Your family deserves something more than an A-to-B vehicle. They deserve the space, privacy, and modern features that can only come from a brand-new minivan like the 2017 Odyssey or Grand Caravan. Both of these vans come with their pros and cons, but only one is the ideal fit for your family. Read on to discover how Honda’s newest Odyssey matches up with outdated Dodge Grand Caravan.
Space & Comfort: Your Family’s Must-Haves
With the Odyssey, you’ll have three amazingly spacious rows and more than 208 cubic feet of interior volume for your family to grow in.
The second row of seats offer the same amount of leg room (nearly 41 inches) as the front and can slide front to back and side to side, which is the ultimate form of minivan-versatility. Behind it is the very comfy third-row Magic Seat®; in higher Odyssey trims, this rear seat comes with central armrests and can accommodate an additional eighth passenger—something the Grand Caravan can’t feasibly do. Flip a lever and pull a strap, and the back row can fold down completely or in half to give occupants more cargo space.
Speaking of cargo, the Odyssey can haul 38.4 cubic feet of “stuff,” with the ability to up that to a maximum of 148.5 cubic feet with the rear and second-row seats folded in. That’s quite a bit more than what’s offered in the Grand Caravan, and any of its minivan competitors, for that matter. What’s best is the Odyssey’s built-in organization functionality; you’ll find lots of little hooks, bins, and storage compartments in the back and throughout the cabin, as well as a front-seat drawer, cooler compartment, and a useful hook for trash bags. We mustn’t forget the HondaVAC® system, either, since Dodge’s minivan has no such onboard clean-up feature.
The Grand Caravan hasn’t rece
ived more than a refresh in about a decade—and it shows. Its seats are fine if you’re not taking any lengthy journeys; their cushions need support as they’re flat and thin, particularly in the back rows. Simply put, the minivan’s seats feel as if they won’t last multiple road trips. In the front, seats offer more lumbar support, but their position relative to the pedals leaves much to be desired, especially for taller drivers. While the Grand Caravan’s Stow ‘n Go second-row seat is certainly helpful, the Odyssey’s Multi-Function Center Seat is just as good if not better thanks to its ease of use. And its 195.8 cubic feet of interior volume can’t compete with the Odyssey’s.
Honda’s Odyssey is the clear choice if interior comfort is one of your concerns, and when isn’t it?
Unequaled Safety & Performance
Spaciousness isn’t the only requirement you should have when shopping for a minivan; safety features and performance are just as important if not more so, and the all-new Odyssey is right at the top in both departments.
Although the 2017 Odyssey hasn’t yet earned an official IIHS rating, it will likely carry over the same Top Safety Pick qualifications as last year. To back up this prediction is the five-star overall rating from the NHTSA. And five LATCH anchors means five separate and properly installed car seats.
With respect to safety features, all Honda Odyssey vans come standard with a rearview camera—not standard on all Dodge Grand Caravan trims—and hands-free Bluetooth functionality to help keep driver distractions to a minimum. LaneWatch is standard on all but the base Odyssey, and blind-spot alert is also available on more Odyssey trims than Grand Caravan models. Outward visibility is a great selling point for the Odyssey, as well.
The IIHS wasn’t too kind to the Grand Caravan. It scored an adequate four-star rating with the NHTSA, but the IIHS rated it as “poor” in its small-overlap crash category. That’s a big red flag, as is the lack of standard rearview cameras in its value-oriented trims.
In the performance department, the Odyssey clearly outshines the Grand Caravan. While Dodge’s minivan earns EPA-estimated MPGs of 17 city/25 highway, the Odyssey comes in at 19 city/27 highway. The Odyssey also embraces the road better; it’s surprisingly agile handling and absorbent suspension keep cabin sway limited, and the six-speed transmission shifts smoothly and quickly. The Grand Caravan doesn’t feel as composed, offering minimal dampening over rough roads and bumps and a noisier cabin.
Our Miami Valley Honda Dealers’ Recommendation
Biased as it may be, the new Honda Odyssey is a much better buy than the Dodge Grand Caravan. It handles astoundingly well, has a supremely spacious interior, and some best-in-class safety ratings and features. Plus, it’s won U.S. News’s 2017 Best Minivan for the Family Award for the seventh straight year. For drivers restricted by a budget, the Odyssey SE is a great option, though the Odyssey EX-L offers the most value of the bunch thanks to a plethora of features.
Ready to transform your next family road trip into a first-class vacation? Then come and visit your nearest Miami Valley Honda Dealers to test drive the new Odyssey. We have Honda dealerships throughout Ohio, including the areas of Springfield, Beavercreek, Dayton, and Richmond. In addition to the award-winning 2017 Odyssey, our dealerships also proudly sell and lease other new Honda models and used cars.
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