Two Grand Caravan models are offered for 2009: SE and SXT. The SE is powered by a 3.3L V6 that makes 175 horsepower and 205 pound-feet of torque and is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission, while the SXT comes with a 3.8L V6 making 197 horsepower and 230 lb-ft. At the top of the engine range is the optional 4.0L V6, making 251 horsepower and 259 lb-ft. Both the 3.8L and 4.0L V6s are mated to a six-speed transmission.
The 3.3L engine is also capable of running on a blend of ethanol and gasoline up to E85. The optional 4.0L engine is made of aluminum and is quite efficient at 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway.
The Grand Caravan is able to seat up to 7 passengers. Stow 'n Go seating, which allows both the second- and third-row seats to fold completely into the floor, is standard on both the SE and SXT model.
The unique Swivel 'n Go system brings the capability to turn the second row seats 180 degrees, so they're facing the third-row occupants. There's also a removable table that installs between the two rows to make a small "living room." The arrangement also brings additional storage. It's available as an option on both models.
The Grand Caravan continues to offer one of the most useful interiors for stowing and storing small items. All models get dual gloveboxes, the front console slides rearward 21 inches to reach rear passengers, and there's a total of up to 13 cup and bottle holders.
The new Grand Caravan features improved aerodynamics, helping to reduce wind noise, while noise and vibration levels due to the use of more high-strength steel and new suspension geometry.
Supplemental side curtain airbags, now with added rollover protection, cover all rows, are standard, along with the ESP stability control system as well as anti-lock brakes with brake assist.
Grand Caravan SE models come with a substantial list of standard equipment, including air conditioning, cruise control, stain-resistant seating, keyless entry and an MP3-compatible CD sound system with four speakers. SXT models upgrade to a tri-zone climate system with rear air conditioning, heated exterior mirrors, fog lamps, illuminated cup holders, ambient lighting, power-adjustable pedals, power rear quarter vent windows, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, a universal garage door opener, a removable/rechargeable flashlight system, swiveling reading lamps, and a six-speaker sound system.
There are several innovative entertainment options available. Sirius Backseat TV brings streaming video, and the DVD system is capable of playing different media at the same time. There's also a MyGig Multimedia Infotainment System that brings a navigation system with real-time traffic info and six gigabytes of music storage space good for about 1,200 MP3 songs. The top surround sound system audio system now has nine speakers and 506 watts, a subwoofer, and Sirius satellite radio.
Other available options--many of them arranged in packages--include heated first- and second-row seats, retractable sunshades, a power third-row folding seat, a rear backup camera, remote start, blind spot monitoring and Rear Cross Path, which alerts drivers to obstructions behind the vehicle. An available Trailer Towing Group includes a host of heavy-duty components and allows a tow capacity of 3,600 pounds.
Following a redesign in 2008, the Grand Caravan returns for 2009 with few changes. Braking has been improved on both SE and SXT models. The SXT model gets a sportier suspension and an iPod adapter has been added to the optional UConnect phone system. The SE trim gets standard Stow 'n Go seating with stain-resistant seat fabric, as well as cruise control, an improved instrument cluster, three rows of power seats, and some other minor upgrades. Blind spot monitoring, Rear Cross Path sensing, and rain-sensitive wipers are now options.