Chrysler Grand Voyager 3.3 Limited - CHRYSLER GRAND VOYAGER Car Review


Added: 15 Aug 2005
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CARS tell you a lot about their countries of origin. Swedes are safe, Italians excitable, Germans dominating, and Americans - well it's a big country so their cars tend to be large - built for big families which are also on the large side.

The MPV is forever associated with America, although its origins are European, and these mini-buses are the ideal way to move a family and belongings over long distances.

The Chrysler Grand Voyager is, for me, the MPV which really lives up to expectations. It has been steadily refined and improved over the years and now comes with electric siding side doors and brilliantly simple Stow and Go seats which drop into the floor for maximum luggage room without having to be hauled out and put somewhere to fill a garage or spare room.

Stow and Go seats even provide more room when in use because they are slimmer than before, but if both second and third rows are folded down the carrying capacity rises to a staggering 165.6 cubic feet.

There are now side airbags for all three rows of seats, driver's seat-belt alarm, aircraft style overhead compartments, additional insulation and a cosmetic makeover for the front, side mouldings and wheels.Visually and practically it is the best Grand Voyager to date.

The test car used the biggest and most powerful engine in the series, but you can order a 145bhp 2.4 four-cylinder petrol or 2.5 and 2.8 diesels delivering 141 and 150bhp respectively. Strangely, the smaller versions come with five-speed manual boxes but there is only four-speed auto transmission on the larger engines.

As it is, the 3.3 Auto delivers a lot of power for a heavy job and it makes the 2,055kg Grand Voyager Limited surprisingly responsive for such a large vehicle.

But you pay the price in heavy fuel consumption and one of the highest polluting emission levels of any vehicle. These are probably the reasons why buyers are shying away from such models and looking to more fuel efficient and cleaner alternatives.

However, if fuel bills and emissions do not worry you, and they do not seem to trouble Americans, then the Grand Voyager has a lot going for it.

That wonderfully responsive engine is lively, smooth and quiet, the automatic gear changes are reasonably good and its brakes and steering are well balanced with a good turning circle.

Secondary controls all come to hand and fingers very easily, although some switches can be hidden from direct sight, and the instruments are big and clear.

I like the heating and ventilation system's simplicity and effectiveness, creating any desired settings throughout the big cabin area and maintaining them without any problems.

The oddments room is also extremely good throughout with a multitude of bins, pockets and trays as well as reservoirs for drinks containers. The folding seats quickly and effectively stow away and I love the low flat floor and the easy access through the Limited's huge powered side doors to assist with packing or removing items.

In situ, the seats are big and comfortable, offer excellent support and adjustment whether you're tall or short. Visibility is excellent all round and the new lights are powerful.

Ride quality is extremely good over any surface although you can hear the suspension working away on some sections.

Body roll is obvious but the Voyager actually holds on very well and exhibits a safe tendency towards under steering around a corner. Lift off and it gently comes back onto line.

It is worth mentioning that the Limited and XS models get standard traction control, which is highly desirable in our mixed road conditions and it comes with tinted glass for the second and third rows of seats, also highly desirable in today's climate.

Limited specification also includes an in-dash six-disc CD changer.

Effectively, the Grand Voyager Limited is a very big luxury car but unlike most conventional saloons or hatchbacks at this price it offers enormous room and versatility. Even among its peers, the Grand Voyager excels at doing so many things so well.

It is big, comfortable, easy to drive. The only question is could you live with the fuel bills and emissions?


Chrysler Grand Voyager 3.3 Limited

Price: £30,465

Mechanical: 172bhp, 3,301cc, 6cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 4spd automatic gearbox

Max speed: 111mph

0-62mph: 12.6 secs

Combined mpg: 21.2

Insurance group: 16

CO2 emissions: 319g/km

BiK rating: 35%

Warranty: 3yrs/ unlimited mileage; 7yrs paint; 7yrs anti-rust

Words: Robin Roberts