What's New for 2001
An optional luxury package includes automatic adjusting side mirrors, electrochromic driver-side mirror, walnut wood trim and an overhead console-mounted vehicle information display. There's an additional electrical power outlet in the center console, an overhead console with a driver information display, standard steering wheel-mounted stereo controls and three new interior colors. The LHS' 17-inch wheels now come in a Sparkle Silver finish while aluminum replaces the chrome window molding trim and two new exterior colors, Black and Deep Sapphire Blue Pearl Coat, further dress up this upscale sedan. For safety's sake, an internal trunk release and a center shoulder belt for the rear seat come standard while side airbags are now optional for front passengers.
So you call yourself a luxury buyer? Then you've stopped at the right place. The Chrysler LHS, with its fluid lines that echo those of its stablemates, is a full-size sedan that is both affordable and easy on the eyes. It's built on the same platform as the Chrysler 300M, but the LHS is longer and has more luggage space than its sibling. It's got cavernous amounts of space both front and rear, and your in-laws won't find too much to complain about when you tote them for a Sunday jaunt.
If you're torn between the two, keep in mind that the LHS is more of a road pillow - its four-wheel independent suspension is tuned for leisurely driving, whereas the 300M's optional European-tuned suspension is all about performance.
Unfortunately, the LHS' softer suspension results in some body roll while cornering, and although minor steering correction is required, we have to admit it still boasts agile handling despite a front-wheel-drive setup. It's outfitted with a four-speed overdrive automatic transaxle, and Chrysler does not offer an AutoStick into the equation (it gives you manual control of your automatic tranny). While the AutoStick isn't a substitute for having a real manual transmission, since it shifts itself if it deems you too lax, Chrysler would sure score brownie points for making it available, at least as an option to consumers.
The LHS is powered by the same all-aluminum, 253-horsepower, 3.5-liter, SOHC 24-valve V6 that gives life to both the 300M and the Prowler. Though it makes 39 more horsepower than the last-generation LHS, we'd love to see what a V8 could do to this car. Still, 253 horsepower competes well against the output of luxury cars like the Oldsmobile Aurora and Lincoln Continental, both equipped with eight-cylinder engines. It's both quiet and refined, and gives spirited performance.
Among the lavish standards are 17-inch wheels, heated and leather-trimmed seats, eight-way power front seats, and Indiglo-style gauges. Keep your eyes bolted to the road while tuning out those insipid morning talk show hosts, thanks to the new steering wheel-mounted audio controls. You'll find the seamless dash with its analog clock to be gentrification-cool. Options include side airbags, real wood trim, and an in-dash four-disc changer.
You'll increasingly find a dearth of full-size American sedans for around 30 grand, but there are still ones that won't make you feel like you've made a compromise. Though the LHS may be a step down in performance from the 300M, it's tough to beat this luxury car with handsome styling and an affordable price.