What is it?
Chrysler’s new large MPV replaces an old model that was a firm favourite in this class, especially amongst celebrity chauffeurs and prime ministers.
There won’t be a plain ‘Voyager’ anymore – that’s to be replaced by the forthcoming Dodge Journey, leaving the seven-seat Grand at the top of the range.
The excellent Stow ‘n Go seating arrangement is carried over, which means no carting about heavy seats in your driveway; rows two and three simply fold away into the floor.
What’s it like?
The new Grand looks imposing, almost van-like after the curvy and dated old model. It also looks a lot more solid, which will be welcome news after the poor crash tests of old.
Inside, there’s sign of improvement in Chrysler’s mainstream interiors. Although some of the plastics are still rather hard, and the wood unconvincing, it does feel more cohesive than some of the firm’s other offerings – especially at night with the new ambient lighting.
But you’ll buy this car for its practicality, and here the Grand really shines. Firstly, there’s so much room behind the front seats that, while other cars in the class might match the seven-seat capability on paper, in reality the Grand is much less claustrophobic. Even in the third row there is plenty of room for adults.
The second row of seats tumble forward into bins in the floor, and the rear row folds back and down into a bin behind them. The process is quick and easy, and once completed leaves a huge load bay intact.
A Swivel ‘n Go option for the seats replaces the ability to hide the second row with the facility to rotate them so they face rearwards.
The Grand has a sliding door on either side that makes getting people and objects in and out easier. Both the side doors and the rear hatch are powered, and not just from the fob, but by buttons peppered over the interior.
There are also a wealth of additional features, some standard such as three-zone climate control, plus the option of DVD screens for second and third row passengers that can each play different media, supplementing the comprehensive new Chrysler infotainment system mounted up front with the driver.
Thankfully, the Grand doesn’t offer a van-like driving experience. You sit high, with excellent visibility, in large comfortable chairs. The steering is light, but reasonably accurate, and overall the Grand is surprisingly wieldy for such a big thing.
The primary ride is soft, and all the better for it, although ridges and potholes do tend to send tremors through the ‘shell.
It’s a pity that the excellent Mercedes 3.0 turbodiesel engine hasn’t been used here – according to Chrysler it won’t fit – because the revised 2.8 VM turbo four-pot diesel has reasonable punch, but nothing like the same refinement for the task. At least it marries well with the new six-speed auto ‘box.