As often seen on popular TV shows staring Lord Sugar and those featuring wannabe singers, the Chrysler Grand Voyager continues to be the most popular people carrier within the chauffeured airport transfer industry – but why is that?
As it passes, It hardly turns heads in the street and the performance and economy is much to be desired, so how has Chrysler managed to get so many operators behind the wheel of the seven seater gas guzzler, and why haven’t they chosen the competition.
Introduced into Europe in 1988, the Grand Voyager ranks as the 13th bestselling vehicle nameplate worldwide, with over 12 million sold, so the manufacturer must be dong something right.
Chauffeurs have a limited choice when it comes to moving a large number of people at any one time as they are mostly minibus type vehicles which are basically vans with seats. These are great for airport runs, but when you want to make the client feel a little more special, you can only count on a handful of vehicles to provide that.
The Volkswagen Caravelle, Mercedes-Benz Viano and the Chrysler Grand Voyager are probably the only vehicles which gives something special to the client. The Caravelle delivers the MPG and practicality, but falls down when it comes to offering complete interior luxury. The problem is, It has a van variant, so these are too often seen in white doing 90mph in the outside lane. However, VW is slowly changing that image by introducing business models especially for the executive chauffeur market.
How does the Viano stack up then? Inside can be very luxurious but to do so, the price tag increases with it and if you are not careful you could be up to S-Class prices before you know it. Again, it has a van variant so it can be difficult to shake off that image when you pull up to the clients door.
So, now we are left with one vehicle – the Grand Voyager. It offers acres of space, enough room for many large cases, a leather interior, electric sliding doors and it doesn’t have a van variant which I think is the secret of its success.
However, it’s not perfect. The engine is noisy, slow and relatively uneconomical. On a steady cruise at 70mph, it’s quiet and the ride is soft, but in town the fuel needle moves at a rate of knots and engine noise is excessive.
I’ve always liked the Grand Voyager, and the only reason I say this now is because I know what Chrysler is capable of. The new 300C is incredible, it offers 40mpg and the engine is smooth and quiet.
It almost seems as if the perfect package just isn’t possible. The sheer size of the Voyager is what is responsible for its bad economy but you get absolutely everything else in the Voyager. Hopefully operators are able to counterweigh the fuel costs with being able to take more passengers and their luggage in luxury surroundings.
I would always recommend the Grand Voyager to a chauffeur in the market for such a vehicle, but I do hope that the next generation, whenever that may be, will reflect more luxury and a little more focus on the other areas which are important when choosing a vehicle.