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Chrysler Grand Voyager 2008 Review

Chrysler's new seven-seater Grand Voyager is the ultimate vehicle for families and people on the go.

If anyone knows how to build a people mover it should be Chrysler. After all, the company claims to have invented the mini-van segment back in 1983. The latest descendent of that model is the new Grand Voyager, which is about to go on sale locally. It is the biggest overhaul of the model since the American people mover arrived here in 1997.

“This is the ultimate vehicle for families and people on the go,” says Chrysler Australia managing director Gerry Jenkins. “It offers the flexibility of seven seats and room for heaps of gear without sacrificing fuel economy. The all-new Grand Voyager is the new standard.”

That is a bold statement for the under-pressure brand. Chrysler has failed to live up to expectations with its new models.

Only the 300C remains strong and accounts for more than half of the brand's sales to February.

The good news is the Grand Voyager is a very solid performer. It offers vastly improved exterior style, excellent interior space and some clever seating.

The most notable change for the new model is the styling. The people mover has been given a complete makeover in a bid to make it look more like the 300C. The design team was led by Trevor Creed, the man responsible for the popular sedan. The new model is longer and wider and has a squarer look with sharper lines. The improved design carries over to the interior. Although the quality still lags behind European and local standards it is better than previous American models. Hard plastics and unsupportive seats remain the biggest complaints.

But what it lacks in quality it makes up for in quantity. The Grand Voyager will seat seven people comfortably unlike some of its people mover rivals. Unlike its competitors which adopt a two-three-two seating layout, the Grand Voyager uses a two-two-three system.

Because the second row only accommodates two seats it lets the company fit larger units. Chrysler has two clever seating options available for the second row. The first is Stow 'n Go that sees the seats fold down into underfloor storage bins to give more cargo space. The other option is Swivel 'n Go that sees the two chairs rotate through 180 degrees to let passengers travel backwards.

The third-row rear seats are also packed with clever features. They can be stowed away to turn the car into a two-seater or can be folded backwards to provide “stadium seating” so you can really sit in comfort.

The seats are just part of a comprehensive in-car entertainment system that can include three video screens and satellite navigation.

Chrysler has also incorporated “trends in home lighting” by giving the car halo lights to give it a moody feel at night.

Another plus is the rear-parking camera that is standard across the range.

The three-model line-up is priced from $56,990 for the 3.8-litre V6 petrol LX. The mid-level Touring starts at $62,990 and the range-topping Limited is priced from $72,990. The 2.8-litre diesel adds $3000 across the range.

Chrysler Australia expects 60 per cent of customers to go for the Limited model.

While it's good news that the Grand Voyager has a diesel for the first time, it is not as sophisticated or smooth as its European rivals.

Its saving grace is the strong fuel economy figures it returns which makes it the engine of choice. On our drive we used 8.8 litres per 100km on a long stretch of country driving and Chrysler claims it will use 12.3 litres per 100km in the city.

But while it may not be an impressive engine, with 120kW of power and 360Nm of torque, the CRD is up to the task of moving the van that weighs over two tonnes.

The V6 petrol engine produces 142kW and 305Nm and has a more responsive powerplant than the oil burner. But with a combined city fuel economy figure of 18.8 litres per 100km it can't match the CRD.

In addition to adding the diesel, Chrysler has also upgraded the gearbox from a four-speed automatic to a six-speed.

Australia receives the European suspension tune that is firmer and more responsive than the US settings. Despite this it's still a soft ride but it's very comfortable, especially on long trips. Even though you won't mistake the mini-van for a car it does hide its size well.

Comfort is the key with the new car. The designers have tried to maximise interior space by “shrink-wrapping” it. That means the interior contours to the mechanical structure underneath which results in a more cluttered look but more importantly opens up a lot more usable space for the passengers.

Competitors such as the Honda Odyssey and Citroen C4 Picasso are cheaper and are worth considering. Although they lack the interior space of the Grand Voyager they offer a far superior driving experience.

But in the end you won't buy the Grand Voyager for its performance credentials, you buy it to comfortably carry a large family. And on those grounds it's a winner.



Chrysler Grand Voyager

Price: $56,990-$75,990

Engine: 3.8L/V6 petrol 142kW/305Nm, 2.8L/4-cylinder turbodiesel 120kW/360Nm

Transmission: 6-speed auto

Economy: 12.3L/100km petrol, 9.3L/100km diesel claimed


Pricing guides

Based on 2 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

Limited 3.3L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $8,800 – 13,310 2008 Chrysler Grand Voyager 2008 Limited Pricing and Specs
LX 3.8L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $7,500 – 11,660 2008 Chrysler Grand Voyager 2008 LX Pricing and Specs
Touring 2.8L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $9,500 – 14,300 2008 Chrysler Grand Voyager 2008 Touring Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


Lowest price, based on 2 car listings in the last 6 months

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