There are racier vehicles to drive. There are sportier ones as well. But for packing in just about everything but the kitchen sink, there's nothing out there that can beat the Dodge Caravan, especially in the optional long-wheelbase version.
For families with kids, a labrador retriever or two, an occasional bunch of sports buddies and a need to hit the open road fully loaded, Dodge must have been thinking of you. There's little out there expect perhaps a panel van that can do as much for so many in such a tidy space.
Whether it's skis that fit overhead for a snowbound vacation or some beach toys that hide neatly in their kid-friendly "treasure chests," the "Stow 'n Go" below-second row seating storage vaults, Dodge intended to make use of every inch of available space. Think big family and big pets, or plan on carrying enough camping equipment for a month. Seats can be swapped for storage space as needed, with a maximum of 129 cubic feet available (short wheelbase or 144.2-cubic feet (long wheelbase).
With 2007, the last year of the current generation before a major redesign, the exterior gets a touch-up with the addition of Modern Blue Pearl Coat and Marine Blue Pearl Coat colors. But a full contingent of goodies continue in the four-version line-up with two standard and two extended wheelbase sizes, both in SE and SXT trims and a number of options. (A cargo van version is available as well.) Those include MP3 capability, second row overhead video screen, power passenger-side sliding door, remote keyless entry and nav system (long wheelbase).
Caravans, like their Town & Country cousins, all have four-speed transmissions, something that could change with the next gen version. All ride on 15 or availble 16-inch wheels. Powering the Caravan is a 2.4L, 150-HP inline four, 3.3L, 170-HP V6 or 3.8L, 200-HP V6.
If people replace packages inside, both V6 versions can be fitted to tow a maximum of 2,000 pounds. Plan on a base pricetag of $24,420 or shop a dealership for incentives. Either way, with a 20-gallon tank and about a 20/26 best MPG rating, expect an accommodating carrier for those well-loaded travels.