The Chrysler Voyager is a spacious three- or four-door, 7-passenger minivan that shares platforms with the Dodge Caravan and the Chrysler Town and Country. In constant manufacture since 1988, the Voyager has taken its place amongst classic minivans. Chrysler knows minivans -- they first introduced the modern, family-focused minivan into the market in 1984 -- and the Chrysler Voyager is no exception.
Currently in its fifth generation, the Voyager’s character has not changed much over the years. First generation Voyagers were manufactured from 1988-1990 and featured a box-like body. The second generation of Voyagers manufactured from 1991-1995 introduced a manual transmission option and offered a turbo diesel engine in some models. The more rounded body design of the Voyager was introduced in the third generation, manufactured from 1996-1999, when Chrysler also began to offer a fourth door option. From the fourth generation of Voyager onwards, the model came standard with four doors.
The Chrysler Voyager boasts a spacious and well-designed interior and comes full of great standard kit. Purchasing a minivan comes with the caveat of poorer fuel economy and clumsier handling than a smaller vehicle, but buyers more interested in the comfort and convenience of their transportation rather than how it drives will look past the Voyager’s sluggish acceleration, elephantine cornering, and poor track record with crash testing.
The engine power of the Chrysler Voyager is generally lethargic, especially when loaded to capacity. The third generation 1999 Chrysler Voyager SE offered a 6-cylinder, 3.3L engine delivering 116kW of power with 275Nm of torque and accelerating from 0-100Km/h at a slow 13.0 seconds. The fourth generation 2003 Chrysler Voyager SE improves the only model marginally, offering the same 6-cylinder, 3.3L engine but with slight (nearly negligible) improvements in power (128kW) and torque (278Nm). Acceleration does not improve.
Fuel consumption is thirsty, with most models chugging along at around 13L/100Km. For comparison, the 1999 Toyota Tarago minivan delivers about 9L/100Km, though it has a smaller engine with much less power.
One of the main appeals of the Chrysler Voyager is its extremely versatile seating, perfect for a family on the go. Arranged in a 2/2/3 configuration, the second and third row “Stow’n Go” seats fold away under the floor for an impressive maximum of 4,550L of cargo space and flat loading capability. From 1992-2010, buyers could also get integrated child booster seats in the second row of their Chrysler Voyager as well.
The second and third row seating can be configured in multiple ways to accommodate a variety of passenger and cargo loads for travelling, carpooling, equipment hauling, and day trips. The “Swivel’n Go” seating in models after 2008 allows the second row bucket seats to be turned 180 degrees and locked in place to face the third row. Some models feature a detachable table that can be erected between the two rows when facing each other. Since 1996, all Voyager models come with “Easy Out Roller Seats” that allows all seats in the second and third rows to be individually unlocked and removed or repositioned.
All seat configuration options have been tested extensively for safety and boast locking systems that do not significantly decrease the safety of a seat with other seats removed or turned in the 180-degree position.
Buyers have the option to choose from petrol or diesel engines, but Voyagers made after 1995 only come with automatic transmissions. Power locks and front and rear power windows come standard in the basic SE model, as do front and side airbags, antilock brakes, and electronic break force distribution. Dual-zone air-conditioning and a 6 speaker sound system also come standard with the SE model. The LWB SE adds a third zone of air conditioning and a trip computer.
While the Voyager’s versatile interior and high level of standard features make it the go-to vehicle for a busy family without a lot of time to fuss around with specifications, Chrysler could make the Voyager even more appealing by improving its fuel economy and safety features. The Toyota Tarago, a comparably-sized minivan gets nearly 4L better per 100Km than the Voyager. The Tarago also received a 5-star rating from the ANCAP. Buyers looking for a better fuel efficiency can look for the larger model of the 2009 Grand Voyager LX which has a longer wheel base and gets 8.4L/100Km on its diesel engine.