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null 1997 Eagle Vision
MPG 17 City / 25 Highway


It seems like only yesterday, but Chrysler's LH cars--Chrysler Concorde, Dodge Intrepid and Eagle Vision--were introduced over four years ago. Full-size front-drivers, these were the cars that put the company's fortunes back on a positive track with their breakthrough cab-forward design, a design that sent ripples through the entire industry, as well as Chrysler offerings that have come along since. Today they're the oldest cars in the entire Chrysler lineup, a dramatic index of the sweeping changes at the company Walter P. Chrysler established back in 1923. However, though they're now the veterans of the fleet, no one would call them dated. The strong wedge shapes still stand out in traffic, and the cab-forward design concept, which places the wheels at the corners of the car to expand interior volume, still gives the LH triplets an edge in roominess. And that translates directly as comfort and all-around utility. The newer Chrysler LHS, an even larger car based on a stretched luxury version of the basic LH platform, amplifies this benefit, but the original triplets are still interior volume leaders in their respective market segments. Although the three cars share the same basic chassis and hardware, the Vision is the sportiest, aimed at drivers who want the functionality of a large 4-door sedan but also want the handling and style found in European imports--without paying the price commanded by the imports. The Vision is a member of Chrysler's newest brand lineup, Eagle, which was established after Chrysler purchased American Motors in the '80s. Eagle cars generally are sold through dealerships that also sell the Jeeps. As the brand conceived to lure import-intenders, Eagle frequently is called upon to introduce technological innovations. The latest example is Autostick, an automatic that can be shifted like a manual transmission if the driver chooses. Although it will probably spread to other Chrysler products, for 1996 it's available only in the Eagle Vision TSi. Aside from this update, the Vision is unchanged from last year. The same goes for the Intrepid and Concorde, as all three models approach their first major redesign. Our test car was a TSi, equipped with the new Autostick transmission.
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