1997 Dodge Intrepid SE 3.5 Sport from North America
I love my Lumpy!!! She's a cool car!
Have entire service history from previous 3 owners (as thick as a bible! haha!)
Engine rebuilt around 130,000.
Timing belts, pumps replaced around 140,000.
Radiator replaced at 160,000.
Entire brake system torn out/replaced at 179,000.
Cup holder jammed into console at 183,000.
Transmission hesitates from 1st to 2nd gear (bent)
I moved out to a rural area in TX from NYC a few months ago and had to learn to drive. To my father's disgust (since he had to teach me) I chose this car, which he thought was a bad choice because it was huge and I was a neurotic, underconfident driver. I will admit, this car and all Dodge Intrepids (1st and 2nd generation) are a horror to parallel-park because the nose is low and the backside is flared upwards...and it's so wide.
I ended up mastering the car and I've packed 18,000 miles on it in 6 months. The handling is excellent, despite a slight "swish" and some fishtailing on occasion (weird for a FWD?!) I became good friends with my "Lumpy" as I affectionately call her for the dent in the tip of her nose.
I got Lumpy with about 172,000 on the clock and a history of 4 very dedicated owners. All I can say is, make sure you get a thorough service history if possible. I don't think this car would be very happy these days if people didn't take good care of her.
I spend most of my driving hurtling around on farm roads and interstates at an excess of 65-70mph. I would strongly suggest to any rural drivers that you get the headlights replaced from your favorite car parts store. The stock headlights are narrow-beamed and a bit cruddy, which was bad for a somewhat night-blind individual as myself.
The stock brakes are known among Dodge Intrepid owners to be pretty poor, and mine were no exception. Turned out that they weren't even bled in the poor car's 11 years of life. It cost about $500 (including labor, before I get told I was "ripped off") to have everything torn out and replaced. If you're going to be throwing around a 4,500 pound car like this, you need brakes that can perform. It was pretty scary driving around with squishy brakes and a 50 foot braking buffer for a while.
The things that make this car awesome are the following.
1. Storage -- I am a brand new high school teacher, which means...no desk and lots of moving around! I can literally keep my entire "office" and supplies in my trunk. I went from 26mpg to 23mpg, but hey, what can I say...
2. Style -- The car is 11 years old, but it still has a very aerodynamic style that doesn't make me feel old driving it (I'm a 24 y/o female).
3. Safety and reliability -- Ooookay. This is a big one! For one, I backed into a moving Escalade in a parking lot. Not a scratch on Lumpy. A slight little dent from where I hit the towhooks, and the Escalade lost some paint, but that's all. The car is solid -- I feel if I got in an accident, I'd be absolutely okay. Also, I am often put into situations with drivers that mess with me where I need to overtake. This car is what my dad calls a "necksnapper" -- it's gotten me out of some nasty situations on one-lane farm roads. You'll go to 60 in a little less than 5 seconds and from there, the acceleration is awesome. It makes this cool "DOOO WAAHHHH!!!!!" sound through the air filters, too. hehe
When Lumpy is no longer with me, I'll definitely get another 3.5L Intrepid Sport...probably a 2004. They're good reliable cars. In my case, my biggest problem is keeping friends and my dad from having too much fun driving it. :-)
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 25th May, 2008