2005 Chrysler Limited Crossfire Convertible (512)

Overview:
This week I tested the first (for me) 2005 vehicle of the new car year. This is the 2005 Chrysler Crossfire Roadster. I saw it at a car show as a concept before 2004 and as a reality now it is a very capable little car.

The first car that came to mind, as I stepped into it is the Porsche Boxster, even though it is not considered competition in class separated by about $20,000. In two seat cars, however, the Cadillac XLR is my first choice if money were not a consideration. XLR sells for about $75,000.

Staying in class, however, Nissan 350Z is bound to be the leader in sales in this class. It is the most memorable as a car I would own if a two seater were an option.

I like the retractable soft top because of the small surface area a retractable hard top is not necessary. To make it even more appealing, you get a small trunk and the hard tonneau cover conceals an otherwise unsightly rag with all the support struts etc.

Mercedes more expensive SLK has contributed to this Crossfire and it is comforting to know it has such caring siblings and rich parents.

Handling & Performance:

Very good. That means, plenty of power from the V6, exceptional cornering from the surefooted low slung chassis. Friend Merkel refers to this as “Grippy”. Just look at the wheels and performance tires. 225/40ZR 18” in the front and 255/35ZR 19” in the rear. Plus, you sit low like in the Bumper Cars at the fun zone or Fair. This is truly a fun car to drive.

Styling:

Unique is the best word to describe the design. It is surely a standout and no mistaking it. I guess that can be good news or bad news. I suspect most see it as a racy / sporty little roadster. It is. Ex-Chrysler engineer, Merkel Weiss, has a problem with the style in that it will become old and tired. “There are too many angles and too busy. I would smooth it out”. He knows however it has good breeding (MBZ) and is not as unimpressed as he applauds their attempt.

Fit and Finish:

Very good. And the next thought would ordinarily be, “for a Chrysler”. It seems like forever that Chrysler has competed largely on price. And I believe they have fought back boldly and effectively from the first day Lee Iococca took control of a once failing company. But price hadn’t allowed them to make a rock solid car with lots of attention to detail. With the joining together with Mercedes-Benz, Daimler / Chrysler has profoundly influenced the two companies.

Cost:

Influenced by their German partner, Chrysler is demanding more for their product. The base price is a little “Spendy” for a Chrysler at $38,000, but several of the components are taken directly from Mercedes so maybe a quality issue has been solved for good.

Conveniences:

Cruise control is a great feature, but after you drive as many cars as I do, I can say without equivocation that American cars have the best controls for Cruise and are easier to operate. But Daimler / Chrysler has adopted the German design approach and it is not the better for the inclusion. I never have liked the Mercedes control because the lever is placed on the steering column right where you would expect the turn signal to be. No a good placement.

One review I heard about from a friend on the golf course was that the convertible top was difficult at times. Actually the problem would be operator error. I had a similar problem getting the top to go down only to find out the divider in the trunk was not properly set. It separates the cargo from the stowing area for the top. With the top up, that space converts nicely to useable storage space. When the top is up, there is a folding piece that opens up the trunk for more storage. You must be sure that piece is in place properly.

Customer Recommendation:

My choice from the lineup below would be, hands down, the Nissan 350Z in this class.

The Competition:

Crossfire Roadster $29-49,000, Volvo C70 $40-42,000, Mazda RX 8 $25-27,000, Nissan 350Z $26-36,000, Audi A-4 $26-44,000, Audi TT $33-43,000, BMW Z4 $34-41,000, BMW 3-Series Sport Wagon $31-33,000, Infiniti G35 $28-33,000, Honda S 2000 $32,800, Mitsubishi Eclipse $18-29,000.

Good News:

Nice handling, responsive V6 for the power you want, Mercedes Benz influence and components.

Bad News:

Difficult entry and exit, especially for a lady with a skirt. I didn’t try on the skirt but I’ve watched with interest how the ladies negotiate such ungraceful situations. Long clutch travel, firm suspension and questions as to the reliability of convertible top actuation.

Standard Equipment:

3.2 liter 229 horsepower V6 engine, 6-speed manual trans, dual front and side airbags, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction control, ESP (Electronic Stability Control Program), tire pressure monitoring display, tear window defroster on convertible top, dual zone climate control, power and heated leather high back seats, power windows and locks, security alarm, cruise control, telescoping steering column, lockable console, stereo with CD player, 6 speakers that will jar your eye teeth and rattle your brain, power convertible top, fog lamps, power heated fold away mirrors, rear active spoiler.

Gas Stats:

17 City and 25 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $39,170.

 

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com

Copyright © 2004 – An Automotive Love Affair

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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