What is it?
It always tickles me when a manufacturer calls a car ‘all new’. And repeats it. A lot. It means: “please don’t mistake this car for the old one”. And in this case it means: “please don’t mistake it for one that only scored two stars in EuroNCAP’s crash tests. And no points at all for pedestrian protection.”
It’s seldom, if ever, that a car is actually all new. Take this ‘all new’ Chrysler Grand Voyager. It has the same floor pressing as the old one for storing its fancy Stow & Go seating system, a brilliant option that lets the Grand Voyager’s rear five seats fold completely flat into the floor, turning a large seven-seater into a small van.
Combined with its appearances on The Apprentice, they’ve caused a 60 percent increase in Grand Voyager sales in the past two years.
What’s it like?
Apprentices and boyband members are the only ones likely to find out what Chrysler’s V6 petrol engine is like. Over 90 percent of UK buyers will take the 2.8-litre four-pot diesel instead (both are 6-spd auto only) and, though it’s quiet enough at a cruise, this is not the car to choose if you’re running late for a train.
Chrysler, conveniently, hasn’t yet recorded any performance figures, so we indulged in a spot of sly stopwatch action and wafted beyond 13 seconds before we’d wafted, noisily, beyond 60mph.
But that, the argument goes, is not the point. The Grand Voyager is about luxury. But here, in part, it fails too. Some – most – of the dash plastics are well short of the class standard.
In its favour, there are fewer plastics to get upset about in the back, where it has heated seats, climate control and near-silent electric sliding doors and tailgate. This is a superb executive taxi in the making.
And so long as you’re in no hurry, the drive is okay. Be in no doubt that a Ford Galaxy is a far, far better steer (while its seats go near-as-damnit flat now too), but the Voyager’s ride seems smooth and you could comfortably cover very long distances.
Should I buy one?
Chrysler is not making claims for NCAP stars this time around but says it has designed for all international crash tests. Which is usually the precedent for a solid four-star rating.
If it gets it, there’s a case for choosing a Grand Voyager. It’s well-equipped and, although it’s not good to drive, it is at least good to passenger in, and that’s what’s overwhelmingly important in seven-seat MPVs.