A history lesson…
Large MPVs are never the coolest cats on the car park, nor are they the most desirable, but what they can offer is luxury and seats… lots of seats. Chrysler’s Grand Voyager has been setting the bench-mark for the sector for a good few years now, and as if BBC ONE’s The Apprentice co-sign wasn’t enough, the Grand Voyager can also show off with lots of practicality and a half decent interior.
The newest model came on the market in 2008, and it basically improved on everything what was wrong with the MK1. It an MPV is what you’re after but with an American flava, the Grand Voyager is the motor for you; just don’t expect European build quality or taste.
Bang for your buck
For your money, you do get an awful lot of space, room and practicality. You also get yourself about a million seats; perfect for business meetings or taking your six kids to school. Performance isn’t this car’s USP, but if 0-62mph times are crucial to you, the GV will do it in a respectable 12.8 seconds, and go on to a top speed of 115mph.
You get a 3.8-litre V6 petrol or a 2.8-litre CRD V6 diesel, the latter being the pick of the bunch. Emissions and fuel economy were improved by 10% on the diesel unit in 2010, so that’s probably a good pick for the eco-conscious among you.
What you’ll pay
You’ll be looking at just under £20,000 for a diesel Grand Voyager on 57-plates, which is relatively cheap for a car with so much accessibility and practicality. The emphasis on Grand with the Voyage hints at luxury, and you certainly pay for the American’s version of luxury motoring. It’s nice… if you’ve never been in a Rolls-Royce.
What to check
The interior quality is probably the biggest aspect of a Grand Voyager to check. Let’s face it; the Grand Voyager is a bus, and if kids have been inside, the chances are it won’t be looking factory-fresh. Make sure the leather and seat mechanisms work and look as good as they should, if not, you could be better just walking away.
Most American cars are made from plastic, so parts shouldn’t be too expensive. Clutch assemblies are around £400 and a new radiator would set you back £500. So not cheap, but not too bad either.
How it drives
The driving experience is definitely an after-thought on big buses like the Grand Voyager. Companies spend millions to make them look half attractive and give them the practicality to compete in a tough MPV market, but then forget that we actually have to drive the thing. The Grand Voyager is not a Lotus Exige, nor is it even a BMW 5-Series, but it’s not so bad that you’ll be hitting every tree on your way to work.
The suspension is very soft, comfortable and about as good at taking corners at speed as Rick Waller. The driving position is ‘bus-driver’ like, and you feel about as attached to the road as you get from a HGV, but really it’s not unbearable. It’s just anything but a driver’s car.
With a respectable 0-62mph time, you won’t become too aggravated with a lack of power, and that relatively good-looking front-end will keep the neighbours from laughing at you of a Monday morning.