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Car reviews - Chrysler - Voyager - range

Our Opinion

We like
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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