The Plymouth Grand Voyager was an extended wheelbase minivan produced from 1987 to 2000.
Minivan Introduction and Plymouth Grand Voyager Design
Chrysler has established itself as a powerhouse in the minivan segment. The first offering from the wide-ranging company came in 1983, when the 1984 model year Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan were released. These models followed the footprint set out by the Dodge Sportsman and Dodge Voyager full-size van from the late 1970s and early 1980s, but moved over to a slightly smaller and more economical platform, creating the minivan segment as we know it today. While built on a wholly different platform, the overall design used sharp angles that were prevalent in the sedan and pickup truck worlds, but covered the rear end with expansive rectangular windows and a nearly 90-degree angle down to the rear bumper. The 1984 Chrysler Voyager was built on Chrysler's S platform, a modified version of the K platform which shared many components with other Chrysler K-cars. This gave the Voyager model a front-wheel drive configuration with a low floor, providing easy entry and a lower center of gravity, which gave the minivan a drivability closer to a large sedan rather than a full-size truck. In 1987, the Plymouth Grand Voyager was released. It was an extended wheelbase model of the original Voyager, pushing the standard wheelbase of 112 inches (2,845 mm) up to the Grand's wheelbase of 119.1 inches (3,025 mm) which provided even more interior cargo room. As the larger option, the Grand Voyager was not available in the base model Voyager, but instead was offered in the mid-range SE and top-range LE trim levels, and eventually in 1989, in the LX sport trim.
Available Features and Engines
While other Voyager vans had different seating options from five-seater up to eight-seater arrangements, the Plymouth Grand Voyager was available with seven-passenger seating using high-back front bucket seats. One unique aspect of the Grand Voyager is that the model was considered the first to bring dedicated cup holders to a mass-production vehicle, paving the way forward for something that nearly every car today has without question. The Voyager had an array of engines available in 1987 at the launch of the Grand Voyager, including a 2.5L inline-4 with 100 horsepower and a 3.0L V6 with 136 horsepower. At first, these figures were enough to keep up with competition despite offering fairly low power for the vehicle size and potential cargo weight. But in 1989, Plymouth decided to increase performance available and a turbocharged variant of the 2.5L engine came out, boosting horsepower significantly to 150 horsepower. The V6 engine also received enhanced performance, now producing 142 horsepower. In 1990, the V6 was replaced with a 3.3L design and horsepower went up to 150. A 3-speed automatic transmission was mostly used, but the inline-4 engines could opt for a 5-speed manual instead.
Second Generation Plymouth Grand Voyager
In 1991, the second generation Plymouth Grand Voyager was released. It retained much of the square shape from the previous generation, but the front end now featured a slightly more sloping design to improve style and aerodynamic qualities. It stayed on a similar platform, which was now renamed the AS platform, with nearly identical wheelbase and overall dimensions. The trim levels also were carried over from the proviso version, although the LX was only available on the short wheelbase Voyager, not the extended wheelbase Grand Voyager. Available engines also remained similar to the past generation, including a naturally-aspirated 2.5L inline-4 with just 100 horsepower and two different V6 engines in both 3.0L and 3.3L displacement sizes, offering between 142 and 150 horsepower in 1991. The turbocharged engine was no longer offered. In 1994, the 3.3L V6 boosted performance up to 162 horsepower, and a larger 3.8L V6 was also released with identical horsepower but increased torque (213 lb-ft, up from 194 lb-ft in the 3.3L). Available features and options included two-tone paint, special bumpers and molding, along with a host of safety features like driver and passenger front airbags and integrated child safety seats. Cloth seating was standard, but those who wanted leather could upgrade to it on the LE and LX trim levels. In 1990, all-wheel drive and anti-lock brakes were introduced as available options.
Third Generation Updates
The third generation Plymouth Grand Voyager was introduced in 1996, and it received a dramatic overhaul and now used the NS platform, stepping away from the K-car derived chassis for the first time. The exterior shape was also drastically redesigned, swapping out the boxy style of old and bringing in a rounded, nearly-spherical shape in the new model. The Plymouth model was now listed as the more affordable entry-level option when compared to the sibling Dodge Caravan. In reality, however, the vast majority of the amenities were shared between the two badge-engineered models, with only certain options like automatic headlights and power seats and mirrors going exclusively to the Dodge model. This model also introduced innovative rear seats that allowed the second and third row seats to be easily moved forward and backpay on a set of rollers, and the seat backs could be folded down flat for extra cargo space. The engines remained quite similar, despite the other dramatic changed. The 2.4L inline-4 now produced 150 horsepower, while the 3.0L V6 produced the same output. The 3.3L engine was now tuned to 158 horsepower and the 3.8L started at 166 horsepower in 1996, but bumped up to 180 horsepower in 1998. That was the end of the line for the Plymouth Grand Voyager. Chrysler continued use of the Voyager name in some Chrysler-branded models after that, until dropped in later in the 21st century. Eventually the Voyager nameplate returned in 2020, but the Plymouth brand had been long since wiped out of existence.