Chrysler’s Grand Voyager has stolen the edge over its rivals to rein supreme as King of the luxury people-movers.
Powered buy a choice of V6 petrol or 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engines, the Grand Voyager is now the benchmark vehicle for large families, hotels shuttles and airport limousines.
Launched last year, the Grand Voyager is all-new and available in three model grades: LX, Touring and - the vehicle Car Showroom tested - the range-topping Limited.
What You Get
The Americans invented the People Mover - or ‘Mini-Van’ as it’s called over there - so it stands to reason the very latest Chrysler would be a beauty.
There are seven seats in a 2-2-3 configuration and the second row seats swivel to face backwards where a removable table can be fitted.
With its ‘Stow ‘n Go’ seating system, Chrysler says the Grand Voyager is the only People Mover that offers both second and third row seats that fold flat into the floor for maximum cargo-carrying. To ease this function, the three-passenger third row has a one-touch power assisted operation – another People Mover first according to Chrysler.
All of this seating versatility also makes entry/exit a snack – even when full-size adults need to be seated in the third row.
With an overall length of 5143mm and weighing just over 2.0 tonnes, the Grand Voyager is a large vehicle and it delivers comfort and convenience on a grand scale. For those who sit behind the steering wheel it also delivers very nice driving dynamics.
Under The Hood
We tested the Grand Voyager Limited powered by Chrysler’s 3.8-litre petrol V6 which is good for 142kW at 5200rpm and peak torque of 306Nm at 4,000rpm. The optional 2.8-litre turbo-diesel provides 120kW at 3,800 rpm and 360Nm between 1600rpm-3,000rpm.
Drive is to the front wheels via a new six-speed automatic transmission. In this transmission, the first gear ratio is quite high for rapid standing-start acceleration and the smaller gaps between the remaining five ratios ensure smoother, more refined shifts than a four-speed auto.
The Grand Voyager Limited presents an interior that is nothing short of stunning.
Seats are beautifully trimmed in leather and suede. Driver and front passenger seats have eight-way power adjustments and there are storage bins aplenty including some very handy plastic-lined bins under the floor… perfect for wet Speedos and towels after a day at the beach because they wouldn’t be good on the beige carpet!
Then there are the extra interior features:
- Dual DVD system with eight-inch screens (2nd row passengers can play a game system while those in the third row watch a movie) – including five wireless infrared headphones
- MyGIG Multimedia Infotaintment System with a USB port, dual A/V jacks and a 20-gig hard drive that can store songs and pictures all powering through 10 speakers Bluetooth compatibility Burl wood finishes on the instrument panel and door trims A halo lighting package emitting a soft greenish/ blue glow along the overhead console Second and third row sun-shades built into the doors One-touch power operation for the sliding side doors and rear lift gate
It’s all very well done and incredibly user-friendly.
Exterior & Styling
Grand Voyager’s all-new looks are a significant improvement over the previous model.
There’s a touch of the Chrysler 300C about the front grille and the new shape is much more contemporary and stylish. The roof is 152mm wider than the previous model and the lowered and wider sill all combine to deliver a significantly roomier feel inside.
Chrysler has also worked hard to improve the refinement of the Grand Voyager and reduce NVH. The wiper blades now sit below the air stream when not in use, the large exterior mirrors are aerodynamically shaped, the side door glass is thicker and there is increased sound deadening in the floor area.
On The Road
That attention to refinement/reduced NVH is evident as soon as you hit the road in the Grand Voyager. In fact we would rate its refinement and quality feel well ahead of the rest of the people mover pack.
Ride and handling is equally impressive. We were amazed at the poise it showed over our mountainous test route – turn-in was precise and unfussed and feedback through the steering wheel was excellent.
Sure this is a 2.0-tonne people mover and not a sports car, but the Grand Voyager will impress those who thought this sort of vehicle was meant for passengers to enjoy and not drivers.
Visibility is excellent although the reversing camera should really be standard (it comes as part of the MyGIG Infotainment which is standard on the Limited model but optional on the LX and Touring).
On the safety front, the list is extensive and includes dual front airbags, seat-mounted supplemental airbags, side curtain airbags for all rows, ABS anti-lock brakes, Electronic Stability Program.
Chrysler claims the combined cycle fuel consumption is 12.7l/100kms – that is significantly better than some segment rivals.
With its eight-way power adjustable front seats, the Grand Voyager provides a driving position which is the best amongst the people mover segment. The steering wheel adjusts for rake but an adjustment for reach as well would be good.
We also reckon the Chrysler cruise control system needs an update as it is a bit fiddly.
This is the people mover we would have in our garage. It’s combination of nice driving dynamics, smooth V6, stunningly luxurious interior, everyday practicality and massive list of safety and convenience features makes it the best luxury people mover we have tested.
Well there’s people movers and crossover wagons so comparisons are difficult. To be fair we’ll limit comparisons to people movers only.
The Grand Voyager 3.8 Limited we tested has a recommended retail price of $74,990 and its most obvious direct competitor is the Mercedes-Benz Viano list price $77,392. Volkswagen’s Multivan Highline is priced at $70,990 and must be in the mix as well.
Hyundai’s very impressive iMax isn’t in the luxury league but it seats eight and - priced from $36,990 - mounts a compelling value-for-money story.
In between is Kia’s Grand Carnival which will set you back $51,390 for the range-topping Platinum model.
And of course there is the venerable Toyota Tarago and the Ultima model with its new 202kW/340Nm V6 - priced at $74,00 - must also be on the list.
Sadly Renault insists its Espace is not destined for Australian sale – a shame as it has the credentials to be in the mix if priced competitively.