Reasons why a Grand Voyager is the car you have when you finally realise you need a people carrier and your dreams of Ferarris have gone !
Recently I decided that after having 3 kids all under 3 that the Jeep and the Volvo V70 we owned were just not man enough for the amount of regalia you have with 3 kids. Sure, the kids fitted in, just, but try ading a double push chair, carry cot and luggage for a couple of weeks away and you need a truck !
So, begrudgingly at may age ( Only just 40 ) decided that the time had come to get a people carier.
Looking at the cars available there are only two that provide the flexibility and practicality needed. The Grand Voyager and the Toyota Previa. As most of the Previas seem to be called Lucida or Emina and have come from some Tsunami hit area of the Eastern World so this left me with the Voyager.
Exhaustive searching on E-Bay found me a 1998 rand Voyager 3.3V6. Now at this point let me mention ful economy. A colleage at work had the latest GV with a 2.8CRD engine. Much to his annoyance, I get more to the gallon than he does from my V6 petrol. And the fuel is cheaper !
Now the reason for this guide. WHAT A CAR !! I never thought I would wax lyrical about a people carrier but this thing is superb. For £1800 I got every luxury you could possibly need and luxury to rival anything on the road ! The ride is superb and the engine very smooth, very quiet and suprememly powerful. The handling is akin to a double decker bus but you have to have a compromise !
The interior space and comfort is amazing. You can roll out of the palatial arm chair of a drivers seat and actually walk through ( hunched of course, I am not that short ! ) to the next set of two palatial armchairs and then through those to the big leather bench in the back.
All of the seats are leather, American leather, so not sure what kind of animal it came from, probably a Racoon. But they are comfortable and they seem to wear well. All of the rears can be removed to make a van and moved around to get a 2-2-3 or a 2-3-2 or a 2-0-2 or a 2-0-3 or 2-2-0 or 2-3-0 configuration. We have also found that by removing one of the two captains chairs in the rear you can get 3 kids, pram, luggage, 3 adults and 2 dogs in and still have space for a bouncy castle !
Anyway, enough of my love for this car.
Things to consider:
1, Engine is bullet proof but watch for head gasket issues.
2, Gearbox is a weak point. Ensure change is good and smooth and there is no delay when putting into D or R.
3, Drive shafts. These have to cope wit a 3.3 V6 through the front wheels and the 25 tons of steel behind them so are weak.
4, Air con. Due to the seperate rear unit, the pipes run full length of the car and are very expensive to fix.
5, Servicing is cheap, even at a Chrysler/Jeep dealer.
6, Get the rear windows tinted as they only open an inch and it does get hot in summer.
In summary, I really do think these are magnificant cars and so practical and such better value for money that the standard Galaxy/Sharon/Alhambra stuff.
Hope this has helped someone out there.