Under new stewardship the Chrysler brand appears to be making money. American buyers can't get enough of the large Voyager people carrier, but what works in the States doesn't always go down so well here in Europe. However, an update to the already highly versatile interior makes the huge MPV more appealing than ever for those with a large brood to transport.
In the Metal:
The Chrysler Voyager is and always has been an imposing car, certainly on Irish roads. It's one of the bulkiest people carriers on sale. It wears its American roots on its sleeve too, with a big shiny chrome grille and decently proportioned alloy wheels (of a new design). It's not unattractive by any means, though we'd hold back from calling it good-looking.
Thankfully that large footprint makes for a commodious interior - and this is the reason you buy the Voyager. It's simply massive inside. The update for the 2012 model year brings a completely redesigned dashboard with much more tactile switchgear and a relocated gear lever. There's also a new console between the front seats housing much more storage, cup holders and auxiliary sockets. These updates are well worth having, but the most impressive aspect of the Voyager's cabin remains its fantastic 'Stow'n'Go' seating system. All the rear seating folds neatly and intuitively under the floor to create a vast storage area.
Chrysler has taken the model year change to breathe on the Voyager's chassis and powertrain too. Reduced road noise was one of the main goals, while the suspension is tweaked for European markets. Naturally it's still biased towards comfort and it pulls this off. It's a shame the 2.8-litre engine is so audible on the move though.
This four-cylinder unit has been updated to consume less fuel and hence emit less CO2, while changes to the six-speed automatic gearbox make the Voyager a little faster than before. It feels plenty quick for its purpose in life.
What you get for your Money:
Although the 2012 version does not yet have an official price in Ireland, it's unlikely to rise much from the current model's starting price of €45,995. That's for the Touring model, which includes power operation for the rear hatch and sliding side doors, three-zone climate control, alloy wheels, cruise control, six airbags, a reversing camera, individual adjustable 'captain's chairs' for the middle row of seats, a 6.5-inch touch-screen infotainment system and Bluetooth connectivity.
Fancy even more equipment? Chrysler Ireland will sell you the Limited model for about €48,995 and that adds satnav, leather seats, heating for the first two rows of seats, larger alloys, rear window blinds, electrically adjustable front seats, HID headlights and a few other bits and pieces.
Although Chrysler has just launched an impressive new 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine in the restyled 300C saloon there's no chance it'll make it into the Voyager for a while. It's smoother and quieter, but would require a significant amount of repackaging within the Voyager's engine bay. Watch out for it in the next generation though.
The market for large MPVs in Ireland is quite a small one and most buyers in this segment are more interested in bang for their buck than out and out luxury. Hence the Voyager sits almost alone in its class and Chrysler Ireland should have no problem shifting its allocation. The 2012 model year updates are well worth waiting for if you're considering this car and as ever the Voyager's cleverly designed cabin sets it apart from most other people carriers.