by Jared Rosenholtz
Remember the Plymouth Voyager? Yeah, the dismal minivan your parents probably used to tote you around during your childhood. You thought you'd probably never have to see another one again, except maybe at a scrapyard, but now it's making a comeback (sort of). The Plymouth brand hasn't been building cars for almost two decades now but its parent company Chrysler is bringing back the Voyager name for the 2020 model year to act as a base model minivan below the Pacifica.
The 2020 Chrysler Voyager will essentially replace the Dodge Grand Caravan, which is still sold as a budget-conscious and fleet-friendly option under the more-consumer-oriented Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid. Changing the name on the back of a Pacifica may not seem like a major change but this new Voyager has some major implications for Chrysler's lineup.
The Voyager is now just the third model in Chrysler's lineup, which is quickly become one of the least relevant in the FCA umbrella with the highly-rated Pacifica minivan and the aging 300 sedan. It looks just like a lower-trim Pacifica, which makes sense because the Voyager formally replaces the Pacifica L and LX trim levels. We wouldn't expect anything more or less from the Voyager but for its affordable price point, the exterior doesn't look half bad. The Voyager remains one of the more attractive minivan options on the market.
Since this is less expensive than the Pacifica, the interior won't be filled with FCA's greatest technology features. Advanced driver aids like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control will not be available but blind-spot monitoring and parking assist will be sold as optional equipment. The LX trim even adds some semi-luxurious features like heated cloth seats, a heated steering wheel, an optional rear DVD player, and a larger 8.4-inch touchscreen Uconnect infotainment system (replacing a smaller seven-inch screen).
Chrysler hasn't published official cargo capacity figures but this is a minivan after all, so it should be cavernous inside. The Pacifica offers 32.3 cubic feet of space behind the third row and up to 140.5 with the second and third rows folded. To save costs, consumer-spec Voyager models will not include Chrysler's handy Stow 'n' Go seats but they will be available on the fleet-only LXi trim, which also adds leatherette seats, remote start, a roof rack, second-row sunshades, an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Don't expect anything new or updated under the hood. Like the Pacifica, the Voyager is powered by Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 producing 287 horsepower going out to the front wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy should be the same as the outgoing Pacifica L, which was rated at 18-mpg in the city and 28-mpg on the highway.
Pricing for the 2020 Voyager is set to start at $28,480 for the base L trim. The LX starts at $31,290 while the LXi trim, which is only available to fleet companies, starts at $34,490. This is about $300 less than the least expensive 2019 Pacifica and about $1,400 more than the much older Dodge Grand Caravan, which is set to be phased out after 2020 despite strong sales.
Judging by how the Grand Caravan is by far Dodge's best-selling model, the Chrysler Voyager stands to sell in tremendous numbers. Families on a budget need transportation and the Voyager should fill this need at an affordable price. Large SUVs like the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade are both more expensive than the Voyager and don't offer as much cargo space. It may not be "cool" to drive a minivan but they still serve a purpose and in many ways are a lot more practical than SUVs and crossovers.