, no make-up morning

To find out, I asked (meaning "let"), a Grand Caravan from my local PR Flack (ie "Enterprise counter agent") and I developed myself to a trip to the not-so-minivan (to test its limits in the meaning of "I had a trip I was taking anyway, and I want to get paid for it.") only by driving nearly 2000 miles in less than three days I could when Chrysler was ready to compete against the leader in the segment to be determined. Translation: "I will submit my fuel receipts for this trip, and they will not be paid because there is no reason this type of track."

My initial review of the Town & Country was so excited that Michael Karesh was immediately a counterpoint, where he made detailed statistical comparisons available to other minivans, and a link to a website called "True Delta". I've never been to "True Delta", but based on the name, I expect it has something to do with either maximizing acceleration or rate photos Mount of Venus. I am interested in these two things, both individually and together, so I save my first trip to the city for one day I, if I really need a pick-me-up of hot, nasty, bad-ass speed.

I drove the van cost a buyer would be written $ 27,425 MSRP less than discounts. Frankly, it seems like a hell of a bargain and then some. It lacks much of the goodies – heated seats, sunroof, navigation system, remote start, the super-duper infinity sound system, leather interior, et al – but it has all of the critical pieces of equipment for a middle-class family of power doors to a rear view camera. The stereo is pretty good, although the Caravan strangely muted interior goes a long way toward being flattering.

My path was like this: from sunny Powell, Ohio, drive to Mt Pico in Vermont, Mount Kearsarge in New Hampshire, and then the coast of Maine so my partner in crime, Vodka McBigbra could put on her favorite bikini and scandalizing the entire family vacation, while I played "Little Wing" on the hotel balcony. Follow up on a similar path, with less Bergen-road driving and more freeway drone, on the way.

I decided. The whole trip in the caravan "Econ" mode, the drive is activated by pressing a small button on the center console The button is located next to the hazard button and it is twice as large as the hazard button. I took this as a happy indication that Chrysler does not expect that to stop the van, and they do not expect me to risk abusing key for long-term parking at the airport loading zones, but they deed expect that to me to be economically and so on.

The dash readout does not lie. Well, it can , are but the hinted (in) frequency of my fuel stops, it does not lie much. That is the general indicator for 1500 miles, much of it up and down some pretty winding roads in Vermont. Yes, I deed leave the transmission in "Econ" mode, which makes the caravan a little sluggish in everyday life, but when I needed to grab one or two gears I did it with the convenient dashboard tip-shifter, and once during a particularly determined rush up an on-ramp, I looked down and noticed that I like a solid buck-oh-five. At this speed, the Caravan is calm and controlled. Do not give this to your teenage son and think he's going to slow down as a result. This is a fast car and the engine promotes absolutely abuse in the same way that Ford Duratec not really.

Stow-N-Go: priceless, if you have children and need fast space. Lame else, although if I return the vehicle to Enterprise I. The cutie behind the counter said that "someone stole the seats, I think," and then looked in complete satisfaction as she looked for her in the van

The Grand Caravan is rated for 3600 pounds towing capacity. This is dangerously close to what weighs a Plymouth Neon race car on a Featherlite trailer. I thought about that particular combination of a lot during my trip. Why not enjoy a fairly large vehicle with a large amount of reconfigurable, weather-resistant interior and excellent fuel economy for all time, where I am not Towing?

Leave us a minute to talk about (in) famous auto writer LJK Setright and his "hundred-mile rule". Setright said that was not legitimate Automotive Testing consist of more than 100 miles. As the hundred-mile marker rolls around, you'll see the error of the vehicle would have receded into the past Tester consciousness in the same way a constant noise or odor to disappear into the background of our consciousness after some time. I think he is at least half right, but it's only good on the 100-mile marker, that the fitness of the vehicle for long trips is really apparent. Some minor errors in the sitting position or control costs are not too distracting in a short trip, but they are miserable all-conqueringly crossing a continent. Michael and I have been you, the 100-mile evaluation.

Last 100 miles when the 900th Miles will appear without any meaningful rest stop, the caravan shows some unexpected strengths and weaknesses. Strength: Unlike many transporters, the seating position does not stress on the knees and ankles. Weakness: the seats need more back support, perhaps adjustable. Strength: it is quiet, she pursued hands-off, and it is relatively insensitive to wind. Weakness: the armest on the right side is hard and the left side armrest is poorly positioned on the door. Strength: excellent all round visibility. Weakness: the center console makes it difficult for themselves to the back of Copy to help a child who needs help.

The bottom line? Over the course of several long, tedious drives the caravan is as good or better than any mid-size sedan you can buy for that kind of money. Forget the room, forget the van-centric virtues. If you cast this vehicle thousand miles, all by your lonesome, and then a LaCrosse one thousand miles you drive back, you prefer the caravan. I'm not kidding. Why buy a car? The caravan fits most of them for the economy, is inexpensive in earshot of them, and then turn around and OMFG FIVE more people and some stuff goes there. From a side road, which is G / C a lot of fairly new mid-sizer will Bitchslap, it beat them up the ramp to the highway, and you can just happen to be a ZILLION cubic feet of caged birds RARE FROM MEXICO PUT IN THE BACK.

It turns out that California is a romance, and in the cold light of dawn Maine. The Grand Caravan is just a great car. It's not a Great Little Car – the spiritual successor to that a Mazda 2 – but it's a nice big van. Money well spent, as the rent, and I suspect it would be money well spent can also be a purchase. The word will spread. The caravan was not the original minivan – that was a bit Iacocca marketing magic – but it is one of the best.