America is swept away by the onslaught of the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), a category that emerged largely as an alternative to the older minivan. Image-conscious moms, tired of driving a stereotype, opted for less convenient SUV body styles in an effort to become the anti-soccer mom – or at least a more stylish one. What began as an attempt to avoid a cultural slight morphed into a rather impractical trend: more and more families chose to abandon the minivan for an SUV. However, we think the 2021 Chrysler Voyager is poised to become the newest market disruptor because, ultimately, practicality always wins. SUVs are the stylish but itchy form-fitting wool sweater, while minivans are more like your coziest soft-cotton hoodie. Which one would you rather wear to the soccer field?
Unfortunately, practicality went out the window when soaring demand for SUVs turned into equally increasing price tags. A similarly-equipped SUV can run into the $50,000 range, especially when families require a third row of seats. Luckily, Chrysler has your back. This automaker has doubled down on its minivan lineup at a time when SUV sales are still exploding, and other major auto manufacturers have abandoned the minivan segment. There’s still a substantial market for minivans, and in fact, there’s an opportunity to win some market share back from the ubiquitous SUV segment. It’s a matter of reminding buyers that minivans work better for families than SUVs, and there’s no shame in it.
It starts with the price. You don’t earn the moniker “The Most Affordable Minivan in America” unless, in fact, you’re… well… the most affordable minivan in America. The 2021 Chrysler Voyager earns its affordability stripes by starting at an MSRP of just $27,235, far lower than its rivals. The price is right, sure, but what about everything else? If you’re buying a minivan, you’re probably driving the kids around town and otherwise living the family life. That means features like safety and convenience are at the top of your list. Lucky for you, the Voyager delivers there too.
Here are our top four reasons why the minivan – specifically the 2021 Chrysler Voyager – gets the job done, especially when compared with an SUV. After reading through our vehicle highlights, the idea of an SUV will seem not only impractical but kind of unimaginative too.
Reason #1: Space Galore
Minivans are incredibly roomy, especially when compared with an SUV, because the interior cabin sits lower to the ground, and the cabin space is maximized by devoting more of the vehicle’s overall length to its wheelbase (the space measured between the midpoint of the front and rear tires). That space is further optimized on the Voyager with a clever interior seating arrangement that adds up to comfort for every passenger, including the ones stuck in the third row.
For 2021, the Voyager offers seating configurations for seven passengers, with second-row quad seats and a third-row bench. The available third-row Stow’ n Go Seating easily converts your Voyager into a cargo hauler. In fact, the Voyager’s cargo capacity expands to a stunning 140.5 cubic feet when the second-row and third-row seats are stowed. A nice bonus? The in-floor storage compartments in front of the second-row seats.
Reason #2: Safety
It’s easy to forget about the importance of airbags until you end up needing them. Luckily, Chrysler hasn’t forgotten – the 2021 Voyager is equipped with front and side-impact, overhead, and knee airbags, enveloping the driver and front passenger in protection during a collision or rollover accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, front airbags “reduce driver fatalities in frontal crashes by 29 percent.” The agency also reports that front-seat passenger fatalities are reduced by 32 percent. Those percentages are even better for side-impact crashes, with the driver fatality risk reduced by 37 percent.
Chrysler is also embracing newer driver-assist safety technology, offering a suite of available systems designed to prevent collisions from happening in the first place. Systems like automatic braking when a hazard is detected in the vehicle’s path, forward collision alerts to warn the driver when a hazard is ahead, and blind spot monitoring all work together to create a sensor bubble around the vehicle to help drivers remain constantly vigilant.
Reason #3: Accessibility
Ask any minivan owner, and they’ll tell you that nothing beats the utility of sliding side doors. After contorting to maneuver a baby in and out of a LATCH-secured rear-facing car seat in a small SUV, minivan owners find that sacrificing trendiness is a worthy trade-off for the back-saving benefits of their minivan’s sliding doors. The other lesser-known advantage of sliding side doors is saying goodbye to door dings caused by careless kiddos wildly swinging rear doors open in tight parking spots.
Accessibility is amplified with the lower entry point offered by the Voyager. It’s exceedingly easier to manage kids, car seats, groceries, pets, and the like without having to add an SUV’s high ride height to the mix. The Voyager’s low stance provides a utility that’s hard to give up, which is why the minivan body style works well for families.
Reason #4: In-Cabin Entertainment
The 2021 Chrysler Voyager keeps everyone entertained, starting with the driver. A 7-inch infotainment touchscreen dominates the dash and puts smartphone connectivity in easy reach. The Uconnect system is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, making it easy to stream music and podcasts straight from your smartphone.
Speaking of Uconnect, the Voyager is equipped with Uconnect 4, Chrysler’s most current connectivity platform. Not only does it seamlessly connect to smartphones, the system also provides Bluetooth and available SiriusXM Satellite Radio. You can even keep rear passengers busy and entertained with the optional overhead-mounted DVD player, and everyone will appreciate the Voyager’s Active Noise Cancellation technology that automatically compensates for exterior noise levels.
Reason #5: Performance
Yes, we said it: performance. It’s not oxymoronic to use ‘performance’ and ‘minivan’ together. The 2021 Chrysler Voyager is equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar engine that delivers a very impressive 287 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. When paired with the standard nine-speed automatic transmission, the Voyager evenly distributes power for peppy acceleration and a smooth, even ride at higher speeds.
The Voyager’s Pentastar engine is even powerful enough to tow up to 3,600 lbs, putting the Voyager ahead of many compact and midsize SUVs. Fuel economy ratings stand at 19 MPG city and 28 MPG highway, respectable numbers for a minivan that weighs in at well over two tons and much better than any full-size SUV with similar interior space.
Why should you feel great about buying a minivan? The opportunity cost of an SUV seems excessive after adding up all you stand to gain from minivan ownership. Embracing the minivan means coming to grips with the reality that accessing convenience sometimes requires adapting aesthetics. Also, this current crop of Chrysler minivans – the 2021 Voyager included – boasts more aggressive exterior styling that disrupts the mom-mobile stereotype, especially when outfitted with black paint.
The Voyager embodies Chrysler’s stubborn refusal to retire the minivan body style. The company understands that the minivan serves a valuable purpose for consumers, and Chrysler mitigates the “boring” stereotype by including universal features (like advanced tech, driver-assist systems, and entertainment) that leave buyers wanting for nothing. Wrap that up in a much more aggressively-styled package and add the budget price, and they’re on to something.
The 2021 Chrysler Voyager is a viable alternative to the less-convenient SUV, especially when you add in the very affordable price tag. It’s impossible for a vehicle that incorporates all the best elements of safety, convenience, and comfort to warrant a nagging sense of having to compromise. These attributes are important – especially for families – which justifies the decision and perhaps even enhances your image. After all, who doesn’t admire a good decision-maker?