Used Chrysler Voyager review: 1997-2001
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Moving large families was always a problem until the advent of people movers. However, the first people movers were based on light commercial vans, and lacked the refinement of a regular sedan. That was until the development of purpose-built people movers, like the Chrysler Voyager, specifically designed for family use.
The Voyager arrived here in 1997. It had been the most successful people mover in its home market, but would face some tough, well-respected competition here. The Toyota Tarago was the benchmark, the Honda Odyssey was an acclaimed newcomer, and there were others like the Mazda MPV and Mitsubishi Starwagon.
Two versions landed here in the first Voyager wave, the 2878mm-wheelbase SE and a 3030mm-wheelbase LE version. Both could carry up to seven adults in a flexible seating arrangement.
The driver and front-seat passenger had comfy bucket seats, while the three rearmost passengers were seated on a broad bench. In between you could have a pair of buckets or a two-seater bench, making up seven seats.
Being a semi-bonnetted configuration instead of the cab-over-engine style of most earlier converted vans, it was easy to climb into the cockpit, with access to the rear seats through sliding doors on the sides.
Once inside, it was possible to move through the length of the cabin to get access to luggage or settle squabbles with the kids. There was also another side to the Voyager, adding further to its flexibility: the rear two rows of seating could be removed by unclipping and rolling them out. They were on wheels and could be stored until needed.
For people in small business or tradies it meant the Voyager could be used as a van during working hours, and converted for family use when the whistle blew. Chrysler's designers were intent on designing a comfortable vehicle.
The seats were well cushioned, it had power windows and mirrors, central locking, a tilt-adjustable steering column, air-conditioning, cruise control, and an AM/FM radio/cassette sound system. There were lights everywhere, a host of cubby holes and a dozen cup holders.
Underneath, you found fairly ancient foundations. There was a combination of MacPherson Strut front suspension and a leaf-spring beam rear axle, front disc brakes with rear drums, and an overhead-valve V6 engine with just two valves per cylinder.
The V6 engine was a 3.3-litre slugger with fuel injection in a sea of four-cylinder rivals. Peak power was put at 116kW at 4700 revs, top torque 275Nm at 3250 revs. A smooth four-speed auto transmission was the sole choice.
IN THE SHOP
Rust doesn't appear to be a problem for the Voyager's galvanised body. Paint quality appears good. Mechanically, the auto gearbox can give problems around 150,000km. The suspension is straightforward, and you should look at replacing wheel bearings around 100,000km.
As with early Jeeps, the interior plastic trim parts are inclined to break. The bonnet crumple zones, airbags and seat belt pretensioners all spelled safety. Drum rear brakes were a throwback to an older time, but the ABS was a positive.
Pamela Kriesl says her family's 1997-98 Voyager is a lemon, but says no other people mover matches it. It pulled to the left from delivery, it was difficult to get into reverse, and the auto expired at 99,000km. Add to that problems with the airconditioning, cruise control, headlights, and plastic interior trim parts and a large turning circle. Yet she says it's great to drive, the ride is wonderful, the power fabulous, and fuel economy is great.
12/20 Large roomy transport for seven that can also carry a load of luggage
Great flexible seating arrangement
Good economy and performance from V6 Loaded with features
Comfortable ride Average build quality
|Year||Price From||Price To|
Range and Specs
|SE||3.3L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO||$3,500 – 5,720||1997 Chrysler Voyager 1997 SE Pricing and Specs|
Lowest price, based on third party pricing data