As the only Detroit-based car maker to become privately owned and retain its market share last year, Chrysler was hoping its cars would deflect attention from rumoured warring among its new management team. And the ecoVoyager concept was certainly eye-catching, if arguably for the wrong reasons.
In fact, it rather reminds us of an automotive push-me, pull-you. It doesn't know if it's coming or going.
Wrong way round
Design director Trevor Creed says the car celebrates the romance of automobile travel. We’d hate to see what happens when things turn sour, because the ecoVoyager already looks like the people who built it were holding the design drawings the wrong way round. Like the Dodge Zeo the car was unveiled to the kind of muted fanfare that would have been unthinkable in the DaimlerChrysler era.
Nonetheless, by showing how an environmentally friendly MPV might work it ticks the now-mandatory green boxes. The claimed 0-60mph time from the lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen fuel-cell range-extender is a reasonable 8.8 seconds and the only emissions are water vapor. However, it’ll only do 300 miles before you need to refuel the hydrogen or plug in the batteries.
Thank god for Hollywood
Disappointingly, the ecoVoyager is longer than the firm’s current seven-seat Voyager MPV but only has room for four inside. But those on board do travel in enviable private jet style luxury with individual seats and a beautifully airy cabin. With the batteries and fuel cell under the floor there’s an embarrassing amount of space in the car – enough for a fridge that can store six drinks between the back seats.
But arguably the most interesting car on Chrysler’s stand was the 300C Hollywood, an outrageous extended landaulet version of the firm’s saloon. It was on show in Detroit because it hadn’t been finished in time for the SEMA modified cars show at the end of 2007. Rather refreshingly, it was what it was, with no pretence at being anything else.
They say: EcoVoyager pushes Chrysler’s brand language in a new direction of ‘elegant simplicity’
We say: Is that another word for ugly? Thankfully this car is unlikely to be made
CAR’S verdict: 2/5