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The Dodge Intrepid was a large four-door, full-size, front-wheel drive sedan. It was mechanically related to the Chrysler Concorde, Chrysler LHS, Chrysler New Yorker, Eagle Vision, and also the 300M sedans. The Intrepid, Concorde, and Vision were collectively designated the LH, Chrysler's codename for the platform which underpinned them. It was sold in Canada as the Chrysler Intrepid. It replaced the Dynasty and Monaco as Dodge's largest car.

Dodge Intrepid
1998-2001 Dodge Intrepid
Manufacturer Chrysler Corporation
Also called Chrysler Intrepid
Production 1993–2004
Predecessor Dodge Dynasty
Dodge Monaco
Successor Dodge Charger
Dodge Magnum
Class Full-size
Body style(s) 4-door sedan
Layout FF layout
Platform Chrysler LH platform


* 1 Background
* 2 First generation (1993–1997)
o 2.1 Engines
o 2.2 Trim
* 3 Second generation (1998–2004)
* 4 2.7-liter engine sludge problems on 1998-2002 models
* 5 ESX concepts
o 5.1 Engines
o 5.2 Trims
* 6 Awards
* 7 References


The Intrepid's design can be traced to 1986, when designer Kevin Verduyn completed the initial exterior design of a new aerodynamic concept sedan called Navajo. The design never passed the clay model stage.

It was also at this time that the Chrysler Corporation purchased bankrupt Italian sports car manufacturer Lamborghini. The Navajo's exterior design was reworked and became the Lamborghini Portofino, released as a concept at the 1987 Frankfurt Auto Show. The Portofino was heralded as a design triumph, setting in motion Chrysler's decision to produce a production sedan with the Portofino's revolutionary design, called "cab-forward".

The cab forward design was characterized by the long, low slung windshield, and relatively short overhangs. The wheels where effectively pushed to the corners of the car, creating a much larger passenger cabin than the contemporaries of the time.

Design of the chassis began in the late 1980s, after Chrysler had bought another automaker: American Motors Corporation (AMC) in 1987. During this time, Chrysler began designing the replacement for the then-new Dodge Dynasty, which was a mid-size car. Initially it bore resemblance to the Dynasty, and this design was scrapped entirely after François Castaing, formerly AMC's Vice President of product engineering and development, became Chrysler's Vice President of vehicle engineering in 1988. The new design, under Castaing's leadership, began with the Eagle Premier.

The Premier's longitudinal engine mounting layout was inherited, as was the front suspension geometry, and parts of the braking system. The chassis itself became a flexible architecture capable of supporting front or rear-wheel drive (designated "LH" and "LX" respectively).

The chassis design was continually refined throughout the following years, as it underpinned more Chrysler prototypes: the 1989 Chrysler Millennium and 1990 Eagle Optima.

The transmission was inspired by the Premier's Audi and ZF automatics. Borrowing heavily from Chrysler's A604 (41TE) "Ultradrive" transversely-mounted automatic, it became the A606 (also known as 42LE).

By 1990, it was decided that the new technologically-advanced car would need a new technologically-advanced engine to power it. Until that time, the only engine confirmed for use was the 3.3 L pushrod V6. The 3.3 L engine's 60° block was bored out to 3.5 liters, while the pushrod-actuated valves were replaced with SOHC cylinder heads with four valves per cylinder, creating an advanced 3.5 L V6. For the second generation Intrepid R/T the block was recast in aluminum as part of a comprehensive upgrade.

First generation (1993–1997)

First generation
1995-97 Dodge Intrepid
Production 1993–1997
Assembly Newark, Delaware
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Engine(s) 3.3 L EGA V6
3.5 L EGJ V6
Transmission(s) 4-speed 42LE automatic
Wheelbase 113 in (2870 mm)
Length 1993-94: 201.7 in (5123 mm)
1995-97: 201.8 in (5126 mm)
Width 74.4 in (1890 mm)
Height 56.3 in (1430 mm)
Curb weight 3318 lb (1505 kg)
Related Chrysler LHS
Chrysler Concorde
Chrysler New Yorker
Eagle Vision

The first generation of LH cars debuted with fanfare at the 1992 North American International Auto Show in Detroit as three 1993 models: the Chrysler Concorde, Dodge Intrepid (badged as a Chrysler in Canada) and the Eagle Vision (badged as a Chrysler in Europe).

The Intrepid was available in two trim levels: base and the sportier, better-equipped ES, which added four-wheel disk brakes, 16" wheels with better tires, and stiffer "touring" suspension damping. All Intrepids received driver and front passenger airbags, a rarity at the time, as well as air conditioning and the four-speed automatic transmission. Anti-lock brakes were optional, as was traction control and the more powerful 3.5 L SOHC engine (214 hp peak).

Changes were few over the Intrepid's initial five-year production. A new variable-assist power steering rack replaced the original for 1994, allowing for easier parking while maintaining a firmer feel at speed. The touring suspension tuning was also made standard equipment in the base model this year. Anti-lock brakes were made standard in the ES in 1995, and in 96 a new manual shift function for the automatic transmission, called Autostick, was inherited from the Eagle Vision TSi: the first transmission of its kind available in a mainstream car.


* 3.3 L pushrod V6
* 3.5 L SOHC V6


* 1993-1997 - base
* 1996-1997 - Sport Intrepid
* 1993-1997 - ES

Second generation (1998–2004)

Second generation
2004 Dodge Intrepid
Production 1998–2004
Assembly Brampton Assembly in
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Engine(s) 2.7 L EER V6
3.2 L V6
3.5 L EGJ V6
Transmission(s) 4-speed 42LE automatic
Wheelbase 113 in (2870.2 mm)
Length 203.7 in (5174 mm)
Width 2000-01: 74.6 in (1895 mm)
1998-99 & 2002-04: 74.7 in (1897 mm)
Height 55.9 in (1420 mm)
Curb weight 3422 lb (1552 kg)
Related Chrysler LHS
Chrysler 300M
Chrysler Concorde

The LH cars were redesigned from the ground up for 1998. The design was stunningly modern and widely acclaimed at the time. The engines were replaced by two new all-aluminum units: a DOHC 2.7 L, 200 hp (150 kW) V6 for base models, and a SOHC 3.2 L, 225 hp (168 kW) V6 for the ES. Some of the 2.7 L V6 engines have suffered from failures due to oil sludge contamination. These problems happen when fine engine oil passages become clogged with sludge, and often result in catastrophic failure of the engine (see below). Improper maintenance, such as irregular oil changes would see such results. An unknown number of Intrepid owners have been affected. Fixes include changing to synthetic oil, inspection, and even engine replacement. The base model continued to use the ordinary four-speed automatic, while the ES featured AutoStick as standard equipment.

A new, top-of-the-line R/T model was added in 2000, the centerpiece of which was a redesigned version of the 3.5 L V6, now producing 242 hp (180 kW). At the same time the 3.2 L was reduced to an option in the ES.

In 2001, the Intrepid made its debut on the NASCAR circuit, signifying the return of Chrysler to NASCAR competition after a 16-year hiatus. Drivers in the initial Dodge campaign included Bill Elliott, Jeremy Mayfield, Ward Burton, Sterling Marlin, John Andretti, Buckshot Jones, Kyle Petty, Stacy Compton, Dave Blaney,and Casey Atwood. Marlin was the first to win in a Dodge, giving the marque its first victory since 1977, with the late Neil Bonnett driving.

The R/T was discontinued in 2003 but a new SXT model kept the 3.5 liter High Output motor, increased to a 250 hp (186 kW) power rating. The SXT moniker was used across the Dodge product line as a trim level.

Popularity of the Intrepid waned over its 12-year lifespan. The cab-forward design was no longer considered revolutionary, and although the design was still far more modern, attractive and roomy than many of its rivals, the Intrepid was quietly retired in August 2004 to make way for Chrysler's new rear wheel drive LX vehicles. Intrepids were built at AMC's former assembly plant, originally used to manufacture the Eagle Premier, in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

In addition, the second generation body styles were used for commercial and government purposes. These vehicles were used to make police interceptors, fire chief cars, and taxis similar to the earlier Chevy Caprice or Ford Crown Victoria. These packages had distinctive styling differences (such as half-moon hub caps) and additional wiring to support strobes and flashers in the trunk compartment and in the front by the grill. These packages and some non-police (non-commercial) packages featured plastic front-end intake vents that routed air onto the rotors for additional cooling and stopping power.

DaimlerChrysler discontinued the Intrepid after 2004 to make room for the 2005 Dodge Magnum station wagon and 2006 Dodge Charger sedan.

2.7-liter engine sludge problems on 1998-2002 models

A common problem in the second-generation Intrepids (as well as the concurrent Chrysler Concordes) is engine failure in cars that came equipped with the 2.7-liter V6 engine. The narrow oil passages in the engine tend to become clogged with sludge, a problem that is exacerbated by the fact that the engines have a small oil capacity (four quarts). Synthetic motor oil seems to lessen the problem, although frequent oil changes are advisable to minimize the issue. It is not uncommon for these engines to suffer catastrophic failure at low mileage (often less than 70,000 miles). The sludge issue is believed to be fixed with the addition of extra oil routing and cooling. See Oil_sludge

For more information on alleged 2.7L Engine problems affecting some Dodge Intrepids, visit

ESX concepts

Main article: Dodge Intrepid ESX

In the late 1990s, Chrysler used the Intrepid as a research platform for a hybrid electric vehicle in a diesel-electric configuration. Three variations were built, the Intrepid ESX, ESX II, and ESX III. The first vehicle was built in a series hybrid configuration, while the next two were considered "mybrids" or mild hybrids. These were attempted in the time frame of 1997 to 1998.

The ESX design team set a high goal of making the vehicle capable of sipping gasoline at 80 mpg, but the eventual vehicle only achieved an estimated 55 mpg. The figure was quite impressive for such a vehicle. However, the car used a number of exotic materials, which made the cost excessive if it were ever to go into full-scale production. It was estimated that the car would cost $80,000, or roughly $60,000 more than a regular Intrepid. Part of this price increase was caused by the use of lead-acid batteries.

The ESX II team set a somewhat more modest goal of 70 mpg. The vehicle was made much lighter than normal by using an aluminum frame and carbon fiber composite material. This version only cost around $37,000, or about $15,000 more than a standard Intrepid. This version used nickel metal hydride batteries.

The third vehicle, the ESX III, had a target mileage of 72 mpg. It used less expensive materials, such as injection-molded thermoplastic instead of carbon fiber. The estimated cost was only about $7,500 more than a standard vehicle, which would give a total somewhere around $30,000. The ESX III used lithium ion batteries.

It is unclear if the research teams really achieved these goals. Common Sense Not Required, a book by Evan Boberg, indicates that these vehicles did not attain these levels of efficiency.

These are the engines and trims available


* 1998-2004 - 2.7 L V6*
* 1998-2001 - 3.2 L V6**
* 2000-2004 - 3.5 L V6***


* 1998-1999 - base
* 2000-2004 - SE*
* 1998-2004 - ES ***
* 2000-2002 - R/T****
* 2003-2004 - SXT**


The Intrepid and Concorde were on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1993 and 1994. The second-generation Intrepid again made the list for 1998 and 1999. Both generations won Consumer Guide's "Best Buy" award.
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