2005 Chrysler Crossfire roadster
2005 Chrysler Crossfire roadster; photo by Paul Williams. Click image to enlarge

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2005 Chrysler Crossfire Roadster by Paul Williams

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Manufacturer’s web site

Chrysler Canada

Review and photos by Chris Chase

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Photo Galleries:
Chrysler Crossfire, 2004-2007;
2006 Chrysler Crossfire SRT6

The marriage between Mercedes and Chrysler – DaimlerChrysler – might have been short, but the pair made some beautiful babies.

Well, beautiful to some. The Chrysler LX-platform cars – the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger and Magnum – are polarizing, but exhibit very nice driving dynamics thanks to their use of previous-generation Mercedes E-Class technology.

The other significant vehicle to come out of that tortured union was the Chrysler Crossfire. Here was a two-seat roadster that used the dirty bits from the first-generation SLK but cloaked with art-deco-inspired sheet metal that – dare I say it – made the Mercedes version look a bit dowdy.

The Crossfire was available as a two-door coupe when it was introduced for 2004; a roadster was added for 2005.

Verdict
Highs: Decent reliability, low used values
Lows: Trying to convince your friends you actually got a really good deal on a Mercedes-Benz.

In base and Limited models, motivation came from a Mercedes-sourced 3.2-litre V6 good for 215 horsepower, while the SRT6 version that arrived in 2005 used a supercharged version of that motor; it made 330 horsepower. The SRT model lasted two years and disappeared after 2005. Base and Limited models got a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment; a five-speed automatic was optional in these cars, but was standard in the SRT6.

2004 Chrysler Crossfire coupe
2004 Chrysler Crossfire SRT6 coupe
2004 Chrysler Crossfire coupe (top) and Crossfire SRT6 coupe; top photo by Greg Wilson, bottom photo by Laurance Yap. Click image to enlarge

In 2004, fuel consumption numbers varied wildly depending on transmission choice. With the automatic transmission, Natural Resources Canada figures are 11.2 L/100 km (city) and 7.8 L/100 km (highway). With the six-speed manual, city consumption rises significantly to 14.1 L/100 km, while highway consumption rises to 8.5 L/100 km. These figures changed little as the years progressed.

The 2005 and 2006 SRT6 model was rated at 13.7 L/100 km (city) and 9 L/100 km (highway).

Like the SLK it’s based on, the Crossfire seems to have enjoyed strong overall reliability so far. Consumer Reports gives the Crossfire better than average used car ratings for 2004 and 2005.

Of the common issues I found through a search of Crossfire-related web forums, two are transmission-related: bad automatic transmission o-ring seals can cause transmission fluid leaks; and a problem with the automatic’s AutoStick manual-shift feature that causes vibrations at low engine speeds. The experiences of some members of CrossfireForum.org suggest the problem might be related to the torque converter.

As well, some CrossfireForum.org members have posted – here and here – regarding rust underneath the weatherstripping along the bottom of the doors.

2004 Chrysler Crossfire coupe
2004 Chrysler Crossfire SRT6 coupe
2004 Chrysler Crossfire coupe (top) and Crossfire SRT6 coupe; top photo by Greg Wilson, bottom photo by Laurance Yap. Click image to enlarge

And there’s a thread that talks about throttle body failures due to a bad throttle position sensor.

There are mentions, too, of wonky electronics where the Roadster’s retractable roof and the automatically-deploying rear spoiler used on both models are concerned.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Crossfire Coupe five stars for driver protection and four for front passenger protection in frontal impacts, and five stars in side impacts. The NHTSA didn’t test the droptop, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) hasn’t crash-tested the Crossfire at all.

When new, the Crossfire cost about two thirds what the similar SLK commanded. Despite the use of previous-generation technology, that arguably made the Crossfire a good deal new. Quicker depreciation means the Chrysler is an even better deal used. Crossfire used values, according to Canadian Red Book, range from $36,025 for a 2006 SRT6 Roadster (the priciest 2007 model is the Limited Roadster) down to $17,900 for a 2004 base Coupe (the only model offered that year).

For a little apples-to-apples comparison, price out a used 2004 Crossfire against a 2004 SLK, when both cars used the same underpinnings (the SLK was redesigned for 2005). An SLK 320 is worth just under $34,000, while the Crossfire is worth less than $18,000.

Even if reliability isn’t perfect, the last-gen SLK is one of Mercedes’ least problematic models in recent years and the Crossfire seemed to have fared better than its German cousin. If you’re after style and driving substance at an attractive price, you’d do far worse than to check out a used Crossfire.

Online resources

CrossfireForum.org is the place to start. There’s lots of information here, despite this car’s relatively small sales volume. Be sure to check out the TSB and How-to Articles and Technical & Modifications sections, as well as the individual forums for the coupe, convertible and SRT6 models. There’s a Crossfire section at ChryslerForum.com, but there’s not much of substance there.

Related stories on Autos
First Drives
  • 2005 Chrysler Crossfire Roadster by Paul Williams
  • 2004 Chrysler Crossfire by Grant Yoxon
    Test Drives
  • 2006 Chrysler Crossfire SRT6 by Laurance Yap
  • 2004 Chrysler Crossfire by Greg Wilson

    Manufacturer’s Website
  • Chrysler Canada

    Recalls

    None

    Crash test results
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

    Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.

    For information on recalls, see Transport Canada’s web-site, www.tc.gc.ca, or the U.S. National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA)web-site, www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

    For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

    For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.

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