Pros: A pleasure to drive, great accessories.
Cons: ENDLESS problems, and dangerous ones. Brake failure resulted in a serious accident.
I bought my 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport used in January 2003 with 77,000 kms on it. Within the first year, the pipes supplying the rear heaters rusted out -- $500+ to replace so my kids could have heat in the back.
The power steering hose was replaced SIX times within the first year I had it -- a badly placed bolt rubs against the hose and the mechanic tried all kinds of tricks before finally hitting on one that worked. The mechanic had seen a few others with the same problem. It was replaced at the dealer the first two times and they charged me over $100 each time to fix it. The other mechanic charged me $80 the first time, and fixed it for free every time I brought it back after that.
The front brake pads lasted about 8 months, and that's with mostly highway driving; the rotors lasted about 18 months. As well, and more seriously, it had an intermittent ABS problem that no mechanic could diagnose. It was what finally killed the van a few days ago, and almost killed my girlfriend who was driving it at the time -- the ABS kicked in when she attempted to stop at a stop sign (on dry roads), the van jumped as the ABS pulsed, but did not slow down to any degree, and she went right through the stop sign and into the ditch on the other side of the road. The same experience had happened to me a few times and it was very frightening, although in all cases, I managed to stop by pumping the brakes furiously. And like I said, the dealer could find nothing wrong with the ABS (and charged me $60 on two occasions to tell me the brakes were fine).
The power passenger side window motor quit working.
The rear wiper motor quit working.
Despite regular oil changes and maintenance, the engine developed a lifter problem at 100,000 kms ...constant ticking, very loud in the winter on first starting.
Then the electrical problems started -- sometimes I would press the door lock button, and the motorized sliding rear door would open. The electronic tailgate latch stopped working so it had to be opened with a key. The motorized sliding door opened when it was in the mood -- usually, it would open the first two inches then stop; and my 5 year old wasn't strong enough to push it open himself -- it's incredibly heavy to slide when the motor won't work.
This is minor but, the temperature sensor worked only intermittently, and not at all in the winter -- it would be minus 10, and the digital thermometer would say it was 32 degrees -- I wished!
And I guess this is probably an issue with all minivans, but what a gas guzzler!
It's too bad this van had soooo many problems because it was a pleasure to drive -- good acceleration, an awesome stereo, the independent heat controls for the driver and passenger and the rear were a luxury I will miss. But the repair costs, and the annoyance of living with the things I could not afford to repair make me glad I'm done with it.
Incidentally, if the air bags go off in an accident, the van is a write-off because they make the dash explode. I'm sooo happy my van was written off (after the brakes failed in my GF's accident) -- I'm buying a 2000 Mazda MPV tomorrow!