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Chrysler Grand Voyager
Kia Sorento

Broadcast dates : 5th September  2004
9th September 2004


A decade ago, the two vehicles featured in this informal comparison would not have been considered family vehicles at all.

The Chrysler would have been rated as a van, used by people like plumbers and bakers, while the Kia would have been the preserve of game rangers.

Chrysler makes a good claim to inventing the MPV or multi-purpose vehicle concept with its Voyager, and this version, the Grand Voyager SE with a diesel engine, marks the twentieth anniversary of the Voyager range.

Kia certainly didnít invent the SUV, but this Sorento follows in the tradition of vehicles like the Suzuki and Toyota RAV 4 in being an urban 4X4 with a degree of off-road ability.

However with low range included, the Sorento has some serious off-road aspirations.
Chrysler Grand Voyager
Kia Sorento
As a family vehicle, the Chrysler is definitely the most practical choice, especially in Grand Voyager format, which gives it a longer wheelbase and an extra rows of seats.

The use of the newly-introduced 2,8-litre four-cylinder diesel engine increases its practicality.

The Voyager can now add good fuel economy to its many attributes, the Voyager CRD being rated at around 8,3 litres per 100 km in general use.

Diesel power also gives the Sorento acceptable fuel economy as a family vehicle. Our test model was fitted with the five-speed automatic gearbox, and an overall consumption figure of 10,3 litres per 100 is estimated by Car Magazine.

The Sorento is a good-looking vehicle with good dynamics. But there are two short-comings.

The steering is particularly vague, the power assistance robbing it of any feel. And there

is too much throttle-lag when moving away from rest, a tendency shared by many turbo-diesel vehicles fitted with automatic gearboxes.

The Chrysler CRD has surprisingly little throttle lag from rest, despite also being fitted with a rather basic four-speed automatic gearbox.

However if too much throttle is used when exiting sharp corners, it does tend to spin its front wheels

Weekend usage for the Kia will see it suited to game-viewing and farm-road travel, although the low range gives it some ability on serious off-road trails.

Short overhangs and good ground clearance, as well as good torque from the motor once itís in the powerband, makes it ideal for visiting out-of-the-way places accessed by poor dirt roads.

The Voyager is all about space. And if loading up the local soccer team is part of your weekend schedule, this is the vehicle for you.

It feels a little dated when compared to some of the latest MPV offerings from the likes of Volkswagen and Toyota, but as this shape has been around since 1997, it is well sorted.

Two very different types of family vehicles in the same mode. The only thing they have in common are diesel engines, a taller than average ride height which appeals to many people, and price.

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