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Driven: Chrysler Voyager 2.8 CRD LX - on sale now


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You expect a lot from the world’s best selling MPV (more than 33,000 have been registered in the UK alone). And, at first glance, the Voyager looks as though it will have no problem in keeping up with the hype.

Tinted windows from the B pillar rearward (a £300 option), combined with its imposing size, look as though a pop star or politician could be hiding from the public’s gaze within it.

Open the driver’s door and step up into the seat, which hugs and supports your body perfectly. Gaze at the dashboard and controls, which are set out in beautiful symmetry, but try to ignore the walnut burr effect centre console. It hasn’t the quality feel of the Citroën C8/Peugeot 807/Fiat Ulysee’s dash.

Steering wheel-mounted, four-speed automatic gearbox is easy to use and feels strong. The engine is nicely geared and you don’t get the “for gawd’s sake, move up a gear” feeling that is so common with automatics. Noise, vibration and harshness have been reduced by a much-needed 16% from the 2004 model.

Road handling is surprisingly good. You expect plenty of cab roll – but don’t get it. It grips the road and copes with exuberant driving on roundabouts. The handling is a definite plus point for parents who want to feel indestructible on the school run. As is the seating arrangement.

The interior can be configured with two, five or seven seats. Even with seven, there is plenty of room for the average-sized person. What there isn’t room for, however, is luggage. Or even the weekly shop. Yes, you can fold seats down to provide more room, but if you do that, you might as well have a saloon.

Visibility is good and, for its size (4808mm x 1997mm), the Voyager is easy to park. But why isn’t a parking sensor fitted as standard?

Power sliding side doors are a £500 option that will take some convincing selling. The doors take ages to shut completely, with a loud whirring of electrics. Forget ‘get in and go’. This is get in, study the map for directions (there’s no sat nav), file your nails – and then go.

But what the competition lacks is the 2.8-litre diesel engine. It pulls convincingly and has great mid-range. You could drive the Voyager with your entire family from Land’s End to John o’Groats without problem. But you’d have to buy an overnight bag when you get there.

Strength: 2.8-litre engine, good visibility
Weakness: Doesn’t have the upmarket feel you’d expect from Chrysler
Opportunity: Best-selling MPV
Threat: Expensive compared to competition
The USP: That engine again
Price: £23,195
Engine : 2.8-litre common rail, direct electronic injection, 150bhp @ 3800rpm
Transmission: four-speed automatic
Performance: 0-62mph: 12sec; top speed: 112mph
Efficiency: 29.4mpg comb; 221g/km CO2
CAP RV (3yr/30k): £10,425 (45%)
Rivals:Renault Espace, Hyundai Trajet, Citroën C8, Peugeot 807, Fiat Ulysee

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