Chrysler Grand Voyager

16 Dec 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Chrysler Grand Voyager
Chrysler Grand Voyager

Cameron McGavin

Make CHRYSLER Model GRAND VOYAGER Price $75,990 (auto only). Series 2.8 CRD LIMITED AUTO Series Year 2008 Body Group people mover Power 120 kW. Torque 360 Nm. What’s it got? Twin front, side and curtain airbags, stability control, ABS with brake assist, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, tri-zone climate control, powered/heated front seats, heated middle-row seats, powered folding third-row seats, powered sliding doors and tailgate, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, CD/DVD system with auxiliary jack/USB input, satellite navigation.

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People-movers have a reputation for being rational, rather boring purchases. Bought because you need to, not want to. That’s not a likely scenario with Chrysler’s new Grand Voyager.

With prices kicking off at $56,990, it aims to deliver serious people-hauling abilities and a touch of desirability as well.

And new isn’t an overstatement.

The body and cabin are totally fresh, there’s a number of added or improved features, the six-speed auto is different, and there’s a choice of petrol or diesel power.

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What do you get?

The Grand Voyager range covers three models, culminating in the top-line Limited CRD tested here, which costs $75,990, or almost double the price of an entry-level Honda Odyssey.

Balancing this is a specification that groans under the weight of almost every conceivable luxury toy.

The side sliding doors and tailgate are power-operated, as are the front seats and foldaway final-row seats. Front and middle rows get seat heating, while the middle and final rows enjoy side sunblinds and drop-down DVD screens. If that’s not enough, there’s another DVD screen up front in the MyGIG multimedia system.

It’s quite the set-up, combining touch-screen sat-nav, CD sound system, USB/auxiliary input and a 20-gig hard drive, and can play three systems simultaneously.

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All models get front, side and curtain airbags that extend to the final-row seats, as well as anti-lock brakes, stability/traction control, brake assist and a reversing camera.

The Chrysler is yet to be evaluated by the NCAP crash-test regime, but it has rated better than its predecessor in US tests.

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What’s inside?

The Grand Voyager’s cabin is brilliantly packaged, with loads of space, astonishing flexibility and genuine user-friendliness.

All models get the Stow’n’Go seating system, which allows the middle-row seats to be folded, flipped and stored under the floor.

Combine that with powered final-row seats that also fold into the floor and the Chrysler can be converted from seven-seater to two-seat cargo carrier in not much longer than it takes to read this sentence – a unique asset.

It’s kind to passengers, too.

The individual middle-row buckets slide, recline and – if you tick the box for the optional Swivel’n’Go system – can be rotated as well.

The final row isn’t amazingly roomy but will seat two adults without fuss. The boot isn’t long but compensates with depth and height, and is versatile thanks to the final row’s split-fold function, the frontseat riders get ample space, loads of storage and comfortable seating.

However, tilt-only adjustable steering means the driving position isn’t as flexible as it could be. And taller drivers may find the offset pedals uncomfortable.

Cabin quality, meanwhile, is a step up from some other Chrysler vehicles we’ve sampled. The plastics still lag behind the best, but the Grand Voyager’s lower gloss, more substantial offerings are a big improvement. Sober, professional design, nice colour matching and LED ambient lighting add to the classier feel.

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Under the bonnet

The 120 kW, 2.8-litre CRD four isn’t remarkable on paper. Torque tops out at just 360 Nm when other 2.8s in the Chrysler/Jeep fleet make up to 460 Nm. Still, that’s a handy 55 Nm more than the petrol V6, which, with a hefty 2100 kilograms to tote around, can only be a good thing.

And so it proves on the road.

The CRD delivers respectable acceleration, meaty rolling response, relaxed cruising and isn’t knocked around by hills or heavy loads.

The new six-speed automatic, too, is mostly smooth and smart, but occasionally proffers a poorly resolved shift. Along with the engine’s noisiness under load, it is the only real disappointment of this competitive driveline.

No such issues with the fuel use.

We averaged 10.1 L/100 km on test – no match for the 9.3 L/100 km claim but definitely not shabby by big-bus standards.

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It’s obedient, stable and thoroughly predictable, but pitch it into a tight corner and its nose-heaviness, lazy responses and vague steering are discouraging.

Things are better around town.

Despite its considerable size, the Chrysler isn’t intimidating to drive or – thanks to the reversing camera and parking sensors – infuriating to park.

It’s comfy, too. The ride jiggles a little over smaller bumps, but bigger disturbances are confidently dispatched. Aside from some slight wind rustle at highway speeds and the occasionally intrusive diesel soundtrack, it’s respectably quiet.

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Chrysler Grand Voyager

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The Grand Voyager has its blemishes. The engine could be quieter, the auto could be smarter and the road manners could be a bit sharper. These sins, however, are more than redeemed by the cabin’s class-beating cleverness, the flexible performance, abundance of toys and endearing character.

Which means price will probably be the determining factor. And for many, the price will be too steep, even if value shows up well alongside similarly priced rivals.

But if you’re looking to spend big on an upmarket people hauler, the Grand Voyager shouldn’t be discounted.

Price and equipment

Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars

Chrysler#8217;s all-new Grand Voyager certainly isn#8217;t budget buying, with the range kicking off at $56,990 and the top-line Limited CRD tested here costing $75,990. But the specification is competitive with other prestige people movers, with power side doors/tailgate, power-folding third-row seat, heated front/middle-row seats, sat nav and a beefy multimedia system with DVD screens galore all standard.

Under the bonnet

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The 120kW 2.8-litre CRD four isn#8217;t as strong as other 2.8s in the ChryslerJeep fleet but its 360Nm torque peak easily outpunches its petrol V6 alternative. That#8217;s reflected on the road, where it delivers respectable acceleration, meaty rolling response and good economy. The only disappointments are is its noisiness under load and the six-speed auto#8217;s occasional fluffed shift.

How it drives

Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars

People movers aren#8217;t known for their sharp handling and the somewhat ponderous Grand Voyager doesn#8217;t change things. But it isn#8217;t intimidating to drive or infuriating to park, while the ride confidently soaks up patchy surfaces. And aside from some slight wind rustle at highway speeds, it#8217;s also respectably quiet.

Comfort and practicality

Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars

The Grand Voyager#8217;s cabin is roomy, brilliantly packaged and impressively user-friendly. Both the middle and final rows fold effortlessly into the floor (the latter at the touch of a button) allowing it to be quickly converted from seven-seater to two-seat van #8211; a unique asset. Design, quality and ambience, meanwhile, set new standards for Chrysler, but the lack of reach-adjustable steering means driver comfort could be better.

Safety

Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars

No NCAP crash-test rating is yet available but the Grand Voyager has performed better than its predecessor in American testing.

Mercedes-Benz R280 CDI

Toyota Tarago V6 Ultima

Engine: 3.5-litre V6; 202 kW/340 Nm. Safety:Four-star NCAP crash rating. Seven airbags, stability/traction control, ABS, parking sensors. What’s it got: Dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, powered sliding doors, satellite navigation, 17-inch alloys, seats seven. For: Rocket-ship performance, roomy cabin more flexible than four-cylinder Taragos, loads of toys.

Against: Floaty ride, a lot of money for a Tarago. Our score: 3.5 stars. Price From $72,490.

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Chrysler Grand Voyager
Chrysler Grand Voyager
Chrysler Grand Voyager
Chrysler Grand Voyager
Chrysler Grand Voyager

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