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Expert Reviews 1 of 3
By Rick Popely
January 4, 2000
Vehicle Overview A high-performance R/T (road/track) model joins the Intrepid lineup early in calendar-year 2000 as the major change for the Intrepid, a front-drive sedan that is part of the same family as the Chrysler Concorde, LHS and 300M.
Special hardware on the R/T includes a 242-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine, 17-inch aluminum wheels and tires, and unique interior trim with R/T logos. It will be available in red, silver, slate and white exterior colors. With the R/T, Dodge is revving up for entering the NASCAR stock car racing series in 2001, using the Intrepid's design as the basis.
Intrepid and its Chrysler cousins were redesigned for the 1998 model year and are expected to continue in their present design through the 2002 model year.
Exterior Like its Chrysler cousins, the boldly styled Intrepid turns a lot more heads than do other full-size cars. The cab-forward design pioneered by Chrysler pushes the wheels to the ends of the car, and the low nose and high tail give it a sleek, aerodynamic shape with a drag coefficient of .30, better than some sports cars.
The Intrepid is nearly 204 inches long and rides on a 113-inch wheelbase.
Interior Five-passenger seating is standard, but an optional front bench seat gives the base model room for six. The ES and R/T are available only with front buckets. All doors open wide enough for easy entry and exit, and the spacious Intrepid accommodates taller people in the front and rear. At 18.4 cubic feet, the trunk provides ample cargo room, though the high liftover makes loading heavy items a chore. The ES has a split, folding rear seatback, and the base and R/T models have a fixed rear seatback.
One major difference from Dodge's styling compared to the similar Chrysler models: The Intrepid has a much larger rear window, giving the driver a better view for parking and changing lanes.
Under the Hood Both the base and ES models now come with a standard 2.7-liter V-6 that generates 202 horsepower. A 3.2-liter V-6 with 225 horsepower is optional on the ES this year instead of standard. The 242-horsepower 3.5 liter engine is exclusive to the R/T. All models come with a four-speed automatic transmission. On the ES and R/T, the transmission adds the Autostick feature, which allows manual shifting by tipping the shift lever left or right.
Performance Alluring styling, a spacious interior and capable performance make the Intrepid an attractive proposition. Those who demand strong acceleration in a big sedan will be happier with the 3.2-liter V-6 available in the ES (and happier still with the 3.5-liter in the R/T). The 2.7-liter engine has to work pretty hard to deliver adequate performance.