Home » High-Mileage Mopars: 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan vs 2013 Dodge Charger

High-Mileage Mopars: 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan vs 2013 Dodge Charger

Sbsd 12 12 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Good morning, and welcome back! After looking at two low-mileage cars with lots of life left in them yesterday, today we’re checking out a pair of Dodges with nearly 800,000 combined miles. What could possibly go wrong? Everything. And I say that as a Mopar guy.

But first, about those low-milers: the Mitsubishi Galant won by a country mile, and it should have. Honestly, the only reason to choose that little Nissan over it would be trying to eke out every last possible mile from each gallon of fuel. Or, I suppose, if you really dislike Mitsubishi, or four doors. But that Galant is an awfully nice car for the price.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Galants of that era always make me think of an old boss I had who owned one. He lent it to his son for a month, while his son’s car was being repaired after an accident, and the kid brought it back with completely bald front tires. I told my boss to go have the transmission checked out, too, after that. But if it can survive that kind of torture, that speaks highly of its durability.

Screenshot From 2023 12 11 16 45 34

Sadly, not many people speak highly of the durability of Chrysler vehicles, no matter which parent company was holding the reins when a particular car was built. And that’s a shame. The quality has ebbed and flowed over the years, no one is denying that, and there have been some regrettable design mis-steps (the Neon head-bolt fiasco, Aspen/Volaré front fender rust), but I’ve generally had good luck with them, and I’ve racked up plenty of miles in various Chryslers, Dodges, and Plymouths over the years.

ADVERTISEMENT

But my odometer readings pale in comparison to today’s competitors. Two hundred thousand is still a lot of miles, even these days. Three hundred thousand is impressive, on any car. But one of these two is closing in on four hundred thousand, and the other left that number in its rearview mirror a while back. Let’s check them out.

2010 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT – $2,999

00000 Dqdgoqpkyik 0ci0t2 1200x900

Engine/drivetrain: 3.3 or 3.8 liter overhead valve V6, four- or six-speed automatic, FWD

Location: Plano, TX

Odometer reading: 375,000 miles

ADVERTISEMENT

Runs/drives? Yep

Being the first is never easy. You get to be the best – but only until everyone else catches up. You can’t rest on your laurels, or you’ll quickly find yourself following rather than leading. The Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager started a revolution when they appeared in 1984, but the rest of the market wasted no time developing their own minivans. Chrysler engineers didn’t snooze, adding amenities such as a second sliding door on the driver’s side and the clever-as-hell Stow N’ Go seats that disappear into the floor.

00w0w J8d1m7q4ljs 0ci0t2 1200x900

By the time this fifth-generation Caravan hit the market, it wasn’t so “mini” anymore; the standard-wheelbase variant was gone, leaving only the extended-wheelbase “Grand” version. The slow-selling (and slow-accelerating) four cylinder was also gone, leaving Chrysler’s 3.3 and 3.8 liter pushrod V6s to fill in until the arrival of  the “Pentastar” V6 in 2011. The seller doesn’t state (or possibly doesn’t know) which engine this van has in it. Whichever it is, it has been rebuilt, and runs well.

00202 A5ewdn57p0w 0ci0t2 1200x900

ADVERTISEMENT

For having as many miles as it does, this thing looks pretty good. We don’t get many interior photos, which is where it will show wear the most, but outside, it looks practically like new. Of course, it’s the wear you don’t see that can cause you trouble – but then again, you don’t put nearly 400,000 miles on a vehicle without plenty of care and feeding.

00m0m 2jfjfaay25r 0ci0t2 1200x900

One slight cause for concern is the apparent “Blue Screen of Death” on the infotainment system. I don’t know if any of it still works, or if it can be rebooted, or if it’s just dead, but it’s a question worth asking. It does make me wonder how many of these infernal things are still going to work in beaters ten or twenty years from now.

2013 Dodge Charger – $4,000

00505 Blstnregihe 0lm0t2 1200x900

Engine/drivetrain: 3.6 liter dual overhead cam V6, eight-speed automatic, RWD

ADVERTISEMENT

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Odometer reading: 416,000 miles

Runs/drives? Sure does

The Daimler-Chrysler merger in 1998 was supposed to be a “merger of equals,” but it more closely resembled an ill-advised Vegas quickie wedding performed by an Elvis impersonator. The best thing to come out of it by far, however, was the LX/LD/LA rear-wheel-drive platform. Combining Mercedes-Benz suspension designs with Chrysler V6 and V8 engines made for a winning formula, which Chrysler has refined over the past eighteen years into something truly remarkable. The platform may be playing its final encore number now, about to go out of production, but these cars will be on the road for many years to come.

00h0h 4uvzayzcajg 0lm0t2 1200x900

ADVERTISEMENT

This LD-platform Dodge Charger is powered by the base 3.6 liter Pentastar six-cylinder engine. It isn’t the firecracker that the Hemi V8-powered versions are, but it’s no slouch. It’s backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission made by ZF. I’ve heard good things about this engine/transmission combination, and the 400,000 miles on this one’s odometer speak highly of it, but of course we don’t know how many times either one has been rebuilt or replaced.

00l0l 9ujxtbaopjx 0lm0t2 1200x900

The high mileage, the red stripes, and the presence of a nearly-identical Charger in the parking spot next to it make me think that this car spent its life as a taxi, which in Las Vegas is a hard life: crawling along in stop-and-go traffic, blasting along freeways at absurd speeds, and careening around corners. (One Vegas cabbie once uttered a sentence that is still an inside joke between my wife and me: “Hang on, we gotta make this light.”) The white paint and red stripes are kind of giving me Speed Racer vibes – which isn’t a bad thing, but I doubt it was the intent.

00u0u 4acn55vbmw0 0lm0t2 1200x900

Again, we don’t get many interior photos. This shot of the center stack shows plenty of wear, but no real damage; the interiors of these cars were never all that high-quality, but I guess if they can stand up to 416,000 miles of taxi use, they can’t be all bad.

ADVERTISEMENT

I like the idea of keeping cars in service for as long as possible. Waste not, want not and all that. Too many cars end up in junkyards too soon because they “aren’t worth fixing,” so it’s nice to see these two still on the road, and I hope they have quite a few miles yet to give. Which one will you take?

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
61 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Iwannadrive637
Iwannadrive637
4 months ago

The van is better looking and has a rebuilt engine. Both of these sellers have a lot of brass asking for these prices.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
4 months ago

The panel alignment on that Charger looks like it has jumped over a few creeks. I bet those aren’t ex taxis, but ex driving school cars. Off-road driving school.

JDE
JDE
4 months ago

I feel like neither is the correct option here. But I suppose if I had to have one take my money I would be able to use the van for more activities. 😉

Ricki
Ricki
4 months ago

I feel like that Charger is holding stories and hiding bodies.

Sir-Barks-A-lot
Sir-Barks-A-lot
4 months ago

The blue screen doesn’t bug me. A Kenwood radio and an Idatalink would being the car to modern infotainment standards.

That said, funny how a car company that’s so derided for its quality has two of its vehicles over 400,000 miles here.

Myk El
Myk El
4 months ago

Gonna pull a James Gang (the band, not the outlaws) and walk away.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
4 months ago

Man screw either of these overpriced high mileage vehicles. Anything over a quarter of a million miles is a sub $2000 vehicle at best. The $4k range can get you a better vehicle than either of these two. So I didn’t vote. You should be ashamed to suggest these to a car savvy car market.

JDE
JDE
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I think maybe 2000-2006 SIlverados are the exception here.

Neither of these have rotten bodies that we can see, so the one with a rebuilt but still junkola 3.8 might be OK for 2K to me, but I agree in this case neither are worth more than 1500 as is.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
4 months ago
Reply to  JDE

Welcome good sir.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
4 months ago

Charger taxi- surprised it’s not winning…oh yeah, this is The Autopian so it’s understandable…I don’t want a van (except the cool conversion vans w/ the TV’s and wood in them) but not necessarily against minivans: family cars growing up were (among others including a Chevy Caprice station wagon) an old Dodge Caravan and a Toyota Previa so have lots of memories in those

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
4 months ago

I shudder to think of everything that has disrespected the back seat of that Charger during its service in Las Vegas.

For that reason alone, the van wins.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
4 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Buchholz

I believe the proper term is “defiled” the back seat.

ChefCJ
ChefCJ
4 months ago

If I got $10 out of a car that had given me 400k miles, I’d feel like I’d gotten a great deal

FuzzyPlushroom
FuzzyPlushroom
4 months ago

I went into this expecting to roll the dice on the Charger, but then I saw more of the Charger.

Van it is, for apparent condition and assumed history alone, as long as the interior smells fine and the transaxle isn’t playing up, and especially if the engine rebuild and cold A/C are true. I’ve swapped a head unit before. How hard could this one be?

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
4 months ago

I’ll take the minivan. It’ll be useful for hauling the odd thing and it’s cheaper.

H4llelujah
H4llelujah
4 months ago

I’ll be having the van.

That head unit is an aftermarket job, so just toss cheap apple carplay unit in for a couple hundo.

Run the van till either the engine or tranny goes, it doesn’t matter which. When either of them goes, you call your local boneyard and ask if they have any sub 100K engine/ tranny combos laying around for one of those. If you pay more than 500 bucks for the combo, you paid too much.

Freshen it up with new fluids and filters, plugs and wires if you’re feeling frisky, and drop it in. While you’re in there, rebuild the front end with an all-in-one kit from amazon, probably another 200 bucks, 400 if you want to do all the struts as well.

These engines, when maintained properly, were 250,000 plus mile powerplants.

The transmissions, not so much, but they are cheap and plentiful.

Realistically, at the very worst case, you are still well under 6 grand for a 3 row vehicle that will carry you faithfully for another 100k.

But with my experience on these vans, it’ll probably go that far the way it sits. Just keep the fluids in it.

Not a bad deal, if you’ve shopped your other 3 row options.

Angry Bob
Angry Bob
4 months ago

I rented a Charger the first year or two they were out and it ruined these car forever for me. It was so unbelievably slow. Horribly underpowered and handled like a Suburban. But a few years back my brother bought a brand new 300C with a six cylinder and that thing was quick. Like V8 quick.

But I’ll take the minivan because of my experience with the rental Charger.

SirRaoulDuke
SirRaoulDuke
4 months ago
Reply to  Angry Bob

I dated a lady with the SRT-8 variant, and it ruined me in other ways; there is no way I could accept one of these with less power and brakes.

Matthew C
Matthew C
4 months ago

Charger all day long. The minivan may be saddled with the terrible and failure prone 4 speed. The 6 speed is better and the 3.3 or 3.8 are woefully underpowered and not great engines. The 3.6 Pentastar is miles better ( even with some inherent issues) and the ZF transmission is well regarded.

Kasey
Kasey
4 months ago
Reply to  Matthew C

The Caravan is the highest trim so it’s most likely the 3.8l and six speed combo.

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
4 months ago

The Charger has a Yard Sale sign in the window, not a For Sale sign. I wonder if identical Charger next to it is also for sale and he’s having an actual Charger Yard Sale. Just a yard full of Dodge Charger taxis for sale. If so, genius. Ten people will show up half an hour early to his Charger Yard Sale and offer money for those cars. Sure, they will offer exactly $10, but I think that’s what you can expect to get for Dodge that lived as a taxi in Vegas.

That car has seen shit and isn’t allowed to tell anyone about it. I’d rather buy the minivan and spend daily commutes cursing that blue screen of death than set foot in that Charger only to spin the WHEEL OF FAILURE and see what comes up – Transmission? Engine? Electrical? Tetanus? Crabs? Diphtheria? Disembodied Hooker Leg? Turn Signal Bulb?

SlowCarFast
SlowCarFast
4 months ago

Uninteresting photography for both, but the van seller tried harder. Not sure why the duplicate photos with one step forward, but it’s their ad.
The seller of the Charger offers less effort, possibly hiding many blemishes.

I think the trim level and condition gives the van a win. Not to mention that it might have been parked in a parking garage much of its life. (Clean headlights!)

Last edited 4 months ago by SlowCarFast
61
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x