New Car/Review

1999 CHRYSLER CONCORDE LXi

By Matt/Bob Hagin

Daimler/Chrysler Full Line factory footage (39:14) 28.8, 56k or 200k Part 1 and 200k Part 2
SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 21,565
Price As Tested                                    $ 26,335
Engine Type              SOHC 24-valve 3.2 Liter V6 w/SMFI*
Engine Size                                 197 cid/3231 cc
Horsepower                                   225 @ 6300 RPM
Torque (lb-ft)                               225 @ 3800 RPM
Wheelbase/Width/Length                  113.0"/74.5"/209.1"
Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
Curb Weight                                     3577 pounds
Fuel Capacity                                  17.0 gallons
Tires  (F/R)                          P225/60R16 AS Touring
Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
Drive Train                  Front-engine/front-wheel-drive
Vehicle Type                       Five-passenger/four-door
Domestic Content                                 84 percent
Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                              0.30

PERFORMANCE

EPA Economy, miles per gallon
   city/highway/average                            19/29/23
0-60 MPH                                        9.0 seconds
1/4 (E.T.)                          16.5 seconds @ 87.0 mph
Top-speed                                               N/A
     * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

(Matt Hagin says that the winged medallion on the front of the '99 Chrysler Concorde LXi is a throwback to the one that Walter P. Chrysler put on his first car in 1924. His father Bob says the new Concorde is as innovative as its ancestor of 75 years ago.)

BOB - To me, this Concorde is as big and plush a car as Chrysler has made in a long time, Matt, and it's something of a wonder that it gets so much performance from relatively small engines. Chrysler uses two different versions to power the '99 Concorde: a 2.7 and a 3.2 liter V6. Both sport single overhead camshafts and have four valves per cylinder. As per the rest of the Chrysler lineup, power is delivered to the front wheels and the engines are mounted lengthwise in the engine bay.

MATT - The 3.2 V6 in our Concorde puts out 20 percent more horsepower and is considerably more fuel efficient than the older engine. This is in part due to the use of a coil-on-plug ignition system, a feature found on the 2.7 liter engine as well. Our tester came in LXi trim, which is only available with the bigger 3.2 liter engine. It pumps out 225 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque, which is more than enough to give it good off-line power. This type of American sedan is extremely valuable to the corporate world. There's no doubt in my mind that the LXi will be the most popular seller, with the majority of LX models being relegated to mid-management corporate duty.

BOB - It's interesting to note that the Chrysler press package that came with our test car recommends that both the LXi and the LX use 87-octane fuel, which would save a few bucks in the long run. The company claims that the fuel mileage is 19 MPG around town with 29 on the highway. I think this is optimistic, but nonetheless I averaged around 23 MPG overall. It has a 17-gallon tank, but I would think that a higher capacity would be useful on long trips. Some of the new features this year are a set of fancy sixteen-inch Medallion wheels on the LXi and a couple of new exterior colors, but being somewhat color-blind, I can't really tell the difference.

MATT - For whatever reason, the brakes on the LXi are slightly larger than those on the LX and they felt spongy to me, but apparently it's a characteristic of this car. The suspension system is dynamite and for such a large car, its handling is excellent. There are sway bars front and rear, and the suspension is independent on all four wheels. Both Concorde models are identical dimensionally with a width of just over 74 inches and a 113-inch wheelbase. It's just over 209 inches long and is working its way up to the two-ton mark, a weight that defiantly classes it as a large car. Our LXi came with anti-lock brakes and bigger tires as part of the Customer Preferred package. Here in California we didn't need the $30 optional cold weather package with its engine block and battery heaters, but the nine-speaker Infinity stereo system was almost strong enough to blow out the windows.

BOB - The aerodynamics of this Concorde are a little extreme for me, Matt. The slope of the hood starts almost at ground level and continues gradually to the highest point of the car. Inside there is lots of leg and hip room for the rear passengers but the curvature of the rear portion of the top is pretty sharp and it takes some conscious head-ducking to climb inside. The rear doors are very long, however, so entries and exits are easy - if you keep your head down. The down side of these long doors is that it's easy to nick the sides of other cars in a parking lot. The seating is people-friendly too, due in part to the Chrysler cab-forward theme of pushing the tires and wheels as far as possible to the four corners of the car.

MATT - Chryslers have changed a lot since those old '70s freeway- cruisers we had when we were kids. Back then, the plain versions had front bench seats and only the upscale models had individual buckets. These days, if you want a bench seat on a Concorde, it's $100 extra.

BOB - That's true, Matt, and the only reason I can think of for this change is that American families have gotten smaller over the years. They just don't need four-across seating in a sedan anymore.

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