Chrysler Voyager

It's popular with celebrities, but will the Chrysler Voyager make its fame in the used car market?

To some, it looked much like its predecessor, but those who know their cars will tell you the 2001 Chrysler Voyager was revised from the ground up. And it needed it. The outgoing model scored badly in the Euro NCAP crash test, and sales collapsed. The new version's stiffer structure meant it was a good deal more secure, and Chrysler breathed a sigh of relief.

The Voyager is still not a great drive, though, and the 3.3-litre V6 is thirsty while the 2.5-litre CRD diesel is hard to find. However, the car has a definite image advantage over rivals, because it's a popular choice among celebrities, thanks to its American styling and smart blacked-out rear windows.

It's also surprisingly affordable, with excellent equipment levels and tempting prices, even at main dealers.

Checklist

  • Gearbox: early manual gearboxes were troublesome, with tiresome shifts prone to premature syncromesh wear. Chrysler introduced a revised unit, with many early boxes replaced under warranty.
  • Windows: don't underestimate the cost of seemingly minor faults - new electric window motors, for example, are in excess of £200. Also, some interior trim is very flimsy and breaks loose easily.
  • Electrics: heaters can be troublesome, so ensure hot air blows from both the front and rear vents, as replacement parts are pricey.
  • Seats: the seats are removable but heavy, especially the rear bench - check for damage to surrounding trim where past owners have had trouble getting it out.
  • Doors: the clever electric sliding doors are operated by the key fob, but can stick if guide rails are not cleaned regularly. This can cause the motors to burn out.

Driving impressions

The Voyager feels big, but is OK in town due to its great visibility and large glass area. The controls are heavy and the manual gearchange on diesels is cumbersome; autos are better, although the change is coarse and indecisive.

Engines are thirsty in 3.3-litre guise. The oil-burner is more efficient and quiet when cruising. Ride can be lumpy, but for interior luxury it takes some beating, as equipment levels are supreme.

Glass's view

The Voyager has never really set the new or used car markets alight, but it does attract steady demand from those looking for an alternative to some of the more popular large MPVs. Resale prices tend to be on the low side, which is good news for those seeking a bargain, but not great for owners looking to sell. The very well specified Grand Voyager is attractive for those with large load-lugging needs or big families, and again it offers tremendous value for money.Jeff Paterson, senior editor, Glass's Guide

Life with a Voyager

My Chrysler hasn't been the most reliable - I've never encountered a major problem, but there have been plenty of tiny electrical niggles and irritations, such as bits of trim coming loose.David Davies, Machynlleth, Powys

The Voyager is big, solid and chunky. I've read some criticisms, but to my mind it is by far the best of the full-size people carriers.Russell Hayman, Honiton, Devon

Verdict

Improved rivals and safety concerns saw sales of the old Voyager take a dive. So crash protection is improved, while better engines and equipment levels ensure the Chrysler is class-competitive again. There are countless seating options and clever touches inside, although the Grand is the more practical. Top-spec models have electronically powered doors and tailgate. An enticing package in terms of value for money, but there are better models to drive.

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