meet the new frostbite one.

So I got to upgrade the long-in-the-tooth Dogevan last week. I was briefly flirting with the idea of downsizing and going with a Mazda5 or a Mistubishi Outlander, based on their ability to serve as a six- and seven-seater respectively in a pinch.

In the end, however, I decided on getting…another Grand Caravan.

Here’s the new Frostbite One, a Dodge Grand Caravan R/T:

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(Chicken sold separately.)

It’s pretty tricked-out, being the top trim of the Grand Caravan line. It still seems silly for Dodge to use the hallowed R/T (Road/Track) label for a seven-seat box on wheels, but it does make some concessions to sportiness, as far as that’s possible for a minivan. The suspension is a little more firm (the R/T has a dual-shock setup), and the color scheme is decidedly monochrome with the smoke-colored headlights and fascia. 

It’s not a Challenger R/T, but compared to the old Dogevan, this thing flies. The old one had a 170HP V6 bolted to a four-speed automatic transmission. This one has a 283HP V6 bolted to a six-speed. You won’t be taking on any Porsches with it, but for a vehicle of its size, it can haul a respectable amount of ass. You put your foot down hard on the accelerator on an on-ramp, and things will happen. And it gets roughly the same gas mileage as the old engine thanks to the more efficient transmission and newer engine tech.

This is the new workplace:

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All leather, with more hidden storage compartments than a Corellian freighter, and with the navigation package that was at the top of my wish list. Not sexy, but comfy and convenient. It makes the old van look very frumpy in comparison.

The kids have a DVD screen in the back that pops out of the ceiling, and wireless infrared headphones so the adults in the front seats don’t have to listen to the fourth straight on-the-road showing of Frozen. And there’s an I/O panel in the bottom of the B-pillar that lets you feed the onboard entertainment display via HDMI or composite cables:

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It even has a 110V outlet right underneath, so you can plug in a gaming console to keep the kids busy when you run out of movies. We didn’t have that kind of luxury when I was a kid, no sirree. We had rocks! And we was thankful!

The old Dogevan served us without any trouble for almost eight years, which is why I leaned toward another. Also, I have gotten spoiled by the utility of the full-sized van. Haul seven people or 150 cubic feet of cargo, or any combination thereof, with seats that disappear in the floor at the flick of a lever, and a cargo bay that lets you transport a tall stack of standard 4×8 drywall or plywood sheets if you have to.

If this new Dogevan serves us half as well as the last one did, it was worth the purchase. And just to make sure I don’t get stuck with any random gremlins, I also got the lifetime Mopar bumper-to-bumper warranty with it. 

Now to roll my pennies for that supplemental fun vehicle to put into the garage next to this thing. They do have a lovely flame-orange Challenger R/T sitting on the lot…

12 thoughts on “meet the new frostbite one.

  1. My wife hated that van. But she liked the Toyota.

    I highly recommend winter tires. But you are from NH, you knew that.

    As far as blowing the doors off a Porsche, I hear you, but I take comfort in the article I read a couple of years ago about a stock Odyssey, with good “racing” tires, _easily_ hanging with or edging out a gaggle of two seat British sports cars from the late 50 and 60’s on a race track. They CAN haul mass with tremendous alacrity, for what they are.

    Also, it got to the race track a 1000 miles away with 5 people and their coffee , gear and the tires in the back. In the Rain. With working A/C , heating and a radio you can hear.

  2. “You won’t be taking on any Porsches with it, but for a vehicle of its size, it can haul a respectable amount of ass.”

    0-60 in 7.7 is nothing to sneeze at, even today.

    It’s faster than the original 911 and faster than most 924s, or the earlier 944s.

    • Yup, that’s only a little over a second behind the Zed Drei and only two-tenths off the 0-60 time of my old 924S.

      • And with a DVD system for the kids, satellite radio, 500W stereo, and air conditioning. Living in the future: pretty rad after all.

        • To put it in perspective, it’s probably a good full second faster to sixty than your old 325i, and packs a hundred more ponies under the hood. :)

  3. This seems like a good opportunity to mention what my friend said in high school, which was that it was easy to beat Porsches and BMW’s in his Ford Falcon, particularly when they don’t know he was racing.

  4. “It’s not a Challenger R/T…”

    Careful what you wish for; way too soon you can have one of those, or whatever impractical imprudence you may feel deprived of right now. And then your heart will ache to trade back for something with all those extra seats…and the munchkins to fill them.

    Trust me on this.

    Still, post-munchkin, the yearning for years past is tempered by the warm memories of them…better to have loved and lost etc. etc.

  5. Was wondering about the cargo capacity on the old Dodgevan you had… that would take a 4X8 sheet? I have this thing about pickup trucks. But I need a better way to handle sheet goods. But then I will have to wrap my mind around a minivan… The full-size Ford, full-size Chevy/GM get ridiculous gas mileage – from my POV anyway.

    • Same cargo capacity as the old Dogevan…144 cubic feet, and enough space between the wheel wells to haul 4×8 sheets. Gas mileage on our recent 3,000-mile trip was 28MPG highway. Not bad for a 280HP mill.

  6. My wife and I are on our fourth Grand Caravan, even though 4 of our 5 sprogs of left the nest. A minivan is just too handy and practical – comfortable on a trip and a practical hauler of people and things.

    Sadly the Grand Caravan is being discontinued, the Town & Country is sticking around however, and apparently will be offered in a hybrid asvwell