Little has changed for Chryslerís full-size front-wheel-drive (FWD) Concorde sedan, which went on sale in the spring as an early 2004 model. A new BeltAlert system activates a chime and warning light that reminds the driver to buckle up.
For 2005, a completely different LX sedan will replace the Concorde. The new model will be equipped with rear-wheel drive (RWD) rather than FWD. Chrysler has not offered a RWD sedan since 1989.
The Concorde is built on the same platform as the Dodge Intrepid, and itís related to the sporty Chrysler 300M, which has different styling and is shorter overall. Starting in July 2002, all Chrysler vehicles gained a new 7-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty that is transferable to subsequent owners.
Even though its low-nose/high-deck profile is similar to that of the Intrepid, the Concorde has a look all of its own that features plenty of curves. Wraparound headlights flank a wide, oval-shaped crosshatch grille. The rear endís styling is also different because it features a back window that is smaller than the one on the Intrepid.
The tires on the LX and LXi measure 16 inches in diameter, while 17-inchers are installed on the top-of-the-line Limited. The Concorde measures 207.7 inches long overall on a 113-inch wheelbase, and it comes with a four-wheel touring-tuned independent suspension.
Front bucket seats are standard in all models. A 50/50-split front bench that expands total capacity to six passengers instead of the standard five is available for the LX and LXi. Steering-wheel stereo controls are included with the optional Infinity sound system.
Like the Intrepid, the Concorde has large doors, a spacious interior and a roomy trunk. Because of its higher roofline, backseat passengers get slightly more headroom in the Concorde.
A 200-horsepower, 2.7-liter V-6 engine goes into the LX. The LXi gets a 232-hp, 3.5-liter V-6, and the Limitedís 3.5-liter V-6 is rated at 250 hp. Each engine works with a four-speed-automatic transmission.
Side-impact airbags for the front seats are optional on all models. Antilock brakes and low-speed traction control are standard on the Limited and optional on the LXi.
Beyond the Concordeís still-striking appearance lies a roomy and functional sedan that rides pleasantly, is easy and enjoyable to drive, and feels more nimble than many big cars. Even before the LXiís engine was enlarged to 3.5 liters, it delivered spirited acceleration ó unlike the 2.7-liter V-6 in the LX, which doesnít quite pack the muscle to propel a car of this size with full force. The 250-hp Limited should be even more confident when passing and merging.
The Concordeís ride doesnít quite rank as gentle, but it is smooth on most pavement surfaces. All of the seats have short bottoms and are on the firm side, but both the front and rear promise plenty of space to stretch out. Because the small back window is positioned behind a high parcel shelf, rear visibility could be a problem for shorter drivers.