Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Dodge Intrepid Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Dodge Intrepid Overview

Body
Big is Beautiful

Big family sedans are coming back into vogue. They provide plenty of room for up to five people, get good fuel economy and provide near-sports car like handling; the Dodge Intrepid is just such a car and luckily for you, it does every one of these things better than just about any other car in its class.

Most people fall in love with the Intrepid for its dynamic, aggressive good looks; all of the other accolades are just icing on the cake. This is Dodge's premier sedan and it carries all the signature Dodge styling cues that make it clear this is no run of the mill four-door. From its split cross hair grille to its racy 16-inch wheels, the Intrepid is the best medicine there is to cure the common male mid-life crisis (especially if you still have kids.)

If you look at the Intrepid from the side, you'll notice that the vast majority of the car is dedicated to passenger and cargo space. This is an illusion attributed to the Intrepid's cab-forward styling that stretches the A and C pillars out as far as they can go. The wheels are pushed out to the furthest corners, a design that frees up interior room and also provides an extremely stable ride. Around back, you'll find an equally huge trunk that is somewhat limited by a narrow trunk opening, but can still swallow heaps of luggage or outdoor gear. Inside the Intrepid, the cab-forward architecture creates a vast amount of front and rear seat legroom that can easily accommodate the largest passengers. The only drawback was found by some of our tallest test subjects who complained that the sharply raked front pillars had them viewing the road through the windshield's tint band. We suggest you opt for the 8-way power driver's seat if you are over 6-feet tall.

All of the Intrepid's other interior accommodations are first rate. You'll find an excellent set of front seats, divided by a center console complete with a large storage area, armrest and dual cupholders that can actually hold something more than just a 12-oz. can. We think you'll love the Intrepid's dash layout, especially on the SXT trim with its white-faced gauges. The heating and audio controls are neatly stacked one atop the other and the controls fall easily within arm's reach of the steering wheel. Large rotary knobs on the ventilation controls make it easy to adjust the temperature and fan speed without prolonged staring to figure out what works what; a definite bonus when you are driving. And if night time driving is something you avoid like the plague, you'll find some reassurance inside the Intrepid, where almost all of the switches and dash controls are backlit, including the power window buttons.

You can clearly see that the Intrepid is a pretty nice place to be a passenger; but it's the driver who really gets the best deal. This car can really move, especially in the SXT version; around turns, up hills, through traffic—nothing seems to deter its need for speed. The culprit responsible for this un-sedan like behavior is the high-output 3.5-liter engine good for 250 horsepower. This is the same engine that powers the Chrysler 300M and in the Intrepid it is just as rowdy. Quick off the line, confident when passing and still managing an EPA highway fuel rating of 27-mpg earns the 3.5-liter full bragging rights. Of course, the Intrepid's muscular engine gets some help in the form of an improved four-speed electronic automatic transmission; sadly the much-loved AutoStick feature has been discontinued along with the high-end R/T model.

The other two Intrepid trim levels employ less powerful V6 engines (a 2.7-liter for the SE and a standard 3.5-liter on the ES) but still can't be called slouches by any stretch of the imagination.

Power is only part of the Intrepid's allure; handling and braking are the others. You'll love the big Dodge's heavily-weighted steering wheel and its quick response to your input. So long as you don't look over your shoulder, you'll feel like you're driving a small sports car rather than the massive family machine that's actually in tow. Only when you push the Intrepid to the absolute limits of what is considered prudent street driving do the front-wheels break from the pavement and begin to plow. Once you reach this point, the optional electronic traction control steps in to take over for your overly ambitious Mario Andretti-like behavior.

Whichever model you pick, Dodge allows you to tailor it specifically to meet you or your family's needs. Options include a power sunroof, side-impact airbags, leather seating, cruise control, premium audio with 6-disc in-dash CD changer and alloy wheels.

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