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By Jim Flammang
February 26, 2003
Vehicle Overview Like its posh Town & Country companion, the lower-priced Chrysler Voyager gains optional power-adjustable pedals during the 2003 model year. Three Voyager trim levels were sold in 2002, but the 2003 lineup includes only two versions of the LX: one with a four-cylinder engine and the other with a 3.3-liter V-6. Offered only in short-body form, all Voyagers have front-wheel drive and a four-speed-automatic transmission.
Until 2001, the Voyager wore a Plymouth badge. When that longtime make was discontinued, Chrysler adopted the Voyager name for its less-costly minivan.
Fewer amenities are available in the Voyager than in the Town & Country. The Voyager is closely related not only to the longer, higher-priced Town & Country but also to the popular Dodge Caravan. All DaimlerChrysler minivans were redesigned and enlarged for the 2001 model year.
The Voyager rides a 113.3-inch wheelbase, measures 189.1 inches long overall and stands 68.9 inches tall. In contrast, the Town & Country minivan is 200.6 inches long overall. Sliding doors on both sides are standard; power sliding doors are not available. The tires are 15-inchers.
Seven occupants fit in the Voyager, which has bench seats for the middle and third rows. Unlike the Honda Odyssey and Mazda MPV, the Voyager lacks a third-row seat that folds into the floor; instead, it may be equipped with an optional 50/50-split third-row bench. Quad Command seating is an option that features second-row buckets instead of a bench seat.
A cassette stereo system is standard, and a CD player is optional. Power windows, locks and mirrors and an electric rear defroster are part of the Popular Equipment Package that is included with V-6 models. Adjustable pedals with a 2.75-inch range are optional.
Under the Hood
Voyagers are offered with a choice of two engines, and each mates with a four-speed-automatic transmission. The 2.4-liter dual-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine produces 150 horsepower, while the 3.3-liter V-6 is rated at 180 hp.
The front airbags have multistage inflation. Side-impact airbags and antilock brakes are optional. Seat belt pretensioners for the front seats and child-safety seat tethers for the second and third rows are standard.
Chrysler and Dodge still produce the minivans to beat. Lively acceleration from a standstill with the 3.3-liter V-6 engine is not quite matched by the Voyagers passing and merging prowess, but performance is more than adequate. Typical buyers will probably decide that the four-cylinder model lacks sufficient strength.
All DaimlerChrysler minivans handle with a relatively light touch, but not in a disconcerting manner. They feel secure on the highway and are easy to drive, with no unpleasant surprises to mar the experience. The Voyager maneuvers adeptly in urban driving and is confident and capable in difficult spots or bad-weather situations.
Generally, the Voyager is quiet, but wind and road noise can be heard at times. Quality problems of the past appear to have been resolved, and the current minivans seem well constructed and refined. One annoyance is the parking-brake release lever, which is a long reach for the driver.