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With its bold grille and fluid lines, the Chrysler Concorde remains a pretty car. It's also surprisingly functional with a comfortable, roomy interior.
Chrysler has refined the Concorde's suspension for 2000 for a quieter, smoother ride. Variable-assist, speed-sensitive steering is now standard on the LXi model.
Chrysler's Concorde shares platforms with the European-styled Chrysler 300M, luxurious Chrysler LHS and sporty Dodge Intrepid. But the Concorde offers unique styling. The Intrepid is a full 5 inches shorter than the Concorde. The upscale LHS shares Concorde's basic shape, but adds a range of luxury touches and more than $2,000 to the bottom line. The shorter 300M is the sportiest of the bunch, with a high-performance powertrain and suspension package. For many buyers, the Concorde is likely to hit the mark. It offers a wonderful balance of elegance, performance, handling, roominess and value.
The Concorde offers impressive grip in hard cornering and solid, stable braking performance. It's amazing how well this car handles given its size. It's easy and fun to drive on winding roads. Yet it's very stable on the open road at high speeds and relatively unaffected by crosswinds. The steering system has been revised for improved feel.
The fully independent suspension provides this handling prowess without sacrificing ride comfort. The secret lies within the Concorde's rigid chassis. An aluminum crossbeam behind the instrument panel helps reduce noise and vibration. Concorde's stiff chassis translates into less body shake and roll, better handling, and a quiet ride. The Concorde provides a smooth ride even when traveling on rough, beat up roads. In terms of noise and vibration, this Concorde is light years ahead of pre-1998 models. It still isn't the quietest sedan in is class, but Chrysler engineers have substantially subdued wind and road noise.
The 2.7-liter engine used in the LX is a marked improvement from the engine it replaced; it's quicker, quieter and much more powerful than the old 3.3-liter push-rod cast-iron V6. It's still not the best engine in its class in terms of refinement, however. This engine achieves decent fuel economy, generating an EPA rating of 20/29 mpg city/highway, and it works well around town. But it seems a bit taxed when accelerating onto the freeway fully laden with passengers.
If you want stronger off-the-line acceleration, you'll need the LXi with the 3.2-liter engine. It growls aggressively under hard acceleration and delivers good acceleration performance, whether starting from a standstill or passing at high speeds. Most of this comes from the difference in torque: While the 2.7-liter V6 generates 190 foot-pounds of torque at a relatively high 4850 rpm, the larger 3.2-liter V6 produces 225 foot-pounds of torque at 3800 rpm. Torque is the force that propels you away from intersections. They say horsepower sells cars, but torque wins races. Still, this is not the smoothest engine in a world of highly refined V6s.
Both Concorde models come standard with a four-speed automatic. The AutoStick, which comes on the Dodge Intrepid, is not available. But the AutoStick is a toy. You don't need it. The Concorde's transmission shifts effectively without hunting for the appropriate gear.
Brakes are excellent, offering quick, predictable stopping power at threshold. ABS is standard on the LXi and a $600 option on the LX and we recommend them highly; anti-lock brakes allow the driver to maintain steering control during emergency braking situations. Like ABS, traction control is standard on LXi and optional ($175) on LX; this system enhances driver control by reducing wheel spin under hard acceleration. The traction control system makes the Concorde easier to drive in slippery conditions.
Unlike the pre-1998 models, the current Concorde's quad headlamps provide brilliant illumination as well as a classy styling touch. Windshield wipers are far more effective, as is the defroster, which proved particularly welcome during a nasty blizzard.
Chrysler's Concorde offers elegant styling that continues to draw admiring glances. It offers a roomy, comfortable interior. Handling is impressive. While not the most refined vehicle in its class, the Concorde delivers class, style and value.
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