• Jun 27th 2007 at 12:36PM
  • 11

When the Chrysler Nassau concept was unveiled at the 2007 North American International Auto Show, more than a few pundits panned the premium hatch as less than desirable. For one, there aren't a lot of hatchbacks that sell for over $20,000 in the US market, and the Nassau doesn't look cheap. It's also tough for any vehicle to follow up on the success of something as popular as the current 300C, and the Nassau concept had been labeled as a possible next-generation iteration of the RWD mobster/hip-hop sedan.

While there is little doubt in our minds that the Nassau would be in a heap of trouble trying to replace the 300C, we wouldn't be surprised if such a vehicle could serve as a softer, gentler, complimentary vehicle in a future Chrysler lineup. Our opportunity to drive the Nassau was brief, but it gave us a chance to appreciate the concept from behind the wheel, and our overall opinion is fairly positive. Hit the jump to read our test drive of the Chrysler Nassau concept.

Like any vehicle, looks are definitely subjective, and the Nassau has gotten mixed reviews from both our readers and the Autoblog crew. The concept has a very strong stance, aided by huge rims and rubber, and the same wide, RWD architecture as the 300C. The front grille is much less in-your-face than that of the 300, giving the Nassau a more refined look. The headlights and taillamps look fancy and expensive, with brightwork and LCDs galore. The hatch, on the other hand, will take some getting used to, and there's no saying whether it will ever be acceptable. Perhaps if the Nassau were more the Chrysler version of the Magnum we'd like the hatch more, and for all we know it just may be.

Perhaps the most appealing view of the Nassau is from the inside, as richly textured blue and white materials dominate the cabin. The center stack creates an almost Lexus-like V-shape that channels all the way to the back seat. Of course there are several non-working components inside, like the frozen-solid paddle shifters and, well, everything else that isn't a steering wheel, pedals, or the Star Trek-like push button gear selector.

To start the vehicle, you merely push the start button, and you're ready to go. Since that space-age gear selector didn't light up to signify which gear is selected, I kept a foot on the brake just in case. To put it bluntly, the Nassau was a hell of a lot easier to drive than the Dodge Demon we'd driven minutes before, and with the exact engine and chassis as the production 300C, we weren't surprised.

Of all the concepts driven at the Chelsea proving grounds, the only one we had trouble keeping under the 40mph speed limit was the Nassau. It was über-smooth and it kept coaxing the devil in us to punch the accelerator. In the interest of getting invited back to future Chrysler events, we kept Lucifer at bay. We didn't have a very large area on which to test the vehicles, and turns were taken with the greatest of care, so we can't give you a very realistic description of the car's handling.

In all, we hope the Nassau concept is not the next 300C, but we think it could definitely sell as a new-age station wagon. For our money, it's probably better looking than the Imperial concept that has been rumored for production.

Autoblog accepts vehicle loans from auto manufacturers with a tank of gas and sometimes insurance for the purpose of evaluation and editorial content. Like most of the auto news industry, we also sometimes accept travel, lodging and event access for vehicle drive and news coverage opportunities. Our opinions and criticism remain our own – we do not accept sponsored editorial.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Chrysler Corporation should be reworked from the bottom up. The Chrysler brand cars should include a full line-up. Re-brand Chrysler like Audi, and Dodge would be VW! I find the Avenger and Sebring are not differentiated enough. Thus there should be prominent differences and options to substantiate the cars being on the same lot.

      The Viper/Firepower would be a good example. Dodge Viper 80 000, 8.3 L V10, Manual. The Chrysler Firepower would be 5.7L and 6.1L Hemi engines, Automatic. A customer can not be confused, either one or the other. This Nassau does not fringe upon the Magnum in any way I can see right now, and are the same station wagon category.

      If you look at the past models offered by Chrysler are a mess. Model names change from alphanumeric to Names, and names are reused... :s why??? Models only last about 5 years, and then a new name and model comes out with nothing new to offer :(

      Chrysler should invest in itself and not outsource everything to everyone else. With all this Globalisation, which Chrysler/Dodge car is REALL a Chrysler or Dodge? Trucks are looking fine since they are close to 70% of your sales!

      And why does the Jeep KJ have a minivan engine in it??? Damn Chrysler, wake up! Keep trying. The Nassau looks like it has a place in your line-up.
      • 8 Years Ago
      That center stack looks curiously like the key pad on a razr phone.
      • 8 Years Ago
      While the styling doesn’t wow me it is different and I applaud any manufacturer who tries something different. But then I’m one of the few who thinks a Crossfire is actually nice looking on the outside.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This reminds me of the Cadillac Seville with a similar look (but not a hatch). I agree that the bottom of the hatch is too narrow to be practical but its pretty and different and that is what Chrysler needs to be.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'll take it. Make mine midnight blue.
      • 8 Years Ago
      IMO this is the best concept car Chrystler has.

      I love this thing and if it is RWD and has AWD as an option, i'd be in-line for two of these. one for me and one for my wife (awd).

      they made the biggest mistake with the new Sebering. this is the chance to shave that mistake off.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Nice looking car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Absolutely gorgeous.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Great. Chrysler comes out with a winner and sticks it with a virus...the Hemi. Yes this was (and is) a great engine...but can we think to the future here? The person who will purchase this car is a mother or father with at least 3 mouths to feed...they don't need a fourth one with an appetite like the hemi. Wake up Chrysler...you could win back half the crossover market with a car like this....make it a car for the future. The tail look great except for the fact the bottom of the bay is only 14 inches wide...what are you going to be able to slide in there other than a pair of skis. They will have to let the lights lift also....Another comment. I drive and 06 FX35....next time I pick it up at the garage, I will look to see if my tail end wasn't stolen.
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