Everything you need to know about Chrysler’s latest people carrier
On the other side of the pond, Chrysler’s Grand Voyager would be known as a mini-van; over here, however, we call it a people carrier.
France’s Renault Espace made the people carrier sexy in the mid eighties. And the larger car has remained a firm favourite with families ever since.
The whole concept was very much stolen from Chrysler, which created the whole mini-van segment in the early 1980s. And with their experience spanning almost 30 years, you’d expect the latest Grand Voyager to be pretty good.
Get the look
The styling is far more box-like than before, but bizarrely this actually improves the aerodynamics. It’s not a handsome car, but we are talking about a vehicle where function counts for more than form.
Most improvements are inside the cabin. New finishes and wood trim line the dash board and door panels, while overhead a halo lighting package emits a glow along the console without distracting the driver. Gadgets include a rechargeable torch in the rear cargo area.
But the Grand Voyager’s real masterpiece is the ingenious Stow ’n’ Go seating system. It’s easy to operate and allows the car to be transformed from a seven-seat people carrier to a two-person cargo vehicle in less than 30 seconds. Best of all is the fact the seats store flat in the floor, so there’s no need to lug them into the garage like a Sharan or a Galaxy.
Stow ’n’ Go is pretty good, but now there’s also Swivel ’n’ Go, available on the upmarket Limited-badged models. This includes floor storage bins and second-row captain’s chairs that swivel 180 degrees to face rearward. Add a removable table that fits between the second and third rows so you have a mobile dining room!
People carriers are all about people and the Grand Voyager comes with an entertainment system that would put an airliner to shame. A dual DVD system can play up to three different types of media at the same time, so passengers in one row can watch a movie, while those in the other can plug in their gaming systems. Eight-inch LCD screens are fitted in the second and third rows and there’s a remote control for the DVD player. You can also plug in your iPod and a touch-screen and voice-controlled navigation system complete the gadgetry.
Compared to the old model, refinement is much improved. Wind noise is reduced, the stiffened body means less vibration and a new suspension system has helped improve stability and ride comfort. The turbo diesel engine develops 161bhp but this is a big vehicle and it’s a little sluggish to get going. An automatic gearbox is standard.
Specification levels are high. Even the basic model gets convenient features like power sliding rear doors on both sides of the vehicle and keyless entry.
Put to use as a family vehicle, it contains plenty of well thought out practical features, such as the odour and stain resistant cloth used to cover the seating surfaces for the LX and Touring trim.
Safety improvements see standard traction control, brake assist and side-curtain airbags that add to the multistage front and seat-mounted bags. A tyre pressure monitoring system is also included.
The vehicle offers flexibility, masses of space and generous equipment. Prices start at £25,456 for the diesel powered LX. Touring models cost a couple of thousand more and the top-spec Limited is £32,300 whether you go for diesel or the V6 petrol.
Top speed on the diesel is 115mph and you should expect around 30mpg. Car Insurance groups range from 11-13 depending on the model.
All that’s left to do now, is round up the people!