A Limited model is the newest version of the Concorde, and it replaces the luxury LHS sedan, which was a separate model and was discontinued after the 2001 model year. The Concorde LX and LXi sedans are also available. All Concordes gain the trademark chrome-edged grille design, quad projector headlights, fog lamps and other elegant design elements of the departed LHS.
Powertrain choices have been revised for 2002. Topping the line, the new Limited is powered by a 250-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine. A 200-hp, 2.7-liter V-6 goes into the LX, while the LXi gets a 234-hp version of the 3.5-liter V-6, which replaces last years 3.2-liter and gains 12 additional horses.
New 16-inch Spyder wheel covers go on the LX sedan, the LXi gets new Sunspark aluminum wheels and the Limited wears chrome-clad 17-inch wheels. The LXi adds automatic headlights and steering-wheel stereo controls, and a new LX option group is available. A new pressure-based tire monitor goes into the Limited, with sensors attached to wheel rims. Electronic brake-force distribution has been added to an antilock braking system.
The Concorde is a full-size front-drive sedan that is built on the same platform as the Dodge Intrepid and is related to the Chrysler 300M. New designs for each of these sedans are expected for the 2004 model year, and rear-wheel drive may be a part of the revisions.
A corporate near-twin to the Dodge Intrepid, the Concorde is also a cousin to the Chrysler 300M, which uses the same basic front-drive platform but has different styling and smaller dimensions. The Chrysler division of DaimlerChrysler offers near-luxury and upscale family models, while Dodge caters to buyers who are looking for family-oriented value and slightly sportier attributes.
Each Concorde sedan rides a 113-inch wheelbase and measures 207.7 inches long overall a fraction longer than the Cadillac DeVille and Buick Park Avenue. The Concorde is 74.4 inches wide and stands 55.9 inches tall. Its low nose/high deck profile is similar to that of the Intrepid, but the Concorde has its own look, led by a large, oval-shaped crosshatch grille that sits low to the ground and wraparound headlights.
The Concordes rear styling is also different, which features a back window that is smaller than the Intrepids. Styling touches borrowed from the discontinued LHS include bodyside moldings and a rear fascia with a winged Chrysler emblem. Tires on the LX and LXi are 16-inchers, while 17-inchers are equipped on the Limited.
Front bucket seats are standard in both the base LX sedan and the more costly LXi and Limited models. A 50/50-split front bench is optional, which allows for six-passenger seating instead of the standard five. Steering-wheel stereo controls are included with the optional Infinity sound system.
Like the Intrepid, Chryslers Concorde has large doors, a spacious interior and a roomy trunk. Because of its higher roofline, backseat passengers get slightly more headroom in the Concorde, but a narrow rear window makes parking and lane changing a trifle trickier. The Concorde has a larger trunk opening than the Intrepid, but the Chrysler sedan lacks a folding rear seatback. The trunks cargo volume is 18.7 cubic feet.
Under the Hood
The new Limited uses a 250-hp, 3.5-liter V-6, the LXi gets a 234-hp version of that engine and the LX carries a 200-hp, 2.7-liter V-6. All engines work with a four-speed-automatic transmission.
Side-impact airbags for the front seats on all models are optional. Antilock brakes and low-speed traction control are standard on the Limited and optional on the LX and LXi.
Ever since the second-generation Concorde debuted for 1998, its been known for eye-catching styling and is practically a show car in street form. But beyond its striking appearance lies a roomy and functional sedan that rides pleasantly, is easy and enjoyable to drive, and feels more nimble than a lot of big cars.
Even before the LXi engine was enlarged to 3.5 liters and received an additional 12 hp, it delivered spirited acceleration unlike the 2.7-liter V-6 in the LX that doesnt quite pack the muscle to propel a car of this size with full force. On upgrades, for instance, the 2.7-liter tended to turn sluggish, and its transmission grew hesitant about changing gears. The new 250-hp Limited should be even more confident when passing and merging.
Although the Concordes ride doesnt quite rank as gentle, it is smooth on most pavement surfaces. The seats have short bottoms and are on the firm side, but both the front and rear promise plenty of space to stretch out. Because the small back window is positioned behind a high parcel shelf, rear visibility could be a problem for shorter drivers.
Those on a budget should consider the Dodge Intrepid, which offers similar performance and features in a sportier package, but a lower price.