2014 Dodge Grand Caravan with BraunAbility XT Conversion
Jan 4, 2017
Busy families will appreciate the easy entry of the 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan with BraunAbility XT Conversion.
My family likes to do our errands all in one day, so we can enjoy other days at home. The Grand Caravan made it simple for my wife to get in and out with her wheelchair as we traveled from place to place.
We liked how we could use five different access buttons to open the ramp and door. All of us sat close to at least one of the four buttons in the van’s interior, with the fifth button appearing on the key fob.
When the ramp was lowered, the van used its “kneeling” function to reduce the ramp grade from a 14-degree angle to a 9-degree angle. While those with limited strength could still have trouble, anyone with a power chair can get up the ramp very easily.
The Sure-Lock tie-downs in the van were also very easy to use. They could also be moved to allow my wife to sit up front or in the middle of the van. Using these tie-downs, you could fit up to three manual wheelchairs in the Grand Caravan.
The “XT” stands for “Extra Tall,” as most the interior floor has been dropped. The driver’s seat remains at regular height. Our daughter is 5-foot-2, and she can stand inside the Caravan without bumping her head on the ceiling.
This gives the Grand Caravan ample room on the inside. We took it to the farmers’ market and Target, and we had more than enough room for our treasures.
If you need extra room for groceries and the kids aren’t around, you can tip their seats forward to create more space in the back. The driver’s seat and passenger seat can both roll away to allow the person using the wheelchair the possibility to drive or ride shotgun.
Another feature of the rear seats are spring-loaded, fold-down footrests, since some passengers’ feet may not be able to touch the floor. While that is a smart innovation, our daughter opted to let her feet dangle after a hard day of work. The fact that the footrests are spring-loaded allows the person who uses a wheelchair to enjoy maximum interior room.
Also, the van is equipped with override levers in case the kneeling function fails. Similarly, the ramp door can be opened manually, and the ramp can be pulled down without too much trouble.
A quiet performer
The Grand Caravan performed well on the road, accelerating nicely when needed and handling well on twisting country roads. The ride was also very quiet, which is not always the case in conversion vans.
We liked the sunglasses holder in the middle of the ceiling, which doubled as a conversation mirror, so we can see and talk to the kids. The conversion matched the original equipment almost seamlessly.
Some features we would like to see include a power rear door, electronic media chargers, three-prong, and ample lighting for the floor to see the wheelchair tie-downs.
Overall, we liked the Grand Caravan, mostly for its easy access and roominess. While the van we drove didn’t have a lot of extras, customers can get a Grand Caravan equipped with power seats and a backup camera.