The segment, invented by a struggling Chrysler corporation in the 1980s, has spawned plenty of immitation and inn" />

Issue: Feb 2005


Cars Worth Noting: 2005 Chrysler Caravan



2005 Chrysler Caravan

by John Peter

Some say that itís good to be the king, but in the automotive world, being the king only makes you a target for the other OEMs to innovate their way past the originators. Nowhere has that been more true than in the highly competitive minivan market.

The segment, invented by a struggling Chrysler corporation in the 1980s, has spawned plenty of immitation and innovation like dual power sliding doors and fold-flat third row seats. While minivans have gained a negative stigma as of late, they are still the best form of family transportation and have found a whole new market in empty nesters with a need for more space.

Twenty-some years later, Chrysler is still at the top of the heap, and itís innovation again that sets them apart from the competition. The Stow ín Go seating system has surely sent the others back to the drawing board.

Stow ín Go second row seats fold flat into the floor opening providing 160.7 cu.ft. of cargo area with very little effort.

I have fond memories of backing a 1990 Dodge Caravan into the garage so two of us could lift the heavy seat out and set it on the floor. Of course, it eventually had to go back in. Stow ín Go seats fold into a composite compartment built into the load floor. Like the fold- down rear seat, the space that the seat folds into can be used for storage when the seats are up. To stow the seats, you simply lift the hatch, pull a strap that folds the back of the seat down and release the latch so the seat tumbles into the storage area.

The only thing that slows the process down is that the front seats need to be moved all the way forward before the hatch will open. It still beats taking them out. Chrysler dealers say that customers are coming in and asking for Stow ín Go by name. You can count on seeing this innovation spread quickly across the segment.

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