Car reviews - Chrysler - Voyager - range
Styling, versatility, comfort
Room for improvement
Parts and servicing can be expensive, V6 engine not the smoothest
25 Sep 2003
THE arrival of the Voyager people-mover in 1997 gave Chrysler Australia the opportunity to start building its brand image with a vehicle that deserved to succeed.
The base model was priced at $44,800 when launched, which represented good value for money.
The equipment list included air-conditioning, anti-lock bra-kes, dual airbags, remote central locking, power steering and mirrors, and a sliding rear door on both sides of the vehicle.
The Voyager is a big people-mover with plenty of room for seven in a two/two/three formation.
The interior is fairly comfortable although the driver's seat is offset and a bit flat under the thighs.
The rear two rows can easily be unhooked and rolled out – a process that needs two people – providing additional storage space for a mountain bike.
Even with the third row in place, there is a bit of room for luggage behind the seat.
Being such a large vehicle, the air-conditioning struggles a little to cool back-seat passengers.
There was no rear air-conditioning option but the back windows can be opened a few centimetres by a switch on the driver’s door to help airflow. Only the front windows open all the way.
A few right-hand drive conversion niggles include the lack of a footrest and a column-mounted gear lever located on the right side of the wheel.
The handbrake is also a fair stretch away as it is still in its original left-hand drive position.
What does impress with the Voyager is its refinement.
Noise levels are more car-like than its competitors, making this a genuine alternative for station wagon owners.
The engine plays an important role as it remains relatively subdued throughout its rev range.
It may be low-tech, but the 3.3-litre engine with its 116kW and beefy 275Nm torque curve provides a decent amount of acceleration under all load conditions.
The suspension, by struts at the front and a beam axle with single leaf springs at the back, may sound uninspiring but does a good job. The Voyager resists understeer even when hustled along and it manages not to jump and kick over pot-holed streets.
Road and tyre noise are also well suppressed, adding to the overall impression that it is a more upmarket people-mover.
There is a cost for this refinement as the Voyager tips the scales at a substantial 1705kg, which translates into higher fuel consumption than its competitors.
Nevertheless, Chrysler has produced a winner with the Voyager.
Even with its handful of right-hand drive conversion problems, it was the best people-mover on the market when it was launched.
The vehicle’s mechanicals are inherently reliable but overall build quality is not up to Japanese standards.
The Voyager represents a good second-hand buy but a potential purchase should be examined by a qualified mech-anic or RACQ inspector.
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