If you have a large family or are in the market for a vehicle that can transport multiple people in comfort, the Chrysler Grand Voyager may well be the answer. This is a car that is built to last, supremely comfortable to travel in, and not too bad to drive, either.
The Chrysler Grand Voyager has been on sale for years, first hitting the production lines back in 1988, but it is the post-2005 models that have proved to be most popular and are the most sought after on the forecourts.
The post-2005 Grand Voyager features an innovative seating system, known as “stow and go”, allowing it to be used to seat up to seven people or stowing the rear seating completely and embracing it as a fully functioning parcel-van style vehicle. To give an idea of how flexible the system is, Chrysler claimed vociferously on launch that the new Grand Voyager was capable of offering up to 256 unique furniture variations. Of course, most drivers will only ever use a few, but at least whatever configuration you need is available. Most owners find that with a little practice, the configuration can be easily changed easily in under a minute.
The 2008 update saw the Grand Voyager’s styling, both inside and out, come more into line with the rest of the Chrysler range, as well as offering even more space inside the cabin.
The 2005 Grand Voyager boasts a 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine giving 128kW of power, coupled with 4-speed automatic transmission that will get you comfortably from A to B without breaking too much of a sweat. A sports car it isn’t, but nor does it pretend to be. The downside is that it is pretty thirsty, drinking some 15L/100km around town and 10L/100km out on the open road.
The 2008 Voyager update saw the 3.3-litre engine replaced with a new 3.8-litre V6, along with the introduction of a 2.8-litre turbo, coupled with 6-speed automatic transmission. The petrol delivers 142kW and 305Nm of torque, while the diesel puts out 120kW of power and 360Nm of torque.
The Grand Voyager’s seating is supremely comfortable, making it the perfect car for large groups or long-haul journeys. The centre row consists of bucket seats with arm rests, and even the bench seating of the back passenger row is more comfortable than you would expect. Overall, the level of standard kit is high. Expect to find tri-zone climate control, decent stereo system, powered driver’s seat, heated front seats, and leather trim inside, along with parking sensors, alarm, and powered sliding side doors. The addition of a tailgate on the boot as well as the sliding doors was a flash of inspiration on behalf of Chrysler, who saw busy mums of young children breathe a collective sigh of relief – don’t underestimate the attraction of being able to load up with kids and shopping in one hit.
The standard kit on the newer Voyagers is even better, so if one of these is on your list, prepare yourself for a whole range of safety features, including driver and passenger air bags, side air curtains, seat-mounted supplemental air bags, driver and passenger knee blockers, and an enhanced accident response system. Parking sensors and parking cameras come as standard as well, which is handy in a vehicle of this size, as well as a surround-sound audio system, ambient halo lighting, DVD player, touch-screen navigation system, multimedia entertainment system, power windows, and fully adjustable seat systems.
The Grand Voyager has found its own niche in a market where there are a number of decent competitors from which to choose. If you are in the market for a large-sized people transporter, the Grand Voyager should definitely be on your shortlist. Others to consider include the Toyota Tarago, possibly the most popular car of this type, which has a decent reputation but a higher price tag than you might expect from Toyota. The Honda Odyssey could also make the cut. The Odyssey is easy on the eye and a pleasure to drive, but it does come up short in the space stakes when you take into account the Voyager’s full seating quota of seven adults plus some hefty baggage. You might also consider the Mitsubishi Grandis, which comes at a competitive price that matches its lower market profile.