What's New for 1997
Plymouth is inching the Breeze up-market in both price and content. This year sees a fairly sizable price hike and the addition of luxury options such as an in-dash CD changer. Changes to the standard equipment list bring a nicer center console, improved basic stereos and increased-flow rear-seat heater ducts.
Plymouth finally got a replacement for the Acclaim during the first quarter of 1996. The Breeze, a decontented version of the Dodge Stratus and Chrysler Cirrus, is poised to lead Plymouth's revival as Chrysler's value brand by offering a stylish, roomy, four-door sedan with a decent level of standard equipment for a low price.
The Breeze comes standard with air conditioning, dual airbags, tilt steering, rear window defroster, remote trunk release and a folding rear seat. The short options list includes antilock brakes, power accessories, an integrated child safety seat, and a choice of nice stereos.
Power comes from a 132-horsepower, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine lifted from the smaller Neon sedan. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a four-speed automatic is optional. There are no other engine choices.
Breeze differs from the Stratus and Cirrus primarily in front/rear appearance and available equipment. Rather bland in appearance, an egg crate grille dominates the frontal styling of this new mid-size sedan. Prices are start just under $15,000.
Last year, the Breeze was a real value, giving buyers a mid-size car space on a small car budget. We have seen quite a few of them on the road, however, and think that their popularity has given Chrysler Corp. the confidence to bump their price. While it is still a nice, comfortable car, it's no longer an exceptional value.