Chrysler Voyager

Americans like things big. Burgers, stadiums, soft drinks containers and guns are all huge in the land of the free, so it's no surprise to find the Chrysler Voyager is sold there as a 'compact minivan'.

If you're after a big, spacious and well equipped MPV, the Voyager CRD isn't the best choice. It may be faster and more frugal than the old diesel, but for the same price you can buy the superior Renault Espace. And you can get similar space, dynamics and refinement from the far cheaper Kia Sedona.

Americans like things big. Burgers, stadiums, soft drinks containers and guns are all huge in the land of the free, so it's no surprise to find the Chrysler Voyager is sold there as a 'compact minivan'.

Over here, though, things are a little different, and the Voyager is one of the largest and most daunting vehicles on the road. Unlike US buyers, we prefer our full-size MPVs with diesel engines, and the Chrysler's 2.5-litre unit has always been its weak link.

But the firm hopes to address this with a more powerful oil-burner. The original unit has been replaced by a 2.8-litre, with 150bhp and 360Nm of torque, which gives the bulky Voyager enough poke around town, even with a full load on board. The car has a four-speed automatic gearbox as standard, and arrives in the UK at the end of May, with prices set to range from £20,000 to £30,000, depending on spec.

The new engine certainly feels livelier, giving an 11.8-second 0-62mph time. But refinement is still a weakness. The unit is clattery at idle, while on the move it's very noisy, especially at high revs.

Besides the new engine, there's also a minor facelift for the range. The Voyager has a reprofiled nose and a larger grille, along with new tail-light clusters. Inside, the dash is mildly revised, with aircraft-style overhead storage lockers, but the materials still feel cheap and badly finished compared to rivals.

Equipment is likely to be generous, though, and there's lots of passenger and boot space, even in SWB versions. But more avantgarde creations such as the latest Renault Espace render the facelifted design old-fashioned already.

It also feels dated on the road. The car seems top-heavy and the steering is vague, while the ride is over-sensitive to poor surfaces. It might have been given another facelift, but apart from the new engine, sadly that's all it is. The Voyager still isn't a brilliant car, and if prices remain the same, it's not even good value against newer, more superior rivals.

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