1999 Intrepid New Car Test Drive
Cutting-edge styling usually comes at a price. You usually get a car that cuts corners somewhere else, like headroom, trunk space or ease of entry. The Dodge Intrepid is an exception to this rule. With its cab-forward design, it looks so futuristic it could have rolled off the set of a science-fiction movie. Yet its provides one of the roomiest interiors in the mid-size class.
Intrepid is just one in a range of midsize sedans from the Chrysler side of DaimlerChrysler, and the most sporty-looking of the group. And fans will be glad to see that with last year's redesign, there are now very clear distinctions between these various models. The Chrysler Concorde is longer and more conservative, the Chrysler 300M is shorter and more European in design.
But like the original, much more look-alike sedans, the new models make maximum use of cab-forward design. In the case of the Intrepid, the sedan noses into view with an aggressive grille borrowed from the racy Dodge Viper. The sloping cowl sweeps into a steeply raked windshield, over the curvaceous roof and down a decklid reminiscent of past fastbacks. The visual impression is one of kinetic motion.
But looks alone aren't enough. The original Intrepid had some serious issues for Chrysler to address. Its interior was noticeably noisier than the competition. Its headlights weren't nearly bright enough. And quality problems plagued early models. On paper, at least, Intrepid's engineers have addressed these issues. Here's what we found when we put the car on the road.