Marc Greig road tests and reviews the 2014 Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited, with specs, fuel economy and verdict.
Chrysler is one of the world’s ‘hot’ automotive brands these days – the massive range including on one hand the thundering 6.4-litre V8 SRT 300 sedan and on the other, the slick Grand Voyager people-mover. In the past few weeks Italian giant Fiat completed its buyout of the American brand and will use the power of Chrysler’s sales and distribution channels to re-introduce the Alfa Romeo nameplate to North America.
And while we don’t think Alfa Romeo’s Italian design studio is currently penning a people mover, there’s no doubt Chrysler’s North American success requires a competent people mover.
Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited Overview
In North America, the Chrysler Grand Voyager and its Dodge Caravan twin are immensely popular in a market which offers lots of handy people-movers. The German rivals in Australia are both based on commercial vans whereas the Chrysler Grand Voyager was developed from the ground up as a people-mover.
Car Showroom tested the Chrysler Grand Voyager in the luxurious range-topping Limited guise which is priced at $77,500. The Grand Voyager LX model will set you back $57,500.
A seven-seater with abundant space inside but not too enormous on the outside, the Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited offers spacious seating for seven and impressive luxury inside, including leather seats, a sunroof and rear seat DVD screens for both the second and third row passengers.
Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited Engine
Chrysler has smartly opted to power the Grand Voyager lineup exclusively diesel. The 2.8-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel comes from parent company Fiat and, as you’d expect with Italy’s leading car-maker, it’s a state-of-the-art design common-rail design.
Maximum power is 120kW at 3800rpm and peak torque of 360Nm is delivered between 1800rpm-2800rpm.
Drive is the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel consumption (combined cycle) is rated at 8.4l/100kms – one of the best in class.
Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited The Interior
Among the extras over the entry-level LX model, the Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited model we tested gains leather trim, a sunroof, Infinity nine-speaker audio system with a 16.5cm touchscreen including satellite navigation, heated front and second row seats, electric adjustment for the front seats – you even get a rechargeable torch in the back seat.
Up front, driver and passenger enjoy armchair-like comfort with armrests and the driving position is commanding with excellent visibility. Like its rivals, the Chrysler Grand Voyager runs sliding side doors and access to the second and third rows is a snack.
With seats for seven which fold like origami (Chrysler calls it ‘Stow ‘n Go’ – the second and third rows slide and fold) into multiple positions, you’re safe in tossing-out the youngsters, folding all the extra seats out of the way and heading to the hardware for long lengths of timber (or ‘lumber’ as Chrysler folk back home call it).
Luggage space varies according to seat configuration – up to a massive 4,100-litres with all seats in place. Like others, cargo capacity with all seats in place does reduce, but unlike SUVs, a people mover affords a bit more versatility (we stood our mountain bikes up between the seats at one stage).
Overall, the Chrysler Grand Voyager delivers an interior ambience like an upscale American hotel – a noticeable contrast to its German rivals which are a tad…well ‘Phillippe Starck’ to continue the hotel design theme.
Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited Exterior & Styling
While not sporting the fresh face of youth, the Chrysler Grand Voyager still delivers a modern look which is distinctly American and different to its rivals.
Since its launch we’ve always like the Chrysler Grand Voyager’s proportions (large glasshouse, some nice curves for the front-end and a rear-end which somehow seems in-scale to the rest of the vehicle) and it’s certainly less ‘van-like’ in its appearance when parked next to the ‘cab-over’ styled Germans. And the hallmark Chrysler grille in chrome shows its linage to the 300 sedan.
At 5218mm in overall length and standing 1818mm high, the Chrysler Grand Voyager is perhaps surprisingly more compact than some in this segment. That’s smart packaging in anyone’s book…and a nice look too.
The Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited as tested rides on 17-inch alloy wheels with 225/65R17 rubber – and they’re good-lookers (16-inch for the LX model).
Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited On The Road
After a week living with the various Car Showroom families, our Chrysler Grand Voyager came-up trumps – easily accounting for a camping trip, child seats going in and out, multiple loads of people and…well ‘life admin’ is today’s go-to term for, you know – stuff. And that’s the thing with people movers over SUVs – the multiple contortions of the seats in the Chrysler Grand Voyager allowed for greater versatility for our various loads of people and cargo.
In the same way, even when fully loaded, the Chrysler Grand Voyager provided the Car Showroom juniors with leg-room and spaciousness you just can’t get in an SUV. And the youngest members of our team certainly appreciated the dual (one for the second and one for the third row) nine-inch DVD screens.
The Fiat-sourced 2.8-litre turbo-diesel was nicely mated to the six-speed automatic and the Chrysler Grand Voyager was a relaxed cruiser for around town and on the freeway – the Grand Voyager’s natural terrain.
Our high-speed mountain roads test loop will never be the natural terrain of the Chrysler Grand Voyager or any other people mover, but…
Over the twisty stuff our Chrysler Grand Voyager was refined and comfortable, pointed-in nicely and gave plenty of notice of its intentions. Maybe not as sharp in that environment as the more firmly sprung Germans, but, especially when fully loaded with people and goodies, rather impressive all things considered.
Parking: any people mover tests your skills reverse parking in tight confines like our ridiculous CBD car park but the handy size of the Chrysler Grand Voyager made for lighter work than some rivals. The reversing camera in the Limited model we tested sure helped (should be standard in the entry-level LX too).
Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited Challenges
On the very limit, in the twists and curves, the Chrysler Grand Voyager is just shaded by the Volkswagen Multivan (but the flipside is the German’s firm ride which can be tiresome in the everyday ‘burbs scenario).
Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited Verdict
We’re family guys at Car Showroom so we ‘get’ vehicles like the Chrysler Grand Voyager. OK they’re not the from the Alfa Romeo 4C/Ferrari 458 design theme, but for everyday family practicality they’re hard to beat.
In fact, all family things considered (children, paraphernalia, sports equipment, camping gear etc) from personal experience we’d buy a vehicle like the Chrysler Grand Voyager over a full-size SUV. The Car Showroom juniors would endorse that verdict on the basis of extra space/versatility.
At the upscale end of the people mover segment it’s sushi, bratwurst or hot dogs – that’s the choice. You have the Germans (Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen), Toyota’s Tarago from Japan or the Chrysler Grand Voyager out of North America.
And it’s the American style interior which scores points for the Chrysler Grand Voyager – like a plush American hotel it’s comfy and relaxing. And unlike the American SUVs of yesteryear, the Chrysler Grand Voyager is a smaller all-round package – in fact it’s a tad smaller than the Germans and thus easier to maneuver in those every day tight spots which are part of family living.
Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited The Competition
For direct comparison with the Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited we tested, Mercedes-Benz has the large and sumptuously equipped Viano 6/7 seat for $78,990. The awesome 165kW/440Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel is a plus but the sheer size of this upscale people-mover must be factored into your decision.
Toyota’s long-serving Tarago is terrific in Ultima spec ($71,135). But it’s only available with the 202kW/340Nm 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine so 10.3l/100kms against 8.4l/100kms for the Chrysler Grand Voyager’s 2.8-litre turbo-diesel is a consideration.
It’s $73,990 for Volkswagen’s slick Multivan TDI400 Highline powered by a 132kW/400Nm twin-turbocharged diesel. We like Volkswagen’s versatile interior but the ‘Euro-firm’ suspension can be…well, firm…on suburban roads.