Dodge Caravan Sport (1997)


Dodge Caravan (1997)Perhaps we should add "Caravan Sport" to George Carlin's list of words thatjust have no business being used together. Remember "jumbo shrimp"?"Military intelligence"? At the very least, we have to add it to the listof Great Misleading Automotive Names. I think I'll pencil it in rightunder the Dodge Dart Swinger.

There's nothing wrong the Caravan. It's a perfectly nice minivan, as we'vesaid in our other reviews of it [link]. In fact, it's still probably thebest of the bunch. But "sport"? C'mon, guys! You might as well sell aDodge Neon "Luxury" package or a Dodge Ram "Sissy" version. There's justnothing sporty about a Dodge Caravan, no matter how manytimes you write "Sport" on the side of it.

The "Sport" package is a $1,600 option that's mostly cosmetic. Most of thestuff they throw in doesn't have anything to do with sportiness. Itincludes stuff like bucket seats, air conditioning and heated mirrors. Itdoes include a couple of parts that are supposed to improve the van'shandling, like wider wheels and a rear sway bar. But, I have to admit, Ididn't notice any difference in handling. I couldn't compare it side byside to a regular Caravan, but suffice it to say that you shouldn't tradein your BMW 328i for one of these babies just yet. It's still a minivan,and, "Sport" package or not, you're still gonna look like you're amiddle-aged mom on her way to pick up three kids from soccer when you driveit.

Minivan makers in general, and Chrysler in particular (because so much ofits business IS minivans), are trying to figure out how to make minivansseem less frumpy. Let's just say that the "Sport" version of the Caravanhasn't solved the problem yet. So, back to the drawing board, guys.

Oh...by the way...wondering what's in the "Sport" package? Here's therundown from Dodge: Air Conditioning Defroster; Rear Window (Required inNew York) with Windshield Wiper De-Icer and Dual Heated Mirrors; Seating: 7Passenger, Deluxe Front--Reclining Buckets with Armrest Middle, 2 PassengerReclining and Folding Bench with Adjustable Headrests, Armrest and Easy-OutRoller System, Rear--3 Passenger Reclining and Folding Bench withAdjustable Headrests, Adjustable Track and Easy-Out Roller System; DecorLiftgate and Doors; Body Color Fascias; Body Color Fog Lights; LuggageRack; Body Color Glass; Sunscreen and Solar Touring Handling Group; 16"Cast Aluminum Wheels; "Equinox" Design; Sparkle Silver Rear Sway Bar; SolidREQ (EGA). Phew!

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