The Chrysler Voyager is the grandaddy of people carriers, with more than 10 million sold since 1983. But with an assortment of young upstarts offering greater versatility (such as seats that slide or even fold flat into the floor), the Voyager has started to feel outdated.
Chrysler agreed. All 2005-model Grand Voyagers can be equipped with a £330 Stow ’n’ Go system that comprises folding seats in the third and, uniquely, second row of seats. All seats also now recline and the middle two slide backwards and forwards.
As before, there is sufficient space for adults in each row. But now, moveable seats mean you can sacrifice legroom in the third row, slide the middle seats back and give the four frontmost passengers limo-style comfort. Or, for even more legroom, fold the middle seats into the floor to the benefit of the three rear passengers. The seating permutations go on and this is where the Stow ’n’ Go excels: it gives you the flexibility to adjust the car to your immediate needs.
Thankfully, making adjustments is quick and easy. Labels explain the procedure, the levers and straps are numbered and clever weighting and hydraulic rams make pivoting the chairs light work. The only bugbear is having to move the front seats fully forward and remove the luggage cover before the seat acrobatics can begin.
With all the seats folded flat, Chrysler claims a colossal 4690 litres of load space, 1500 litres more than either the Peugeot 807 or Renault Espace. The folding seats also make the Chrysler more practical than the Peugeot and Renault, which both require their seats to be removed for maximum load space.
Other improvements for 2005 include a 60/40 split for the rear seats and, for Limited and Limited XS models, an overhead storage system with six trays (and, on petrol models, separate rear temperature controls.
The rest of the Grand Voyager remains unchanged, which means only average ride and handling and a choice of thirsty 3.3-litre V6 petrol or noisy 2.8-litre diesel engines. Both come with standard automatic gearboxes.
So if you need a vehicle that can regularly switch between load-lugger and people-carrier, or need to transport seven passengers and their luggage, the Grand Voyager is worth a fresh look.