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The Grand Voyager was always a solid choice for anyone seeking a really big MPV. Now it's a little more stylish, too. Andy Enright reports.
The requirements for a successful full-sized Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) aren't exactly rocket science. Loads of room, plenty of practical touches, no nonsense engines, top notch safety and it helps if the vehicle in question doesn't feel like a barge to pilot. The latest Grand Voyager gets even slicker with the practicalities, plusher with the kit and adds a welcome dash of style.
If statistics are to be believed, we're getting bigger at a fairly astonishing rate. We're getting taller and we're also getting broader. Our kids are bigger than ever before and our homes need to be bigger to house us and all of our gear. Families these days demand space and plenty of it. Were you designing the ultimate family car from a clean sheet of paper, it would not be family hatchback size any longer. It would probably resemble something more the scale of Chrysler's latest Grand Voyager, a car that makes no bones about being big. Smart packaging, seats that slide and collapse, multifarious stowage spaces and other tricks of the trade only buy car designers a certain amount of leeway. In the final reckoning, there's no substitute for size and the Grand Voyager aces most of its rivals in this regard. It's not just a big crew bus either. The latest model is extremely well finished and equipped.
It was something of a no-brainer for Chrysler to jettison the 190bhp 3.8-litre V6 from the range when the vast majority of Voyager customers went for very good 2.8-litre turbo diesel. The difference between the two engines was best illustrated by the fact that you needed to rev the 3.8-litre petrol unit to 5,200rpm to achieve its peak power figure, whereas you'll need just 3,800rpm on the board to get the best out of the 161bhp diesel. This means that while the diesel is a far more relaxing engine to drive, it feels no slower because the torque figure of 360Nm aces the petrol's 305Nm showing. Overtaking is therefore safe and unstressed, even when you're carrying a full load of passengers and gear. The 2.8-litre CRD diesel engine has proven a real winner for Chrysler Jeep and has been rolled out across a number of vehicles. It's not the most refined unit of its ilk but it's big-hearted and good to drive. Visibility out of the Grand Voyager is one of the best in class with big mirrors, short overhangs and a clear commitment to reduce the width of pillars.
MPVs stand or fall on their practicality. There have been any number of attempts by manufacturers to hoodwink the buying public with 'family' cars that fall short on interior space and they invariably fail. Take a look at the sales charts for this sort of car and it's clear that size sells and on that basis, the Grand Voyager is off to a very promising start. It is seriously big, seating seven with ease and featuring an improved version of the Stow 'n Go seating system with larger seats and a new fold-into-the-floor' one-touch mechanism. And because all of the seats store in the floor, it's not as if you'll need to clutter your garage up with them either. Never the sleekest or prettiest vehicle in its class, the latest Grand Voyager does at least look quite posh with its revised grille and bonnet. The rear gets a new bumper, boot lid and the now almost obligatory LED tail lights. The changes are subtle and still address the buyer that wants the full-fat deal without drawing attention to that fact. The cabin has stepped upmarket on the latest models with upgraded trim accents but it's still the amount of equipment that impresses more than the quality of the ambience.
Three trim levels are available, all powered by the 2.8-litre CRD diesel engine. The range kicks off with the SE before extending up to the SR and tops out with the Limited. Even the standard models get the Stow 'n' Go seating system in the front two rows, powered sliding side doors, a powered tailgate, electric sliding windows in the third row, a removable torch in the boot, LED reading lamps and automatic three-zone climate control for all passengers. LX models also get cruise control and a new leather steering wheel with audio controls. Step up to the Touring trim level and you can add Bluetooth, an auto dimming rear view mirror, a 30Gb hard disc drive and reversing camera. The top spec Limited model adds blind spot monitoring, crosspath detection and new Nappa leather upholstery feature. Passenger safety comes courtesy of traction control and ESP stability control, tyre pressure monitoring, front and all-row curtain airbags as well as seven full-sized seats with inbuilt fixings for three ISOFIX child seats and active headrests. A Swivel 'n' Go seating system is also available that allows the second row of seats to swivel for 'conversational seating', the third row seats power-reclining into one of four positions at the touch of a button.
It isn't hard to see why Chrysler dropped the petrol-engined V6 Voyager. Its emissions and fuel economy couldn't touch those of the 2.8-litre CRD which develops 161bhp and 265lb ft of torque and, according to Chrysler, hauls the Grand Voyager to 60mph in 12.8s and on to a top speed of 115mph. Combined fuel consumption is 33.6mpg and CO2 emissions are rated at 222g/km. Depreciation is an area where the Grand Voyager is going to do reasonably well. It's helped in this regard by upfront pricing that looks very reasonable and by the fact the Grand Voyagers have traditionally been bought by individuals who have come to recognise that viable alternatives are few. Only the Renault Grand Espace and luxury versions of the Volkswagen Caravelle rival the Grand Voyager's interior space and as a compromise between the Renault's style and the Volkswagen's internal acreage, the Grand Voyager has found itself in particular demand.
Updating a successful product is always fraught with risk. Go too radical and you can easily alienate existing buyers. Play too safe and it's possible that bolder rivals will erode your market share. With the latest Grand Voyager, Chrysler has adopted an interesting tack. The exterior may be a little less conservative than it was but it's hard to imagine a more generic MPV silhouette. Where the company has really blown the budget is in dreaming up ways of making the Grand Voyager so much more liveable inside. With its smart seating system and genuine ability to seat seven adults, the Grand Voyager gets the basics right but adds to this a whole host of comfort and convenience features that make it the consummate vehicle for the big family. Add in excellent safety provision and here's one that you can't afford to overlook.
The Chrysler Grand Voyager is one of the best selling vehicles in the World and with good reason. It is one of the best choices for those with larger families or companies that specialise in taxiing big parties. It is luxurious and exceptionally spacious. Even with a full load all the passengers will have plenty of leg room and headroom.
The Chrysler Grand Voyager does what it says on the tin, it is a vehicle for a grand voyage it can also be used to describe the driver: a grand voyager. The Grand Voyager is a true 7 seater using a 2 front 2 middle and 3 rear configuration. It sets itself apart from the likes of the Ford Galaxy with experience - the Chrysler Grand Voyager has been in the business for a long time and it knows what it is doing. Its engine is powerful enough to power even 7 heavy passengers with 176 bhp coming from the 2.8 turbodiesel engine.
Lease a Chrysler Grand Voyager if you will be regularly using the 7 seats as there are plenty of alternatives if only 4-5 get regular use. Leasing a minivan doesn't have to be unglamorous as expressed by its poweful engine. All variants of the Grand Voyager are automatic for added ease to the driver but there are three trims available which are SE, SR and Limited.
Overall, the Chrysler Grand Voyager is one of the best and most popular choices of 7 seaters out there - with the addition of superior comfort to competitors the Grand Voyager is not an option to avoid. Check out the rest of the Chrysler Grand Voyager car leasing hub today for the latest images, in depth reviews and high definition video.
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