2009 GranTurismo New Car Test Drive
Out with the old, in with the new. Well, sort of. The Chrysler Concorde has donned LHS clothing for 2002.
See if you can follow this: All three Chrysler Concorde models have adopted the elegant front and rear styling from the Chrysler LHS. There is no LHS available this year, at least not in name. The LHS nameplate has been dropped, so you won't see a 2002 LHS in the Chrysler showroom. What you'll see, instead, is a Concorde Limited. The new Concorde Limited model features the higher trim of the LHS. This wasn't as complicated for Chrysler as it sounds. The luxurious LHS shared underpinnings and much of its hardware with the full-size Concorde. Some styling cues were also shared.
Regardless of what it's called, this design still cuts a nice profile. That's impressive given this design is in its fourth year. Chrysler has been on the leading edge of design in recent years and this car is a perfect example of this. Most cars, particularly those with more daring designs, tend to look dated after a few years. This isn't one of them. The bold grille and fluid lines still look terrific. Yet the sleek design does not prevent the Chrysler Concorde from being a practical car with a comfortable, roomy interior. If color evokes emotion, then the Prowler should be eye candy for those who like gold. Inca Gold is a bright yellow metallic designed to evoke memories of candy-colored California hot rods.
The Prowler is, of course, a throwback to early American hot rods. Yet it embraces some of the latest technological advances in the manufacture of the automobile. It is the most aluminum-intensive car built and puts magnesium, urethane, and polymers to work as well. It comes with an all-aluminum overhead-cam V6, rather than the iron overhead-valve V8s used in traditional hot rods. It uses a semi-automatic transmission and its state-of-the-art run-flat Goodyear tires will keep going even if you drill big holes in them. It also comes with air conditioning, power windows and door locks, and a 320-watt sound system with a six-disc CD changer and seven speakers. It was only a matter of time. This year, as if the PT Cruiser needed something to make it stand out, Chrysler is offering flames as an option. Order the factory optional tone-on-tone flames and experience a throw-back to your misspent youth. Or maybe just go back in time.
Flames or no flames, there's nothing on the road quite like the PT Cruiser. Though it has become a familiar site, it still attracts attention., and that's a big part of its fun. Is it a hot rod, a little panel van or a uniquely styled compact car? People from all walks and stations want a better look, intrigued by the Cruiser's difficult-to-define character. It is, as Chrysler says, too cool to categorize.
Yet the really great thing about the PT Cruiser is its combination of practicality and reasonable price. Its affordability and practicality make it suitable for everyday use by everyday people. Shorter than many compact cars, it offers the interior volume of a sport-utility vehicle. And it's almost as much fun to drive as it is to be seen in.
Chrysler Concorde now comes as three models, LX, LXi, and Limited. Each uses a progressively more powerful V6 engine.
Concorde LX ($22,370) comes with a 200-horsepower 2.7-liter V6, a cloth interior and a high level of standard equipment.
Concorde LXi ($24,975) is powered by a 234-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and comes with leather seating surfaces. LXi also adds convenience features such as automatic air conditioning, automatic headlights, automatic mirror dimming, a premium 120-watt stereo with a CD player, and audio controls on the steering wheel. To go with the more powerful engine, it comes with a bigger battery, a more powerful alternator, and aluminum wheels. It's a nice step up from the LX.
Concorde Limited ($27,870) boasts a 250-horsepower high-output 3.5-liter V6. In terms of trim, it's basically last year's LHS model. So it comes with premium leather seating surfaces, eight-way power heated driver and front passenger seats, 240-watt stereo, and other luxury features. Memory systems know your radio settings, and seating and mirror adjustments. Several features help make the most of the more powerful engine: Bigger (17-inch) tires offer more grip and they come wrapped around chrome-clad aluminum wheels. Traction control, which reduces front wheel spin when accelerating over slippery surfaces, is standard, along with ABS, which allows the driver to brake and steer at the same time in a panic stop. Speed-sensitive power steering is also standard, making the steering effort light in parking lots yet maintaining solid steering feel at highway speeds. Just one model is available that retails for $44,625. This lightweight rear-wheel-drive two-seat convertible comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and an automatic transmission with AutoStick. It comes well equipped. The only options have to do with the Inca Gold paint. Three models are available: base ($16,200); Touring ($17,915); Limited Edition ($20,265). All are powered by a 2.4-liter twin-cam engine available with the standard five-speed manual or an optional four-speed automatic transaxle ($825).
PT Cruiser comes standard with air conditioning, power windows, rear defroster and wiper, six-speaker AM/FM/CD and 15-inch wheels. An optional Power Convenience Group ($570) adds remote keyless entry, automatic power central locking, and dual power heated fold-away mirrors.
The Touring model gets everything in the convenience package plus a touring suspension, wider tires on 16-inch silver aluminum wheels, fog lights, a fold-flat front passenger seat, security alarm, and other features.
The Limited Edition model comes equipped with just about everything: leather upholstery, side-impact airbags, cruise control, glass sunroof and chromed 16-inch alloy wheels.
Options include four-wheel antilock disc brakes with traction control ($595), engine block heater ($35), and a roof rack ($175).