Space and grace - Chrysler’s updated Voyager
When Renault launched the word’s first ever people carrier, as MPVs were initially called, it was a resounding flop. Sales were abysmal.
But things slowly picked up and as the market began to warm to the concept, other manufacturers started to get in on the act.
Chrysler was one of the first, astutely spotting a niche for a slightly larger and more luxurious vehicle than others were offering. This was the Voyager, made in a factory in Austria and it was soon joined by the even more commodious Grand Voyager.
I fondly remember outings and holidays in what was, for the time, a radical solution to family motoring needs.
Now, 25 years later and in its fifth generation the Grand Voyager offers 65 segment firsts and 40 available safety features to cement its role as the most luxurious MPV available in these islands.
As well as being a spacious seven-up people carrier, the Grand Voyager, unlike much of the competition, has plenty of space for their luggage too and abounds with pockets and cubby holes for their bits and pieces.
There’s plenty of space upfront up and lots of legroom for the rear two rows but while it’s too wide and over-long for many multi-storey car parks it never feels big when out on the road.
It handles well and has a good turning circle, though performance is pedestrian – but who wants to hurry when you have the whole family on board?
Standard features include Stow n' Go seats; powered sliding side doors; powered tailgate; rear-view interior conversation mirror; three-row electric side windows; a removable torch; directional LED reading lamps and automatic three-zone climate control for all passengers. Grand Voyager Limited models also get power folding third row Stow 'n Go seating, back-up camera; rain sensitve wipers and Chrysler's state-of-the-art vehicle infotainment system, uconnect GPS and uconnect phone with voice command as standard.
To keep passengers entertained, an optional dual-DVD system with two screens is available allowing second-row passengers to play a video game or watch a different film to those in the third row.
The uconnect GPS infotainment system offers MP3 player compatibility, a touch screen and voice-controlled navigation system, along with the ability to store more than 4000 songs on an integrated 30GB hard drive.
The Grand Voyager diesel version has reduced CO2 emissions by 10% and has dropped a tax band – moving from tax band L to K – saving £200 of vehicle excise duty in the first year. Fuel economy has also improved by more than 10 per cent and now returns up to 33.6 mpg on a combined cycle. There’s a choice of 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine or a 2.8-litre diesel, each mated to a six-seed automatic gearbox.
Prices for this stylish workhorse range from £27,360 to £35,995, depending on specification level.