Nowadays, minivans don’t get a lot of love in the automotive world. These cars don’t sell as many units as trucks or SUVs, which also double as good family vehicles. Still, some automakers like Chrysler have a lot of faith in the success of minivans. The Chrysler Pacifica continues to get new updates each year, making it one of the most popular minivans on the market. Chrysler also released an all-new Voyager in 2020, a model last seen over 15 years ago.
However, some critics speculate that this new vehicle’s success could mean the demise of another classic minivan.
Chrysler’s newest minivan
Like the base Pacifica, the Chrysler Voyager has enough capacity for seven passengers. However, the second and third rows aren’t really that accommodating for adults. Some critics also felt that the seats were too firm, which may be uncomfortable during long trips.
Stow ‘n Go seats are standard for the third row, providing generous cargo space once this row is folded flat. It comes with a few useful infotainment features like smartphone integration and Bluetooth. Available upgrades include a rear-seat DVD player, satellite radio, and automatic climate control. The touchscreen is very user-friendly and there are plenty of physical knobs and buttons as well.
Under the hood of the Voyager is a 3.6-liter V6 that can produce up to 287 hp. It’s paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Edmunds reported that it has ample passing power, but the transmission is sometimes slow to respond. The Voyager has a pleasant ride, and its wide front windshield gives drivers excellent visibility.
The Voyager is available in two trims, though Car and Driver recommends getting the pricier option. The Voyager LX comes with improved headlights, a better suspension, aluminum wheels, and all the best infotainment features. The price difference between the two is less than $3,000, so it’s definitely worth the upgrade.
The Chrysler Voyager’s similarities with the Pacifica
The first thing you may notice about the Voyager is that it looks almost identical to the Pacifica. However, there are a few areas where the older minivan is superior. Unlike the Voyager, the Pacifica offers Stow ‘n Go seats for both the second and third rows.
The Pacifica also comes with more standard safety features. While the Voyager received top marks in all its crash tests, its only standard driver’s aid is a rearview camera. The 2021 Pacifica also has the option to add all-wheel drive.
The Dodge Grand Caravan’s exit
Edmunds speculated that the release of the Chrysler Voyager meant that FCA was ready to kill off the Dodge Grand Caravan. The site’s assumptions were correct: on July 2, the automaker announced that the minivan wouldn’t return for 2021, according to AutoBlog. Even though it’s a great bargain for a minivan, it’s obvious that the Grand Caravan belongs in another era. Its infotainment system feels slow and outdated, nestled in a cabin filled with cheap, hard plastics.
Like the Voyager, the Grand Caravan offers no standard safety features. Its V6 engine is weak on the acceleration front and gets terrible gas mileage, only 17 mpg combined city/highway. The Grand Caravan drives smoothly overall, but it suffers from sloppy handling.
Can the Chrysler Voyager replace the Grand Caravan?
The Voyager has a lot of advantages over its Dodge minivan rival. While both cars have the same engine, the Voyager has a better transmission. The Voyager also has larger dimensions than the Grand Caravan, so there’s more room for everyone to stretch out.
It’s true that the Chrysler Voyager is basically a knockoff of the two lowest Pacifica trims. However, even the cheapest Voyager is more modern than the Dodge Grand Caravan.