What's New for 2001
Get your Plymouth Prowler while you can. After 2001 it becomes the Chrysler Prowler. Sure, it will be the identical car, but that powerful Plymouth Prowler alliteration will be gone forever! You can get these in Copper Metallic and a silver/black combination this year. New adjustable damper shocks are offered as standard equipment.
Chrysler has taken the drawing board directly into the manufacturing plant. The Prowler is simply a concept car that has magically seen the light of day, and though it's not the most impressive car performance-wise, it is a most impressive display of Chrysler's commitment to fun.
Modeled after traditional hot rods of the 1950s, the Prowler certainly looks the part, despite the federally mandated but truly dopey-looking gray front bumpers. Painted in a variety of colors, including new copper and a silver/black combination for 2001, Prowler is equipped with massive 20-inch chrome wheels in back (fronts are 17s). With its extremely high beltline, you'll feel like you're treading water in a pool, and with the top up, visibility is a joke. Trunk space is even more amusing if you've got more than a briefcase to haul around.
The retro aluminum bodywork is wrapped around an all-aluminum frame supported by an aluminum four-wheel independent suspension. New this year are adjustable dampers that let you soften the ride; a welcome feature, as this roadster tends to ride harshly. Lousy leather-wrapped seats don't promote comfort over the long haul, and Chrysler parts bin bits combine with questionable ergonomics (center-mounted gauges?) to remind you that form definitely takes precedence over function in this vehicle. And if the styling isn't attracting enough attention, you can crank up the 320-watt Infinity sound system, with speed-compensated volume control, to make sure everyone notices you.
Prowler's powertrain somewhat disappoints. A stout 3.5-liter SOHC V6 engine, capable of producing 253 horsepower and 255 foot-pounds of torque, powers this Plymouth from rest to 60 mph in 6 seconds, but without sufficient exhaust rumble. It's mated to Chrysler's lame AutoStick automanual transmission, which is certainly no substitute for a real manual gearbox. So, no V8 and no stick: if this constitutes the hardware of the modern hot rod, we'll take a pass. The Prowler offers better handling than you might think, but the comparably priced Corvette will wax it while offering superior comfort and amenities.
This car will turn heads, even in exotic car-jaded towns like Los Angeles or Palm Beach. If you're not a celebrity but you want to feel like one, here's the recipe: buy a Plymouth Prowler. Drop the top. Cruise up and down your local strip. Wave at the gawking crowd. Just don't try to drag race any real muscle cars.