1997 Chrysler LHS

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1997 Chrysler LHS
Available in 1 styles:  LHS 4dr Sedan Base shown
Asking Price Range
$1,804–$4,512
Estimated MPG

17 city / 25.9 hwy

Expert Reviews

By 

The Morning Call and Mcall.com

I felt like Fred Schneider, lead singer for the B-52s, cruising down to the Love Shack. Yes I had a Chrysler. It wasn't as a big as a whale, but it was sizable.

Big Chryslers are a tradition, though, even if this latest version has little to do with those chrome-encrusted, hemi-powered land arks of yore.

Certainly, Chrysler's LHS is a politically correct large Chrysler. Its flanks are expertly tailored, with a gorgeous C-pillar curving just aft of the rear doors. The rear window bulges in a convex fashion over a rear deck large enough to play table tennis on. The front is elegant, with an understated upright grille and, although the look has become familiar, it is still a stunning expression of brawny elegance.

"I got me a Chrysler. It fits about 20 ... "

Mechanically, this car is Chrysler's LH-series (Dodge Intrepid, Chrysler Concorde, Eagle Vision) let out a couple of sizes. If you've tried the LH cars and found plenty of room, the LHS is positively limousine-like.

Up front are a pair of comfy leather-covered bucket seats. A split bench seat is an option, but try the buckets first. They offer great comfort and support. In back, there's more room than you'll find in almost any car in this class. It's huge, with enough space to cross your legs. That said, the seat back felt a little too reclined, a common malady in cars these days.

The dashboard is sculpted in the modern idiom, and has large analog gauges in front of the driver. The dash itself is low, in the Honda manner. Unlike Honda, this car has lots of inexpensive plastic decorating the interior. Like too many cars, it also was fitted with fake wood trim.

"So hurry and bring your juke box money ... "

Of course, if you're in hurry, this car is ready to oblige. It's fitted with Chrysler's biggest six, a 3.5-liter single overhead cam engine churning out 214 horses and 221 foot-pounds of torque. It's a willing servant spinning with enough gusto to make things interesting. But you won't mistake it for the bottomless torque of a V8.

That power gets put to good use on the handling side of the equation, something for which older Chryslers weren't always known. The LHS handles fairly well for a car that's 207 inches long. It's fairly adroit at carving corners, although the ride trade-off is some harshness over the worst bumps. But there's little nose dive, and body lean is well controlled. The automatic transmission, despite undergoing some refinement this year, still delivers rubbery shifts at times.

Helping matters during some inclement winter weather were the optional traction control and anti-lock brakes. They growl when operating, adding to the road and tire noise that also find their way into the passenger compartment.

Power amenities are plentiful. Actually, there are only four options: a power moon roof, upgraded sound system, metallic paint and bench seat. The test car had everything but the bench seat. That said, there were a couple of options absent that most people won't miss, but have become a standard in the luxury field. The leather seats don't have seat heaters, and there are no memory settings for them. But equipped with a well-engineered moon roof (it created little added noise), power windows-locks-mirrors, powers seats, and a truly awesome sound system, this whale delivers oceans of sound and driving pleasure.

The only flaw was a right-side windshield wiper that refused to clear about 30 percent of its side of the windshield. (I've been in many old Chryslers that do that, too.)

And that's what's so great about this under-appreciated automobile: It delivers loads of space and comfort as well as a surprisingly good driving experience.

And about the Love Shack? I'll meet ya there tonight.

Chrysler LHS Standard: 3.5-liter double overhead cam 24-valve V6, four-speed automatic transmission, leather eight-way dual power bucke seats, dual air bags, speed sensitive power steering, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, P225/60R16 tires with cast aluminum wheels, full-size spare, rear window defogger, dual power mirrors and intermittent wipers. Also, automatic climate control, AM/FM cassette stereo, power windows, power door locks, cruise control, message center, trip computer, overhead console with compass, rear seat heat/AC outlets, illuminated vanity mirrors, electrochromatic rear-view mirror, Homelink universal transmitter, tilt steering wheel, fog lamps. Options: Platinum metallic paint, AM/FM cassette/CD audio system, power moon roof. Base price: $30,255 As tested: $32,145 EPA rating: 17 mpg city, 26 mpg highway Test mileage: 20 mpg


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