2002 Intrepid New Car Test Drive
Remember the big cars of the Seventies? The Dodge Intrepid offers that kind of abundant power and comfortable ride, with room for five passengers (six, if you opt for the front bench seat). Intrepid's styling is modern and handsome, yet evokes the sweeping sleekness of those days as well. Best of all, Intrepid delivers the precision handling and high fuel efficiency that 21st century consumers expect. What's not to love?
Last year, highly modified versions of the Intrepid proved competitive in NASCAR Winston Cup stock car racing. Now, Intrepids are appearing in other stock-car series as well, where they run mostly against mid-size body styles. That's a real tribute to the Intrepid's efficient aerodynamic design.
Dodge has simplified Intrepid engine and transmission choices for 2002, and added some new exterior colors. Prices of some models and options have actually been reduced slightly. Beyond that, the 2002 model remains much the same as the 2001.
Three Intrepid models are available: The base Intrepid SE starts at $20,370; the ES retails for $22,530; and the sporty R/T model rings in at $26,615. All come standard with four-speed, electronically controlled automatic transmissions.
Powering the SE is a 200-horsepower, 2.7-liter V6 with dual overhead camshafts. Both ES and R/T are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 with single overhead camshafts. This engine produces 234 horsepower in the ES, but 244 in the R/T, thanks to a dual-path intake manifold and a less restrictive performance-tuned exhaust.
The sporty R/T also comes with Chrysler's AutoStick transmission, which allows the driver to switch between regular automatic and semi-automatic shift modes. Other unique R/T equipment includes firmer steering and suspension, and 17-inch alloy wheels with aggressive P225/55R17 tires. A rear deck-lid spoiler is now standard for 2002, and the alloy wheels are now chromed.
Leather seating surfaces are available as a stand-alone option for R/T, or for the ES as part of a comprehensive options package that also includes an automatic climate control system.