Dodge Grand Caravan and Dodge Durango

The refreshed Dodge Grand Caravan is prepared to battle the minivan competition for the 2011 model year. Then again, the same could be said about the new Dodge Durango against its large SUV competitors. Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 powers both vehicles, making 283 horsepower in the front-wheel-drive minivan and 290 horsepower in the rear-wheel-drive Durango.

Fuel economy for the Durango V-6 is 16/23 mpg city/highway, which is lower than the expected figures for the 2011 Dodge van -- the 2010 Grand Caravan with a 4.0-liter V-6 is rated 17/25 mpg. Those using the Durango as a macho carpool SUV are wasting its capabilities. The Dodge SUV's 6200-pound towing capacity for a rear-wheel-drive V-6 model is significantly more useful than the maximum 3600-pound limit on the minivan. In addition, the Durango handles well for a large SUV. "Throw it at a turn and the Durango will lean a bit," we noted in our recent MT test, "but even two-wheel-drive variants hold tight to the road in emergency maneuvers, giving up only gradual understeer when pressed hard."

Inside, the starkest difference between the two seven-passenger vehicles is in cargo capacity. Take a large family on a road trip and you'll have 17.2 cu.-ft. of luggage space behind the third row of the Durango (and even less in the midsize Journey), compared to 33.0 cu.-ft. in the Grand Caravan. Penny-pinchers who don't mind 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers should try the Grand Caravan with its $25,830 base price. The Durango has a $30,045 MSRP.

Second/Third Row Legroom
Dodge Grand Caravan: 36.5/32.7 in.
Dodge Durango: 38.6/31.5 in.

Cargo Space Behind Third/Second Row
Dodge Grand Caravan: 33.0/83.3 cu.-ft.
Dodge Durango: 17.2/47.7 cu.-ft.

Turning Radius
Dodge Grand Caravan: 39.1 feet
Dodge Durango: 37.1 feet

Bottom Line
The Grand Caravan for maximum space; the Durango for image-conscious buyers with a boat to tow.