What's New for 2000
The Expresso trim level is discontinued. A new option package that Plymouth calls "T-Plus" allows buyers to pick up the 3.0-liter V6, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel and power windows, mirrors and locks, all for about $20,000. Base models now come standard with a cassette player. Note that this is your last opportunity to get a Plymouth-badged Voyager, as Chrysler dismantles its value-oriented division -- all future Voyagers will be badged as Chryslers.
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.
Plymouth renderings of Chrysler's popular front-drive minivans have been virtual clones of the Dodge Caravan in terms of engineering and design since day one. However, Plymouth is pushing low pricing, aiming squarely at entry-level buyers who are shopping for their first minivans. Voyagers for 2000 are lightly equipped value-leaders for the company, and with the demise of the Plymouth brand, will soldier on with Chrysler nameplates.
For now, leftover Plymouths exist in short- (Voyager) and long-wheelbase (Grand Voyager) versions 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 Voyager and Grand Voyager are easy to handle in urban traffic and suburban shopping centers. So, how does Plymouth 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. T-Plus models sell for about $20,000.
Newly revised minivans from Honda, Ford, Mazda and GM are the strongest challengers, but the Voyager holds its own when it comes to value. Where else can you get a commodious and decently equipped minivan for 20 grand?