By on July 17, 2020

fca canada

In the Stephen King novel Pet Cemetery, a rural family discovers that burying the body of a dead pet (and later, larger mammals) in the old graveyard out back returns the deceased family member to the clan — miraculously reanimated, yet fundamentally changed.

That seems to be what Fiat Chrysler has in mind for a famously long-running nameplate.

Dodge’s Grand Caravan ceases production in Windsor, Ontario in August, ending an uninterrupted run that began back in 1987, when the model appeared as a long-wheelbase variant of the new-for-1984 Caravan. But it’s not really dying — it’s just switching brands.

Late Thursday, Chrysler Canada announced that, for 2021, the vehicle Americans know as the Chrysler Voyager (speaking of resurrection…) will arrive on Canadian shores as the 2021 Chrysler Grand Caravan.

Both the Voyager, which landed in the U.S. for 2020, and Grand Caravan are nothing more than low-end Chrysler Pacificas spun off as their own models, leaving the higher-end minivan to woo more affluent shoppers. It’s almost endearing that FCA wants to keep a minivan hierarchy alive. Certainly, the Dodge Grand Caravan remained popular even as it neared the end of its life, if for no other reason than its stubbornly depressed entry price and endlessly usable (but terribly unsexy) features.

fca canada

“We’re incredibly proud to maintain the ‘Grand Caravan’ nameplate exclusively in the Canadian marketplace,” said FCA Canada CEO David Buckingham in a statement. “Particularly here in Canada, that name has become synonymous with affordable, safe and innovative family transportation that the 2021 Chrysler Grand Caravan builds upon.”

Running away from Dodge and into the comforting arms of Chrysler is a longstanding tradition in Canada, as up here, buyers knew the Dynasty as a Chrysler model. While U.S. consumers were still buying the Dodge Neon back in 2000, Canucks were feasting their eyes on the new Chrysler Neon (2000-2002), which later morphed into the annoyingly named Chrysler SX 2.0 (2003-2005).

Arriving in the third quarter of this year, the reborn Grand Caravan comes in, go figure, base and SXT trims, with the obligatory 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and a nine-speed automatic. Pacifica niceties like a third-row Stow ‘n Go split bench and available Stow ‘n Go second-row chairs. Standard spec sees the Grand Caravan with a two-person second-row bench; eight-passenger seating is optional.

While base-model buyers have access to a standard 7-inch touchscreen running FCA’s Uconnect 4 infotainment system, hands-free communication, keyless entry with driver’s door proximity key, and heated side mirrors, they’ll have to live with wheel covers. SXT customers see their 17-inchers cast in aluminum, with the addition of front and rear LED reading lights, removable second-row chairs, tri-zone climate control with rear A/C and heat, and a power driver’s seat.

A suite of driver-assist nannies remains optional for both trims, keeping MSRPs distant enough from the Pacifica. The L and LX trims should disappear from the Pacifica lineup for 2021, with the Grand Caravan slotting below the newly upscale model at $37,995 to start (yes, we’re talking $Canada$ here) and $39,995 for the SXT. A 2020 Pacifica L retailed for $39,995 after destination, to give you an idea of where the Grand Caravan’s doing business.

[Images: FCA Canada]

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18 Comments on “Back From the Grave: Grand Caravan Name to Live On – for Some, Anyway...”

  • avatar

    I’m guessing this is solely to maintain a trademark on the name?

    • 0 avatar

      My guess is so it doesn’t confuse the Canadian retail buyers. I don’t know about Canadian trademark law but in the US you don’t need to keep it in continuous use to maintain the trademark.

    • 0 avatar

      I wasn’t sure how it works in Canada but a quick search indicates that a trademark is good for 10 years and as long as you renew it every 10 years you get to keep it.

    • 0 avatar

      They are doing it because here in Canada the Grand Caravan is literally one of the best selling vehicles in the country. They are all over the place. I guess Chrysler is hoping that by keeping the name alive it will make it easier to transition customers from the older van to this one. But who knows if it will work, people don’t buy so many Grand Caravans because of a national affinity for the brand name, its because with discounts you can buy a base or lower trim Caravan for around the price of a loaded Honda Civic, brand new. Pretty good deal for families that have a couple of kids, friends, hockey gear, etc. And you get a V6 that is powerful enough to pull a small utility trailer of junk to and from the cottage. Pretty much the ideal Canadian vehicle at the ideal price point. The Sienna, Odyssey, and most larger CUVs (i.e. Explorer or Palisade) are a big step up price wise. And you almost never see the Tahoe/Expeditions that are so popular in the US as family cars here (if you see one on the road its usually a rental or cop).

  • avatar

    I don’t think this is what Canadian Chrysler dealers had in mind when they asked for more models. Sad.

  • avatar

    Oof, $37k to start? I know Grand Caravan MSRP’s were always hypothetical up here (I’m not sure there was ever less than $5k in discounts available), but that’s still steep. I don’t know if they care, but they’re going to lose a ton of buyers who’re used to spending less than $25k on a van.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Exactly. I truly want a minivan. But at that price, it is more economically feasible to purchase a 2 row CUV and rent a van (even at $140 per day) than to purchase a new one.

    • 0 avatar

      $25K Canadian is $18K US

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. The Grand Caravan was a huge seller here, but not because people just love Grand Caravans, it is because where else can you get a large family vehicle that can haul a few kids, their friends, hockey gear, or tow a small trailer for the transaction price of basically a top end Honda Civic. That was a winning formula here. If this vehicle can’t match the prices it won’t matter what name is on it. If people are stuck with the 37k price tag they will just buy a big CUV or Asian branded van at that point.

  • avatar

    With a new sienna and Sedona on the way, the bargain minivan deals will be hard to find for awhile. Good thing the old ones depreciate like a rock. I’m looking for a replacement for a Mazda5 and a slightly used Sienna or Sedona seem to make the most sense.

    • 0 avatar

      As a mazda5 driver u might wanna consider the ford transit connect wagon. Its similar in size offers seating for up to 7 and like rhe 5 has a 4 banger and no power sliding doors.

  • avatar

    “In the Stephen King novel Pet Cemetery”

    Did you mean Pet Sematary?
    Did you even read it?

  • avatar

    Whens the last day of production for the dodge grand caravan? It was for may but cuz of covid fca had to push it back.

  • avatar

    They should have just gone with Chrysler Caravan (dropping the Grand) both in America and Canada. I think the Caravan name has more market mojo than Voyager does.

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