Hey Presto! It's Chrysler's Disappearing Trick

The Evening Standard (London, England), May 20, 2005 | Go to article overview

Hey Presto! It's Chrysler's Disappearing Trick


Byline: DAVID WILLIAMS

THERE'S always been one big problem with people-carriers.

They're great at carrying people but lousy at carrying their luggage.

There are ways around it, of course - if there are enough seats and not too many people you can strip out the back row, stash them in the house and you end up with a massive boot. But the seats are spine-crushingly heavy; it's not an exercise you want to repeat too often.

Now Chrysler has the perfect answer; its Stow 'n' Go Grand Voyager, the Big Daddy of all people carriers, which we recently tried out in London.

Every seat apart from the driver's and front passenger's folds away beneath the floor. It's an amazing disappearing trick and leaves you with a totally flat, empty load-space.

You can fold just the back row down, or the middle row, too, or in fact almost any combination you like. Folding the seats up and down is easy; certainly better than the irritating series of catches and latches that secures most people-carriers' seats.

And there's another trick; the rearmost seat can be folded so that you can sit back-to-front for a picnic or sports day gazing out of the back with rear hatch up.

There are a few other changes to the new Voyager: too; it has a sharper, more purposeful nose with a new grille and more macho headlights, and a better-quality interior. As well as all this, the side and rear door can be opened electrically with a press on the keyfob; it's a bit noisy and a bit flash but it's useful if your hands are full.

The redesigned Voyager drives neatly, too, thanks to sharp steering and suspension that prevents excess roll. It's no sportster but heck, it's a people-carrier and a mighty fine one.

There are two choices of engine: a smooth, powerful 3.3-litre V6 petrol or a more economical 2.8-litre turbodiesel that comes with an auto box only. It costs from [pounds sterling]25,725 for the 2.8 diesel and from [pounds sterling]26,655 for the 3.3 LX.

Around the world in twenty days Nick Sanders is heading for the record books by circumnavigating the world on two wheels - for the eighth time LIKE thousands of other motorcycle riders this Sunday, Nick Sanders will pull on his leathers and helmet, stick a credit card in his back pocket, jump on his bike and go for a nice long ride. But long after fellow riders have rolled their bikes back into the garage and hit the sack, Nick will still be gunning the throttle as part of his latest attempt to blast into the Guinness Book of Records.

And by the time he arrives back in London he will have clocked up more than 20,000 miles, circumnavigating the globe in just 20 days.

The maths is simple. On good roads he will push himself to cover 1,300, maybe 1,400 miles a day. When the going gets tough that will be down to a mere 800-900 or so.

The 47-year-old's only equipment will be that invaluable piece of plastic, a toothbrush, maps, travel papers, a movie camera and a remote dictating machine so that he can capture his thoughts for a book.

Remarkably it will be the eighth time Nick has ridden around the world, including two trips by bicycle.

As he reveals his plans for the gruelling marathon you can't help but think his record should remain safe for the foreseeable future - who else would want to expose themselves to the privations necessary for such an attempt? …

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