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Car reviews - Chrysler - Voyager - SE people-mover

Our Opinion

We like
Commodious size, luggage space
Room for improvement
Fuel consumption, barely adequate air-conditioning, left-hand drive control bias

Chrysler logo10 Jan 2001

By STEVEN BUTCHER

THE Voyager was launched in Australia in February, 1997, to do battle in the seven-seater class.

This is fought out by the likes of Toyota Tarago and Honda Odyssey in the people-mover category, and the four-wheel drive Nissan Patrol and Toyota LandCruiser wagons. A long wheelbase, eight-seat Voyager came along eight months later.

Chrysler basically created the North American obsession with the people-mover with the original, car-based Voyager back in 1983, so the stylishly modern second generation model was eagerly anticipated.

Three trim levels are offered: the standard SE version in both long and short wheelbase, the mid-spec LE and the feature-packed LX. All have air-conditioning, anti-lock brakes, dual airbags, remote central locking, power steering and mirrors, and two sliding rear doors standard.

Even in short wheelbase form the Voyager is a big people-mover with plenty of room for seven in a two-two-three formation.

The seats are fairly comfortable although the driver's seat is offset and bit flat under the thighs.

The two middle rows can be unhooked and rolled out - an impractical (if not impossible) job for one person - providing additional storage space. Even with the third row in place, there is some luggage room behind the seat.

Drawbacks are minor. The middle row of seats is still positioned for left-hand drive, which makes the centre cutaway on the road side of the vehicle dangerously supportive of road-side exits.

Being such a large vehicle, the front-only air-conditioning also struggles a little to cool back-seat passengers, although the back windows can be opened a few centimetres.

Another right-hand drive conversion niggle is the absence of a driver's footrest.

What does impress is the Voyager's refinement. The car-like suppression of noise means it is more refined than many of its competitors.

The low-tech, 3.3-litre V6 engine, with 116kW of power and a beefy 275Nm of torque, provides decent acceleration under all load conditions. But with a considerable 1705kg to lug around, the Voyager is thirsty.

The suspension, by struts at the front and a beam axle with single leaf spring at the back, may sound uninspiring but it does a good job, hustling the Voyager along with agility and aplomb.

The Voyager excels as a refined, well equipped people-mover with better than average performance and plenty of room for all seven or eight passengers.

- Automotive NetWorks 05/07/1999

Did you know?

FOR: Commodious size, luggage spaceAGAINST: Fuel consumption, barely adequate air-conditioning, left-hand drive control bias

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