by Harry Pegg
Photos by Grant Yoxon
Chrysler’s luxury flagship is roomy and smooth-riding
DaimlerChrysler has given Concorde a new role for 2002: luxury flagship, sailing with enthusiasm into the berth as replacement for the now-sunk LHS.
To fill the task, the big sedan now has three models: LX, LXi and Limited. After spending some time in an LXi test car, I can report that I liked it. Sort of.
Click image to enlarge
I have no problems whatever with the ride, the handling, the power or the amenities of the new Concorde. You might ask what else is there? Well, there’s looks? I like the front end with its big character grille, I like the roofline, I like how the wheels (especially the optional 17-inchers) fill the wheelwells. But I can’t work up any enthusiasm for the rear end which I find, well, bland. So much for the subjective stuff. Other people really like the whole package.
Objectively speaking, this is a pretty good cruiser to haul you across the country, or anywhere else, for that matter. It’s roomy (huge, actually) – great legroom, good headroom, lots of room for wide butts, broad shoulders and big feet. And the trunk!! Who says you can’t take it with you? You can come pretty close with this car with it’s 530 litres of cargo space, plus a rear seat pass-through for long stuff.
Okay, you’ve got all the gear stowed for yourself and three friends. It’s time to hit the road. As you get in, you’re greeted with a warm leather-lined, soft-touch interior and welcomed by form-hugging front bucket seats and contoured rear bench seat. Everything is easy to find, to read and to operate. It’s a well-laid-out car, tailored to make the driving experience as easy as possible.
The multi-function steering wheel includes controls for cruise control and audio controls. Feel around the back of the wheel and you’ll discover rocker switches at 3 and 9 o’clock which give you complete control of your listening environment.
Overhead is a multi-function console with compass and temperature readings along with a full-function trip computer. Visibility through the large greenhouse is very good in all directions, except for the fact that there’s a reflection line across the windshield, reflecting the transition on the dash from black to beige. Under certain lighting conditions, it’s annoying.
Now that you’re settled in and buckled up, turn on the ignition. You’d better watch the tach to tell if the 3.5L V6 has started because it’s too quiet to hear. Now, reach down to the leather-wrapped shifter for the four-speed automatic and let’s go.
Hey! Whoa! It might be a big car, but you don’t have to stomp on it to make the horses go to work. It’s a surprisingly energetic performer and did you feel the shift? I didn’t think so.
Feel that ride. The luxury-tuned touring suspension is compliant without wallowing like a big boat. It’s quiet, too. There’s a little road noise from the optional 17-inch tires, but not much. And there’s not much wind noise either. No need to shout to be heard by your rear-seat passengers.
Try going into the corners with a little enthusiasm. The fully independent suspension with MacPherson struts up front and Chapman struts in back team up with front and rear stabilizer bars to keep the Concorde on course without a lot of lean. Turns in quickly, too.
The test car’s ABS works without a lot of startling pedal feedback and the low-speed traction control system was fine on very wet streets. Concorde’s driving appeal is interesting. It crosses the gender and generation gaps. I liked driving it and my wife liked it (that takes care of the gender issue), but my daughter, who has pretty discriminating taste in vehicles, liked it, too.
2002 Chrysler Concorde LXi
|Base price (LX)||$29,690|
|Base price (LXi)||$31,200|
|Price as tested (LXi)||$34,405|
|Type||4-door, 5 passenger full-size sedan|
|Layout||longitudinal front engine/front-wheel-drive|
|Engine||3.5 litre V6|
|Horsepower||234 @ 6000 rpm|
|Torque||241 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm|
|Curb weight||1609 kg (3,547 lbs)|
|Wheelbase||2870 mm (113.0 in.)|
|Length||5276 mm (207.7 in.)|
|Width||1890 mm (74.4 in.)|
|Height||1422 mm (56.0 in.)|
|Trunk space||530 litres (18.7 cu. ft.)|
|Fuel consumption||City: 12.8 L/100 km (22.1 mpg)|
|Hwy: 8.3 L/100 km (34.0 mpg)|
|Warranty||3 yrs/60,000 km|
|Powertrain warranty||5 yrs/100,000 km|
Standard equipment (Concorde LXi): 3.5L V6 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, reduced power dual front airbags, four-wheel disc brakes, cruise control, automatic climate control, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel with audio and cruise control switches, fog lamps, Solar-control glass on windshield and rear window, speed sensitive power door locks, power remote mirrors, remote keyless entry, 8-way power driver seat, leather seating, remote trunk lid release, power windows with one-touch down on drive side, six-speaker AM/FM stereo/CD player with rear window integrated antenna, brake-park interlock, trunk cargo net, LATCH child seat anchors, central locking, 600-amp maintenance-free battery, battery heater, block heater, centre console with armrest storage and cupholders, electric rear window defroster, floor mats, overhead console with HomeLink transceiver and garage door opener, automatic halogen projector headlamps with delay feature, inside-trunk emergency release, child-protection rear door locks, rear bench seat with trunk pass-through and armrest with storage and cup holder, compact spare, power-assisted rack and pinion steering, four-wheel independent touring suspension, security alarm, engine immobilizer.
Test car options: dual side airbags, full size spare, luxury touring group (ABS, traction control, premium body controller, speed-proportional power steering, 17-inch chrome clad aluminum wheels and power sunroof), AM/FM stereo with cassette, four-disc CD changer and Infinity speakers.