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Old 03-09-2011, 07:41 PM   #1
BigElm
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Default The minivan strong enough for a man

If perception is reality, then what is the new Dodge Grand Caravan R/T minivan? Or, as Dodge President Ralph Gilles likes to call it, the “man van.”

Gilles hopes it’s the answer to a question that’s as old as the minivan itself: how are you going to get a man who’d rather be driving a sports car to drive a Grand Caravan and like it? According to Gilles, you do it by endowing it with the kind of styling and features that bespeak a manly lifestyle. A more aggressive silhouette. Custom wheels. Performance suspension. More horsepower.

Dodge Grand Caravan R/T: Man Van?

Okay, maybe nobody’s likely to ask, ‘Is that the new Lamborghini?’ at stop lights. But as Gilles advises us, “I’ve taken it out on the road and I get a lot of thumbs up.”

And when’s the last time your Town & Country with the faux wood trim got that reaction? The R/T is scheduled to debut in showrooms next month but the vehicle’s success or failure won’t be measured by sales volume alone, he says. “We honestly don’t expect to sell a lot of them; basically it’s an experiment to see what it takes to ease a male driver from a sports car into a minivan.”

Nonetheless, it is an experiment born of necessity. In recent years growing numbers of drivers – male and female alike – have been snubbing minivans in favor of SUV’s. With U. S. sales of minivans falling from 1.37 million in 2000 to 460,154 in 2010 it’s likely every production carmaker will be watching to see if the new Dodge is a hit or a miss.

Of course, as Rebecca Lindland, chief automotive analyst with IHS Automotive of Lexington, Massachusetts, points out, what Dodge is doing is nothing new. “It’s what GM did with the Suburban; they took a mundane utility vehicle and transformed it into the Escalade, the very symbol of American glitz.”

Paradoxically where Cadillac’s chrome rims and lavish ornamentation screamed “Look at me”, the man van is intended to turn heads by the very absence of bright work. “We’ve removed all the chrome from the vehicle because the person who buys it doesn’t want it,” says Gilles.

Likewise, he says, while the exterior is available in eight different colors, the interior comes in one color and one color only – all black with red stitching – while the sport steering wheel and shift lever take on a more macho feel with red stitching over perforated leather. “It’s intended to scare off the run-of-the-mill minivan buyer,” says Gilles. “It’s all dark inside. Like having your own man cave.”

In this case, the cave is state of the art, with a sound system that boasts a manly 506 watts with nine speakers and a subwoofer.

While the R/T’s accoutrements hint at virile performance, its powerplant delivers nothing less. Its transversely mounted 3.6 litre produces 283 horsepower, an increase of 86 hp over the previous 3.8-liter pushrod V-6 and the best in its class. A new driver-selectable fuel-economy mode helps maximize engine efficiency. With the flip of a switch, the drive train management system changes the shift points on the 5-speed automatic transaxle to peak mileage. At the same time, its smaller displacement allows the new V-6 to deliver mileage comparable to the engine it replaces.

Specifications aside, the most significant thing about the R/T is the way it feels behind the wheel. “It’s fun to drive,” says Gilles. “For the young family that can afford just one vehicle, this softens the blow of having to drive a minivan.”

Dodge Grand Caravan R/T

It is too soon to say whether the R/T will make mini vans fashionable or not but for Steve Boyce, general manager for sales at Freehold Dodge in Freehold, New Jersey, sees it as a tremendous improvement over its less charismatic predecessors. “I’ve been here at Freehold Dodge for 27 years and in that time we’ve had some embarrassing interiors. This is a big change. It’s fun to look at, fun to drive, and fun to ride in.”

Or, he says, paraphrasing the Rolling Stones, “The R/T might not be what you want but it just might be what you need.”

Auto analyst Lindland, too, sees the R/T as a step forward. “Would I drive the R/T? Sure, it’s an opportunity to have a little fun.”

But no matter how macho, she says, it’s still a minivan.

“As soon as I didn’t need it any more I’d get rid of it.”

http://autos.yahoo.com/articles/auto...ugh-for-a-man/
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:45 PM   #2
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is it strong enough to drive itself to the junkyard?
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Old 03-09-2011, 08:25 PM   #3
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I read until "Dodge Grand Caravan."
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Old 03-09-2011, 09:20 PM   #4
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Dodge actually has some history here. Way back in the 80's, you could option the Caravan with a turbo engine. Throw in a MBC and some extra fuel...


Fairly beastly for a minivan...
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:39 PM   #5
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The Sienna SE is a better looking sporty van, IMO.

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Old 03-09-2011, 11:03 PM   #6
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All minivans are huge bitches. Why pretend that they aren't? They have to be in order to accommodate three real rows of seats. True story.

If I need 3 rows in the future maybe I'll get a small Sprinter
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chromer View Post
Dodge actually has some history here. Way back in the 80's, you could option the Caravan with a turbo engine. Throw in a MBC and some extra fuel...

Fairly beastly for a minivan...
My first car was an '89 (IIRC) Plymouth Voyager LE Turbo, White with gray "body kit", gray mesh mag wheels, red pinstripe, and dark red interior. And dark tint. And 10-speaker stereo (alot for those days). All standard. In high school I always had more girls riding home with me than my buddies with their Accords and Jeeps, lol...

And it was pretty damn quick for a minivan.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quentinberg007
The Sienna SE is a better looking sporty van, IMO.
as if any more proof is needed:
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:41 AM   #9
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The only thing they needed to add to that video is making it rain with a stack of diapers. I want one...
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
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as if any more proof is needed: YouTube - SWAGGER WAGON
That....was surprisingly entertaining and well done.
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:19 AM   #11
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Too bad GM doesn't make minivans anymore. They could have had one under the GMC name, give it an A-Team paint job with spoiler and even guys without families would be buying one.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:00 AM   #12
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Buy the Dodge and get lots of male bonding as you spend excessive time with the dudes in the dealer's service department!

Sienna FTW.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:51 AM   #13
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who exactly is trying to solve this "problem" and why?

here's how it works. if you want the most comfortable, lease costly, and most efficient 7-8 passenger vehicle, don't have big towing or offroad needs, and aren't minivan averse, you buy a minivan. the current crop of minivans have nailed the requirements, and are reasonably powerful and some are even decent to drive.

Those who are turned off by the idea or looks of a minivan aren't going to be swayed by this, they will instead buy a full size suv, which is even more profitable for companies like dodge.
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I read until "Dodge Grand Caravan."
+ 1
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:47 AM   #15
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I can see the advert campaign now.

"Minivan enough for a woman, but made for a man."

Personally, I'd rather have the Honda, but then I'd probably wake up and realize it was only a nightmare that I was having that was making me consider driving a minivan.

A VW bus, or even a Vanagon are the only acceptable minivan options for a guy, and then you have to be a patchouli loving hippie guy that lives in a commune, which is okay, because the fact that you technically drive a minivan is outweighed by the fact that you live in a commune, and you probably ascribe to free love, and as long as you turn off the lights, who cares that they don't shave armpits or legs?

Anyway, point is, it's still a minivan, Honda has the best in this segment. This thing looks very typical Dodge. With the possible exception of the Challenger, every dodge just looks like a cheap piece of plastic. It overwhelms me with meh.
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:51 AM   #16
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Dodge already tried this once.

If they want dudes to buy it, needs more hole in hood, several HEMI badges, more exhaust pipes.
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:58 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyeflyistheeye View Post
Too bad GM doesn't make minivans anymore. They could have had one under the GMC name, give it an A-Team paint job with spoiler and even guys without families would be buying one.
buy this guy a beer.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:44 AM   #18
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A man who doesn't know any better.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:53 AM   #19
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Mini-vans are about the number of cup holders, groceries carried and children seated. Someone has their sports mixed up, tennis players don't make good line backers.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:34 PM   #20
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A man shopping a minivan is a man that has determined that his testicles are no longer relevant.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:37 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irish44j View Post
My first car was an '89 (IIRC) Plymouth Voyager LE Turbo, White with gray "body kit", gray mesh mag wheels, red pinstripe, and dark red interior. And dark tint. And 10-speaker stereo (alot for those days). All standard. In high school I always had more girls riding home with me than my buddies with their Accords and Jeeps, lol...

And it was pretty damn quick for a minivan.
Friend of mine has one with a built motor and turbo upgrade. I rode in it... it's strange to feel boost pulling you and then here a blowoff valve. He was telling me how he embarassed an s2000 once. Did I mention it has A/C and comfortably seats 5?
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:38 PM   #22
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A man shopping a minivan is a man that has determined that his testicles are no longer relevant.
beater minivans are sweet though. We used to do all sorts of crazy **** with this $900 Craigslist Plymouth Voyager my buddy picked up.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:39 PM   #23
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Has everyone forgotten the Montana?







Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyeflyistheeye View Post
[...] GM doesn't make minivans anymore. [...]
Exactly.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:48 PM   #24
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But the minivan is one of the most functional/multipurpose vehicles on the road. Sure you may not look "cool" in it, but it can handle a lot. It's square design maximizes its practicality.

Owning a 2000 Grand Caravan (with AWD), with the seats out, the amount of cargo I've loaded in it, would put some SUV/CUV's to shame. Plus I have the flexibility of seven passenger seating and 3500 lb towing.

At least now with the latest generation Grand Caravan, it's sporting a decent V6.

Last edited by subyski; 03-10-2011 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 03-10-2011, 02:39 PM   #25
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But the minivan is one of the most functional/multipurpose vehicles on the road. Sure you may not look "cool" in it, but it can handle a lot. It's square design maximizes its practicality.

Owning a 2000 Grand Caravan (with AWD), with the seats out, the amount of cargo I've loaded in it, would put some SUV/CUV's to shame. Plus I have the flexibility of seven passenger seating and 3500 lb towing.

At least now with the latest generation Grand Caravan, it's sporting a decent V6.
buy this guy an appletini

I kid..i'll never own a minivan..ever!
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