These days, SUVs have done to minivans what the latter did to wagons starting from the late 1980s and it’s a cold cannibalization game. Nevertheless, with the EV revolution reshaping the industry and people getting used to the idea that many crossovers/SUVs only look rugged, there’s still hope among minivan lovers. And one of the most productive ways of manifesting that feeling is coming up with renderings that portray potential future models. Case in point with this unofficial Chrysler Voyager concept, which honors the OG minivan.
Back in 1979 when visionary Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca gave the green light for the creation of a small unibody van designed for family transportation, this was a revolutionary idea.
Sure, passenger versions of full-size vans did exist at the time, but the smaller platform that resulted from the said plan brought along a car-like driving experience. In fact, it was this size comparison that gave the American minivan segment its name.
The first-generation Chrysler minivans, which included the Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan, entered production in 1984, just a few months before Renault introduced the original Espace in Europe. Speaking of which—the Americans would also take on the Old Continent by rebadging the said Dodge as the Chrysler Voyager in 1988.
And this rendering picks up where the Euro Voyager left off. It borrows the nostalgic 80s shape of the original, albeit while bringing modern touches in all the right places.
For one, the people mover is more aerodynamic thanks to additions to the lower body. The side windows feature a more complex design, while the fascia is a retro-futuristic take on the original. And we can thank digital artist Lars O. Saeltzer (aka Larson Design or lars_o_saeltzer) for the proposal.
And while we’re building on this hopes & dreams tale, we’ll mention this sort of design has already been proven to work on EVs—albeit in hatchback form—thanks to the Hyundai Ioniq 5.
The current situation at Chrysler
These days, the Plymouth brand has been axed altogether, Dodge no longer makes minivans, while the Chrysler Voyager is a mere nameplate for the entry-level version of the Pacifica that’s only offered to fleet customers for 2022.
Stellantis, the current Chrysler parent company, has presented its plan for the next-gen electric vehicles in America and Europe, with this covering the entire decade based on all-new STLA platforms of varying sizes and implementations.
And while no MPV, to use the preferred European designation, has been confirmed yet, the solid sales of the current Chrysler Pacifica, which features a plug-in hybrid powertrain, means this could receive an all-electric successor. If so, the vehicle should ride on the STLA Large architecture of the company.
The big picture
Having already established that ground clearance and all-terrain abilities are often not what they might seem with many crossovers/SUVs, these still pack the psychological advantage of giving their owners an extra feeling of security compared to other vehicles, minivans included. On the other hand, people movers arguably pack more spacious interiors and deliver a driving experience that’s closer to that of a car.
That comparison has been around for decades and the sales figures keep making the winning segment cleared by the year. However, one of the most important aspects that killed minivans involved their image-people associated these vehicles with mundane tasks like dropping the kids to soccer practice. And while our activities haven’t changed that much, the SUVs we’re using to cover them nowadays simply project a more appealing image.
Nevertheless, with the battery-powered switch ushering in a new era of design, perhaps legacy carmakers like Stellantis can leverage names such as the Voyager to paint a different picture for these practical machines.