2001 Chrysler Voyager Reviews – Autoblog and New Car Test Drive

22 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2001 Chrysler Voyager Reviews – Autoblog and New Car Test Drive

New Car Test Drive

The following review is for a 2000 Model Year. There may be minor changes to current model you are looking at.

The name has changed, but the song remains the same.

Introduction

The popular Voyager and Grand Voyager minivans now sport the Chrysler nameplate. Chrysler will be retiring the Plymouth nameplate at the end of the 2001 model year. For 2000, the Voyager minivan models will be sold at Chrysler dealerships as the Chrysler Voyager and Chrysler Grand Voyager. (Previous Voyagers, and all other Plymouth-brand vehicles, will continue to be serviced at DaimlerChrysler dealerships.)

Though the Chrysler brand has its own minivan, the Town Country, it isn’t surprising that the company is carrying forward with the Voyager because the Voyager has consistently delivered the goods on all fronts: cargo capacity, comfort, styling, ride quality and handling. We think the Voyager SE is one of the sleeker stallions in DaimlerChrysler’s minivan stable, which includes the luxurious Town Country Limited and the more modestly priced Dodge Caravan.

Few changes were made for 2000. Four new colors have been introduced (bright silver, patriot blue, aquamarine and shale green). An AM/FM stereo with cassette is now standard on the Voyager and Grand Voyager, and the shade of the camel-color interior on the Voyager SE with the Quad seats has been softened somewhat for lower contrast.

Like all of DaimlerChrysler’s minivans, the Voyager comes in a variety of flavors. They come in two trim levels: base Voyager and the more well-appointed SE.

Two sizes are available: the short-wheelbase Voyager and the long-wheelbase Grand Voyager. The Grand Voyager is more than a foot longer than the Voyager and offers more cargo space.

The Voyager line ranges in price from $18,850 for the shorter, base-model Voyager to $24,245 for the Grand Voyager SE.

Walkaround

We tested the front-wheel-drive base-model Voyager. Its sloping, redesigned front fascia and sweeping grille give it a handsome, almost regal look. Its rounded corners, slanting windshield, sculpted body panels and understated side moldings, in conjunction with its dusky hue – which Chrysler has dubbed Deep Cranberry – give the Voyager a sporty visage that is both elegant and slightly imposing. The dark-tinted windows blended perfectly with the deep-maroon paint job. (Our photo shows it in Bright Silver.)

The Voyagers offer a choice of three engines. The base Voyager comes standard with a twin-cam 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and 3-speed automatic transmission. Two V6 engines are available: a 3.0-liter and a 3.3-liter. Both V6 engines come with four-speed automatic transmissions.

A 3.3-liter flexible fuel V6 that will run on ethanol is available in some states.

Obviously, people who buy minivans are space conscious, so here are some statistics: The wheelbase of the Voyager is 113.3 inches, compared to 119.3 inches in the Grand Voyager. That means the Voyager is more maneuverable than the Grand Voyager in tight quarters, but the Grand Voyager is more stable at high speeds and over rough surfaces. The Voyager is also shorter overall than the Grand – 186.3 inches versus 199.6.

The shorter length means the Voyager is lighter – the base Voyager weighs in at 3,516 pounds, compared with the Grand Voyager’s 3,683 pounds. In theory, less weight means better acceleration performance, shorter stopping distances, better handling and improved fuel economy. The total cargo space afforded by the Voyager is 142.9 cubic feet with the seats removed, compared with the Grand Voyager’s 168.5 cu. ft.

Our base Voyager came equipped with a number of options. A $515 customer-preferred option package included rear air conditioning, seven-passenger seating, front-seat cargo net, under-seat storage drawer and rear floor silencer. Other options included a $450 climate group (sunscreen glass and windshield wiper de-icer); two child seats ($235); 4-speed automatic transmission ($200); 3.0-liter V6 engine ($800) a driver’s side sliding door ($590); and a $20 smoker’s group.

Along with the $590 destination charge, those options boosted the $18,685 base price to $22,850. But a $760 customer preferred discount knocked it back to $22,090.

Interior

Sliding doors on both sides of the Voyager make getting in and out a breeze. Once you’ve had two sliding doors, you’ll never go back to one, whether you’re moving toddlers, teens or tools. The speed and convenience of loading cargo from the driver’s side makes the optional sliding driver’s door well worth the extra $590.

The Voyager is spacious, particularly after the second- and third-row seats are removed. Removing those seats required a yeoman effort in years past, but it’s much easier now. The SE’s available center-row bucket seats can be unlatched and removed via the sliding side doors.

A solid yank on a lever pops the third-row bench seat up onto a set of wheels, allowing it to be rolled backwards and removed via the tailgate. However, it’s still a two-person job as those seats, like most car seats, are heavy.

For smaller loads, the seat backs can be folded down, affording enough room for the proverbial sheet of plywood. Head and legroom are quite sufficient, in both the front bucket seats and the second-row seats. Although Chrysler says the Voyager’s rear bench can seat three, one of them would have to be a child.

Head restraints for the middle and rear seats are standard.

The optional front-seat cargo net is quite useful for hanging onto odds and ends while running around town. Although it was not offered on our base Voyager, a trip computer was introduced last year that’s available on the Voyager SE.

Driving Impression

The Voyager rides as smoothly and as quietly as many sedans. When it was redesigned in 1996, it got a revised suspension that makes it handle much more like a sedan. Its rigid chassis works with the suspension to keep the tires firmly planted in corners.

That’s definitely a benefit in the Voyager, which, at 68.5 inches tall, tends to lean a bit in corners. Even when it leans, however, the Voyager feels solidly planted. Power rack-and-pinion steering adds to the responsiveness during abrupt lane-change maneuvers.

In 1998, the Voyager’s ride quality was improved and road noise was reduced.

The Voyager 3.0-liter V6 engine, coupled with a 4-speed automatic transmission, performs admirably, delivering sufficient power in all situations, whether launching from a standing start or passing slower vehicles on the highway. At higher engine speeds, the engine is a bit noisy, but it offers strong low-rpm torque for towing light trailers. If you feel you need more power, we recommend the 3.3-liter V6, especially for the bigger and heavier Grand Voyager.

Brake performance is always critical, but especially in larger vehicles that may be carrying a heavy load or a lot of people. The Voyager brakes brought our Voyager to a controlled stop, without grabbing or pulling.

These days, cargo capacity doesn’t have the final word when it comes to choosing a minivan. Gone are the days when minivan drivers have to endure rocky rides just to get more cargo space. Anyone who has to haul a lot of people around should find that the Voyager offers an appealing blend of value, ride quality and spaciousness.

Besides that, we found it to be one of the more attractive, comfortable minivans on the market.

Model Lineup

Voyager ($18,850), Voyager SE ($23,085); Grand Voyager ($21,955), Grand Voyager SE ($24,245).

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