1994 DODGE INTREPID ES
Used Car - 1994 Dodge Intrepid ES in Spotsylvania, Va
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1994 Dodge Intrepid ReviewThis car review is specific to this model, not the actual vehicle for sale.
Introduced with great success in 1993, the forward-thinking Dodge Intrepid sedan enters its second year with no exterior changes.
Sales have exceeded company expectations for what is described as a midsize sedan; however, some have noted the substantial passenger roominess and rated it full-size. With this blurred distinction, Intrepid finds itself competing with a range of domestic and imported sedans, including Ford Taurus and Crown Victoria, Chevrolet Lumina and Caprice, and Honda Accord.
Our test vehicle was the standard base model equipped with the 3.3-liter overhead-valve V6 engine that produces 161 hp at 5,300 rpm, up from last year's 153 hp. Intrepid is also available in an upscale ES model that includes some base-model options as standard equipment. This is a common industry p1oy that enables a manufacturer to offer a price leader and a well-equipped version in the same model lineup.
Available for both models is a 3.5-liter V6 that generates 214 hp at 5,800 rpm. Also available is a flexible-fuel 3.3-liter engine that will make farmers and the Environmental Protection Agency happy because it is designed to run on cleaner-burning fuel containing as much as 85 percent methanol, which is made from grain.
The MSRP of our vehicle was $19,429, including the cost of an option package with electronic speed control, an AM/FM stereo with cassette player, power windows and door locks, and four-wheel disc brakes. Standard features include dual air bags and power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering. Steel-belted radial tires are also standard. They're mounted on 15-inch wheels with covers that we considered strange-looking and at odds with the rest of the car.
The most immediate and arresting feature of the exterior design is its cab-forward styling. From top to bottom, the windshield slopes out at least 40 inches, meeting the hood about midpoint over the front wheel housings. The headlights and wraparound amber sidelights are set in an elongated half-moon opening that mirrors the shape of the car itself. It's all stylish and pleasing to the eye.
The bodyside is divided by a 2-inch protective molding finished in matching body color, which in this case was an appealing Emerald Green. Aerodynamic black side-view mirrors are heated, activated when the rear-window defroster is turned on. Door handles are recessed and match the car's color. Black plastic covers the steel surrounding the side windows. It also covers roof support pillars. The rear window complements the windshield and slopes gently to the deck lid, which conceals 16.7 cubic feet of usable carrying space.
The taillights span the rear of the vehicle and wrap around, with two 1-inch bands at the corners. The center of the taillight band is decorated with 'Intrepid' in a stylized logo. Backup lighting is centered as well.
Overall, Chrysler stylists thought this car's exterior design through to the last detail.
We were pleased to note the especially large doors that made entry and exit simple. Intrepid can carry as many as six passengers comfortably, depending on seat configuration. An optional built-in child seat is available. Our test model included an eight-way power driver's seat, which was most comfortable. The front bucket seats are separated by the gear selector, a roomy storage bin for tapes or CDs and a handy coin holder.
The instrument panel was easily accessible through the two-spoke steering wheel, which contained the speed control buttons. The panel display with analog gauges for speed, tachometer, fuel and temperature- shows black figures on a white background that reverses with night illumination. Dash instrumentation was easily viewed and uncomplicated. The driver-side door has the power window, door lock and side-view mirror controls. The driver's power window controls have a lock setting that overrides the passenger controls. It could, for example, prevent a child from opening a window. All controls are easy to reach and understand, and all are nicely illuminated for night driving. In addition, a ring of light surrounds the ignition switch.
Other bonuses include neatly designed pop-out cupholders; driver-side double sun visors that cover the side window and windshield; and standard three-point seat belts that allow for height adjustment.
To serve the back seat, two adjustable air and heating vents are at the rear of the center console. Handy hanger holders and recessed reading lights are over the rear side windows.
Our dominant impression of the interior was that there seemed to be a lot of extra space. That is, after all, the professed idea behind the cab-forward design. Moving the wheels out to the corners of the car results in more room in the back seat, giving passengers the feeling of being in a much larger car. Another result of the cab-forward design is the increased visibility; we felt as if we were surrounded by miles of glass.
While generally praised, last year's 3.3-liter engine caught some flak for being somewhat hesitant during such tasks as climbing steep hills. The boost in horsepower this year may overcome that criticism. We found that our test model accelerated smartly and cruised smoothly, suggesting that Intrepid has hit a nice balance between power and economy. Gear transition was truly seamless, attributable to the newly refined four-speed electronically controlled automatic transaxle. Asking for additional acceleration between 60 and 70 mph did not require a downshift.
Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering is standard on the base model; optional is a new speed-sensitive variable assist steering. This provides the most power assist during parking maneuvers an t1le least at high speed, returning so-called road feel to the driver. This latter system is standard on the ES.
We were impressed by the smoothness of the ride, due in part to the four-wheel independent suspension as well as the long wheelbase and 62inch track. We passed over various road bumps, pavement cracks and ripples, but the suspension serenely smothered those would-be rattle rousers. Chrysler increased damping in the wheel housings in response to past criticism about road noise.
Our test model option package included four-wheel disc brakes that earned our confidence. An anti-lock brake system is also available.
Chrysler's LH models-Dodge Intrepid, Eagle Vision and Chrysler Concorde-were introduced last year and credited with infusing a new burst of vitality into the corporation. The 1994 Intrepid is expected to pull its weight supporting that trend, competing for a wide range of buyers in the midsize and full-size sedan markets. Sedan owners are the most intensely loyal in the industry to body style, and more than 70 percent continue to buy sedans.
Although the Intrepid's exterior design has not changed, the boost in engine power and transaxle redesign is most welcome. The ride quality in our test model was superb. As you're shopping around, this car is definitely worth looking into.