Chrysler minivan firsts

Main Minivan Page | 2005 minivan enhancements

Chrysler invented the minivan in both the US and France. As Richard Moss wrote, Chrysler Europe and Matra developed a minivan together; just as it was ready to go into production, Chrysler sold its subsidiary to Peugeot-Citroen. Matra modified the design to fit the Renault 21 drivetrain...resulting in a calendar-year 1983 introduction and Europe's most popular minivan. The American Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan were also introduced in 1983 and were America's most popular minivan, when Dodge and Plymouth (later, Dodge and Chrysler) are combined, through at least 2016.

1984 Plymouth Voyager

The Caravan, Voyager, and Town & Country were the first minivans with...

  • turbocharged gas engines (1988) (Espace used a turbodiesel since the end of 1984)
  • an electric minivan option, EPIC (1995)
  • a hybrid minivan option (2017 Pacifica)
  • all-wheel-drive (1991)
  • an integrated child seat (1992)
  • a windshield wiper de-icer (1996-2005)
  • a standard driver-side air bag (1991)
  • child safety locks on the sliding door (1991)
  • second with four-wheel anti-lock brakes (1991), after Renault Espace (1988)
  • bucket seats in both of the first two rows (1991)
  • a standard passenger-side air bag (1994)
  • dynamic side-impact protection (1994)
  • California 1997 Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) certification (1994)
  • inherently Low Emission Vehicle (ILEV) certification (1995)
  • a seamless passenger-side air bag door (1996)
  • Dual Zone Temperature Control (1996)
  • roll-out seats (1996)
  • adjustable cup holders (1996)
  • an adjustable reclining rear child seat with a molded seat cushion (1996)
  • a removable windshield wiper module (1996)
  • mid-cabin upper level comfort control (1996)
  • the ability to transport 4 x 8 material (e.g. plywood, sheetrock) with the liftgate closed (long wheelbase, 1996)
    • (48.2 inches of space between wheelhouses started on the 1984 vans, with 90” of length on long-wheelbase vans starting in 1987.)
  • rear seatback-mounted grocery bag hooks (1998)
  • Flexible Fuel Vehicle availability (ethanol/gasoline) (1998)
  • 16-inch and, later, 17-inch wheels and tires for enhanced performance (1999)
  • a manumatic (AutoStick®) transmission (1999)
  • wireless headphones for its in-vehicle entertainment system (2000)
  • a power up and power down liftgate (2001)
  • a removable, powered center console (2001)
  • power dual sliding doors, allowing for minivan-first manual override, powered by an industry-first inside-the-door motor (2001)
  • a power sliding door obstacle detection system when opening and closing (2001)
  • a pop-up rear cargo organizer (2001)
  • three-zone temperature control system (2001)
  • rear split 50/50 rollout seats (2001)
  • a flexible overhead storage/console rack
  • single-hand, single-action fold-in seats

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