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Available Voyager Models
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Expresso Decor Package, four new exterior colors and "next generation" depowered airbags.
Who's the minivan champ? Why, Chrysler Corporation is, of course. They pioneered the concept of a seven-passenger box-on-wheels way back in 1984, and have dominated this market since. Two years ago, the Chrysler minivans received a complete makeover that instantly relegated newcomers Ford Windstar and Honda Odyssey to runner-up status.
In the past, Plymouth renderings of Chrysler Corporation's popular front-drive minivans have been virtual clones of the Dodge Caravan. In engineering and design, that's also true of this latest iteration. In an assertive marketing move, however, Plymouth is pushing value pricing, aiming squarely at entry-level buyers who are shopping for their first minivans. Instead of the three-model lineup that Dodge shoppers face, Plymouth offers only two short-wheelbase Voyagers: the base model and a step-up SE. SE models get a standard 3.0-liter engine. This year, you can also opt for the "Expresso" graphics and gizmo package, which includes a handy remote keyless entry.
A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is standard on base models, but these sizable vans benefit from a little extra oomph when the V6 is selected. Acceleration with the available 3.3-liter 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. Even then, the seven-passenger minivan behaves itself well. Light steering wheel response makes handling even more car-like than in the past. Visibility is great, courtesy of more glass and a reduced-height cowl.
So, how do engineers improve a nearly perfect package for 1998? The SE model comes standard with a 3.0-liter 4EATX engine. And a new five-point belt system makes it easier to buckle Junior into the child safety seat.
This minivan exhibits not a hint of looseness, squeaks or rattles, feeling tight all over. Toyota's Sienna and the GM minivans are the strongest challengers, but we think that the Voyager is the superior minivan.
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