Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Chrysler Crossfire Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Chrysler Crossfire Overview

Body
Just Try Not to Love It

Chrysler is about to set the automotive world on its ear—again. Year after year, Chrysler has impressed the public with such daring designs as the Viper coupe, the Plymouth Prowler and the PT Cruiser. For 2004, the Chrysler Crossfire carries on the tradition but with a twist; this Chrysler product will carry the engine, drivetrain and suspension of a Mercedes Benz C-Class coupe. The change represents a very powerful advance for Chrysler, and should go a long way toward pulling in perspective buyers who might otherwise have written off the Crossfire as just another pretty face.

The Crossfire began its life two years ago as a stunning concept car. In typical Chrysler fashion, it didn't take long for the big bosses to give the coupe the thumbs up and production plans began to take shape. The car you see today remains almost unchanged from the concept, the only notable difference being the front headlight and grille design and omission of some minor styling cues like the divided front wrap-around windshield. The Crossfire is a true coupe, with seating for two and a small storage area accessible through the rear hatch. Among the more notable features of the Crossfire you'll find an integrated rear spoiler that electrically extends once the driver reaches a speed of 60 mph. The Chrysler team was sensitive to the criticism levied against similar designs from rival manufacturers—namely the noise from the motor and gears—and has made the rear wing deployment as unobtrusive as possible. The final element from the show car that has found its way to production is the enormous 19-inch rear wheels and tires and 18-inch fronts. The athletic seven-spoke design speaks for itself on this car, and when combined with the high-performance summer tires, has the ability to carry out the performance promise whispered by the Crossfire's alluring lines.

To be sure no one would accuse the Crossfire of being all show and no go, Chrysler has adapted the Mercedes 3.2-liter V6 for duty in their hot new coupe. Rated at 215 horsepower and 229 lb-ft. of torque, this smooth-running engine develops great power in the lightweight Crossfire and produces an equally impressive exhaust note. The Crossfire comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but you can opt for a five-speed-automatic with manual shift control. If you stay with the manual, we think you will experience the best side of the Crossfire's personality. This transmission feels solid as a rock, with short quick throws and a shift lever that never feels balky or gets lost between gates. First gear slides into place with unbelievable simplicity and the clutch engages with a liquid transference that will have you thinking you are good enough to race at Indy. Once underway, the power rush is intoxicating, running strong right up to the next shift point and never lagging, even in the higher gears.

Outside the car, you can feel those big ol' wheels doing their best to keep the car firmly planted to the road. The Crossfire's tires were specially designed for the car and come in two sets; summer or all-season. Though the summer tires are the best performers, they do not take kindly to wet or slippery road surfaces (as we discovered on our test drive that began in the California desert and ended in the snow-covered mountains.) As long as the road stays fairly dry, you will find the Crossfire to be a driver's dream car. Throw it into a turn and the g-force practically hurdles you into the side glass. Did the car even lean? Our best response would have to be "barely." Even at the most hair-raising speeds, the Crossfire's world seems to be permanently limited to a single plane—flat. Though its handling prowess easily rivals cars like the Porsche Boxster and Nissan's new Z, the Crossfire does not punish its occupants with a harsh ride, returning instead a surprisingly smooth one that only gets harsh on truly uncivilized roads.

We should point out that the Crossfire is a small coupe and as such may not be for everyone. If you are over six feet tall, you may find the driving position to be bit tight as the rear bulkhead does not allow the seatback to recline when the seat itself is at its rear-most position. Likewise, the steering wheel telescopes but does not tilt and the low roofline means you'll probably be staring out through the tint band. Alas, it is a world dominated by the 5-foot somethings, yet if you do manage to find a comfortable position, you will delight in what the Crossfire's interior has to offer. Quality and craftsmanship like this have not been seen a Chrysler product since the days of the hand-built Imperials. Such attention to detail, refined materials and color—yes color—has found its way into the Crossfire with a vengeance. The Audio system is simply outstanding and the head unit is adaptable to future technology changes, so you won't have to replace the entire thing when the next media medium makes its debut (come on, we know some of you still have 8-tracks at home.)

The Crossfire represents the best Chrysler has to offer and as such comes standard with just about everything you'll need including all-speed traction control, stability control, a 240-watt, six-speaker audio system with dual subwoofers, fog lamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated leather power seats, one-touch power windows, side-airbags, tire pressure monitor, security alarm with keyless entry and the Tire fit system (there is no room for a spare tire, so Chrysler includes a cool repair kit that includes a puncture-filling goo that can be injected into the tire while simultaneously inflating it).

Copyright © 2014 by Kelley Blue Book Co., All Rights Reserved.