What's New for 2000
With Plymouth's impending death, the Grand Voyager turns into a Chrysler this year, but it is otherwise unchanged. Four new colors and a new Value-Plus option package that includes a V6 and power features are new this year.
Chrysler used to be the minivan champion. They pioneered the concept of a seven-passenger box-on-wheels way back in 1984, and have effectively dominated this market until last year, when competition from Ford and Honda finally caught up and surpassed them in terms of features, power and crashworthiness. Items like power-sliding doors, disappearing third seats and navigation systems have yet to appear on a Chrysler-badged minivan, though you can expect to see some of these features and more when the redesigned vans debut in 2001.
Rumors of Plymouth's demise have proven accurate and this once proud Chrysler division is no more. But this doesn't mean the Grand Voyager is going anywhere. Chrysler needs a value leader in the minivan class and its Town and Country is too upscale. So the spirit of Plymouth lives on in the low-priced Voyager line.
Chrysler officially offers the long-wheelbase Grand Voyager in two levels of trim: the base model and the step-up SE. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is standard on base models, but these sizable vans benefit from a little extra oomph when an optional V6 is selected. Acceleration with the 3.3-liter, 158-horsepower engine is pretty strong from startup, but sometimes unimpressive when merging onto an expressway. Automatic transmission shifts are neat and smooth. Engine and tire sounds are virtually absent.
Though tautly suspended, the ride is seldom harsh or jarring, unless you get onto truly rough surfaces. Handling is exceptional for a minivan. You might even call it fun. Combined with light steering wheel response and great visibility, the Grand Voyager is easy to handle in urban traffic and suburban shopping centers.
So, how does Chrysler improve on this package for 2000? By keeping the price low and the value high. Four new colors debut, and a new T-Plus package is available. Vans equipped with T-Plus include a V6 engine, power windows, locks and mirrors, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, and a cloth interior. And, despite the Grand Voyager's "value-oriented" spirit, Chrysler offers a vast array of option packages to personalize the vans. The same can't be said of the competition from Japan or America.
Newly revised minivans from Honda, Ford, Mazda and GM are the strongest challengers, but the Grand Voyager holds its own when it comes to value. Where else can you get a commodious and decently equipped minivan for $20 grand?