Chrysler Grand Voyager 2.8 CRD Limited
Grand Voyager has bolder look courtesy of its new angular shape
- Strong, bold looks
- Seats, any which way you want them
- Plenty of storage options
- Generous equipment as standard
- Limited choice of engines
- Driving experience could be more engaging
- Diesel engine is sluggish
- Running costs will be higher than average
Chrysler has upped the ante with regards to its already popular MPV and the firm promises this Grand Voyager is the most luxurious family vehicle it's made. Helping it to achieve its goal is a new exterior, re-designed interior and more than thirty new features as well as an updated range of petrol and diesel engines.
The minivan segment was invented by Chrysler in the early 1980s. Since then the firm has been developing the Grand Voyager and this is the fifth generation. The car you see here features much stronger looks, with the soft curvy lines of its predecessor thrown out in favour of a more angular form, giving it a solid stance on the road.
The interior benefits from a functional and modern design with plenty of easy to use yet ingenious storage systems. In addition to the Stow 'n Go system, the Swivel 'n Go system replaces the ability to drop the second row of seats with the facility to rotate them so they face rearwards. A removable table fits between the second and third row while the system still includes second-row covered storage bins and a third-row 60/40 bench seat that power folds into the floor.
Despite being more box-like in looks, aerodynamic improvements have helped to reduce wind noise while stiffening up the body has helped to reduce noise, vibration and harshness, overcoming the criticism of the old model. A new suspension system has helped to improve stability and ride comfort and interior quietness much improved thanks to a number of acoustic treatments.
Chrysler has thrown pretty much everything at this MPV in terms of information and entertainment systems, which should ensure passengers are kept entertained and contented throughout any voyage. Of all the new features the optional dual DVD-system with two screens is particularly useful. This allows second-row passengers to play a video game or watch a different film to those in the third row.
Our verdict on the Chrysler Grand Voyager 2.8 CRD Limited
Offering flexibility, masses of space - even with all passengers on board - and generous equipment, the Grand Voyager is an excellent option for consumers who need the space and storage capacities of a van but without having to compromise on comfort, luxury or passengers. Chrysler excels in this particular segment and it's fair to say that in terms of functionality, flexibility and innovative features, none of its rivals come close.
It's not particularly inexpensive, however the Grand Voyager's stylish image means it should retain its value well. On the downside, running costs are likely to be quite high, even with the diesel engine, as you'll get through a fair amount of fuel thanks to the car's size and carrying capacity. Like any full-size MPV, the Grand Voyager is better suits families that are able to draw upon a comfortable budget to run it.
Space and practicality
The Stow 'n Go seating system gives the MPV a level of practicality that is unmatched by its rivals. The ingenious system means that it can be transformed from a seven-passenger people carrier into a two-person cargo vehicle quickly and easily. Best of all, the seats are stored flat in the floor, negating the need to find alternate storage such as a garage. The Grand Voyager delivers on space as well, providing ample room to accommodate seven passengers comfortably, plus their luggage.
Controls and display
The controls are simple so familiarisation should be quick, however, some are sited low on the centre console] and are difficult to reach without stretching. The interactive digital display located in the instrument cluster is convenient for the driver and provides access to a menu to trip information and vehicle settings. The navigation system also gives the driver the option of viewing maps in a two or three-dimensional bird's eye view.
Both passengers and the driver will find it easy to get comfortable in the cabin, although the driver must do without two-way adjustment on the steering wheel. All of the seats onboard are large and comfortable, and nice touches to maximise passenger comfort include directional LED lights for all rows and a halo lighting package that emits a green-blue glow along the overhead console without interfering with the driver's vision.
The Grand Voyager comes with the usual remote locking system, and security is boosted with deadlocks, an alarm and an engine immobiliser - all standard. Providing passengers take care to keep their valuables out of sight, there are plenty of storage options dotted around the cabin.
Previously, the Grand Voyager has not performed particularly well in safety tests. However, the 2008 model benefits from standard ESP with traction control and brake assist, plus side curtain airbags. A tyre pressure monitoring system is also included.
The Grand Voyager's forte lies in its ability to keep its passengers entertained and comfortable. Although it is easy to drive, the tardy nature of the diesel unit, the car's body roll in bends and the absence of precise steering means that, like many full-size MPVs, it does not hold much driving appeal. However, the high driving position does offer excellent visibility of the road ahead.
Family car appeal
For families that like to travel in style the Grand Voyager is the vehicle of choice. Its practical nature means that it'll meet most families requirements, whether as a two person cargo vehicle shifting bulky items, or as transport to the airport for the whole family and their luggage. The high levels of entertainment onboard should help to put an end to long-distance bickering between siblings.
First car appeal
As a first car, it is better to start with smaller sized vehicles until the driver has amassed more experience. Although the Grand Voyager delivers a smooth and predictable drive, its sheer size means that beginners may find it challenging to park and manoeuvre. The automatic gearbox, which is standard, should help, allowing the driver to concentrate on driving.
Quality and image
Chrysler hasn't got an outstanding track record when it comes to quality and consequently its image has suffered as a result. Traditionally Chrysler has not fared well in customer satisfaction surveys and past issues include problems with engines, transmissions and ventilation. However the revisions to the new, more solid-looking Grand Voyager should address these niggles.
Even the basic model gets power sliding rear doors and keyless entry. Interior handles make getting onboard easy while the doors open nice and wide. Seats can be adjusted manually on the entry-level LX but Touring provides the driver with powered eight-way adjustment and adds a powered tailgate.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
Entertainment options are unmatched by its competitors. There's a dual DVD system with wireless headphones, plus a dash-mounted infotainment system with USB port, a 20 gigabyte hard drive for music and pictures and satellite navigation data. The LCD DVD is a decent eight inches and displays a clear image. Fortunately, each function is easy to operate and understand.
Colours and trim
Buyers can choose from six exterior colours. Four are metallic options, but each colour complements the Voyager's boxy looks. The interior gets a combination of satin finishes with wood trim but best of all is the material used to cover the seating surfaces for the LX and Touring trim, which is a special odour and stain resistant cloth, ideal for when transporting children or pets.
It's a large vehicle so it's best to get all the help available. Unfortunately only the Limited models benefit from a rear parking camera, so drivers of the LX and Touring models will have to rely on their own senses. However, the side mirrors are much larger on the revised model and give much better viewing for the driver. The steering could do with being more responsive at low speeds though.
Space saver fitted as standard.
Petrol engine options - 3.8-litre (190bhp). Diesel engine options - 2.8-litre (161bhp). Transmission options: six-speed automatic gearbox. Trim levels: LX, Touring, Limited.
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