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Road Test

Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited

by Stephen Walker

17th October, 2008

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Chrysler's continued development of their mini-van (an American expression for people-mover) over many years has provided the newly independent American company with a steady flow of sales in Australia. Make no mistake though, the Chrysler Grand Voyager is no mini-van. It is a large wagon, measuring in at 5.143 metres long, 1.954 metres wide and 1.75 metres tall. Yet it is quite easy to manage, just as I found out during a one-way drive from Melbourne to Adelaide. Covering some 1,082 kilometres, I determined that the Grand Voyager provided a very comfortable means of travel.

Having never driven this 'sector' previously, the drive was always going to be a novelty. The chosen route was the Western Highway, via Ballarat and Horsham. The drive was 'tackled' as just one driving session.

Those who know western Victoria will be well aware of the fact that this particular road is several decades overdue for replacement. However, the big Chrysler made the excursion quite an easy trip. The car is easy to manage. It offers a nice ride, a ride which is usually associated with cars with a long wheelbase. Yet all other aspects were easy to live with too. There was no driver's footrest, yet after a 'single hop' (stopping for meals and fuel only, plus a little walk and rest) from Melbourne's eastern suburbs to Adelaide's city area, it must be said that this driver's left foot was still quite comfortable after many hours of driving. The plentiful room, the comfortable up-high seating position and the relaxed environment of this luxury wagon made the drive particularly pleasurable. There was a distinct feel of substance about this vehicle, too. That's because of the feel through the steering and braking. Also because of the solid manner in which the front doors close. However, the finesse of European vehicles escapes the big Chrysler.

The interior is quite roomy, just as you would expect with such a large vehicle. Seating is certainly comfortable and the interior lay-out is pleasing. There are pull-up 'shades' for the back doors and rear side windows. Tri-zone air conditioning is standard. Luggage space is plentiful.

The test car was fitted with the standard 3.8 litre V-6 petrol engine, matched to a 6 speed automatic transmission. The standard cruise control is user friendly.

Fuel consumption is rated at 12.3 litres/100 kilometres on the combined cycle. Whilst the urban cycle is rated at a disturbing 18.8 litres/100 kilometres.

Emission levels are rated at 302 grammes per kilometre. This figure is high, but when fully loaded the Chrysler Grand Voyager may well be taking the load of two cars! And when that is the case, the emission level must be considered quite low. Context is important when considering emission levels, just as it is with fuel usage too.

Standard equipment on Grand Voyager models is extensive. For example, electronic stability programme (ESP), rear parking sensors, engine immobiliser, power operated rack-and-pinion steering, various forms of entertainment (standard or optional) and a choice of diesel or petrol engines.

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Prices for the Chrysler Grand Voyager begin at $56,990 (RRP). Whilst this is beyond many family budgets, the Grand Voyager certainly has much on offer. Hence the spread of models across a very broad range of prices. For example, the test car, a Grand Voyager Limited, is priced from $73,990 (RRP). For this type of money it is quite reasonable to expect quite a good level of standard equipment. And that is the way it is with the Grand Voyager.

The Limited model is the top-of-the-line and comes standard with 17" aluminium wheels (16" on other versions), heated front seats, heated second row seats, leather-trimmed 1st- and 2nd-row seats with suede microfibre accents, 8-way power driverís seat and 8-way front passenger seat (includes memory for the driver), power-folding 3rd-row seat, power recline for 3rd row seat, power sunroof (includes dual rear mini overhead consoles with two bins), power operated exterior rear-view mirrors (heated, with power folding feature, includes chrome mirrors with memory feature, supplemental signals and driver-side autodimming exterior mirror), dual power sliding back doors (also standard on the mid-spec 'Touring' model), power lift-gate (also standard on Touring), head lamp washers, self-levelling head lamps, reversing camera, CD/DVD player and satellite navigation.

The conservatively styled Chrysler Grand Voyager is a well built large wagon (I have forgotten all about this mini-van business), suitable for all those people mover chores. Yet it can undertake these tasks with plenty of luxury for those who require/demand all the extras that can be thrown in. And whilst ever this is the case, the steady sales rate should continue.

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