Used 2005 Chrysler Crossfire Convertible
Used 2005 Chrysler Crossfire Convertible for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
DaimlerChrysler's first attempt at infusing Chrysler products with Mercedes underpinnings and heritage results in a fun-to-drive coupe and roadster.
Chrysler proudly unveiled the Crossfire concept car at the 2001 North American International Auto Show and after receiving favorable reaction from the automotive press and consumers the new sport coupe was put on the fast track to production. Chrysler's engineering team got busy immediately, and the production version was unveiled at the 2002 Los Angeles Auto Show. Reaping the benefits of its Mercedes-Benz corporate ties, the Crossfire is the first true Mercedes-Chrysler collaborative effort, featuring 39 percent Mercedes-Benz technology. That figure alone should catch established import buyers' attention, along with the fact that the Crossfire is based on its corporate cousin -- the SLK roadster. The Crossfire name is derived from one of its many distinctive design cues -- the character line that runs along the Crossfire's sides from front to rear. The "X" that is created when the line crosses to a negative formation as it moves through the car's rear fender is the "cross." Other interesting design elements that enhance the car's windswept look are the six "speed" lines that run the length of the car's hood, and the center spine line that moves over the length of not only the exterior, but through the interior as well. Interior lines were set to focus attention down the road, and the distinctive center line even cuts through the center console. After driving the Crossfire, we came away wishing it had more low-end torque, slightly better steering feel, less interior plastic and better ergonomics in the cabin, but we can't deny how much fun the car is on twisty roads, or how upscale it feels when cruising along coastal highways. A common complaint among early buyers was the Crossfire's steep price. Chrysler has addressed this for 2005 by adding a reduced-content base model with a lower sticker price. Rather than make all the deleted features optional, the loaded-up "base" model of last year becomes the Crossfire Limited this year. If the coupe isn't quite stylish enough for you, be sure to take a look at the sexy new Crossfire Roadster. The roadster is available in base and Limited models, both featuring a standard power cloth top. So despite all the corporate infighting, quarterly red ink and lingering lawsuits from angry stockholders, this whole "merger of equals" thing between Chrysler and German automaker Daimler just might pan out. And even if it doesn't, the Crossfire is proof that we'll see some interesting product in the meantime. Need something pretty to look at and fun to drive? The Crossfire satisfies both requirements in a package that's considerably more affordable than its European competitors.
2005 Chrysler Crossfire configurations
The Crossfire is available in coupe and convertible body styles, both of which come in either base or Limited trim. Base models are available only with a manual transmission, and come with such features as stability control; dual-zone air conditioning; a four-speaker CD stereo; cloth upholstery; a height-adjustable driver seat; a leather-wrapped steering wheel; power windows, mirrors and locks; and on convertibles, a power top with defrostable rear glass. Limited models add an eight-speaker, 240-watt Infinity stereo system, power-adjustable leather seats with heaters, more sound insulation, a tire-pressure display and various upgraded trim pieces. The standard wheel/tire arrangement calls for 18s in front (225/40ZR Michelin Pilots) and 19s in back (sized 255/35); buyers can get all-season tires as a low-cost option. Also optional is a DVD-based navigation system on Limited models.
Performance & mpg
All models are powered by a Mercedes-engineered 3.2-liter V6 that produces 215 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque. Base models are available only with a six-speed manual transmission. Limited buyers have their choice of the slick six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic.
Standard safety equipment includes four-wheel antilock disc brakes with BrakeAssist, traction and stability control and side airbags that protect passengers' heads and torsos. No official crash test data is available.
The Crossfire coupe and convertible are both quick but certainly not fast. Low-end torque is somewhat lacking, with most of the usable power available between 3,000 and 5,000 rpm. The delivery is smooth throughout, however, and the slick-shifting six-speed makes it fun to mix up the gears in order to keep the engine on the boil. The Crossfire's stiff body structure and oversized tires give it crisp handling characteristics when exercised on back roads. We'd like a little more communication from the steering, but as it is, the Crossfire is a delight to drive. And on those occasions when you merely want to cruise down the highway, the Crossfire obliges with a smooth and quiet ride.
If you're considering a Crossfire for reasons beyond pure performance, you'll be pleasantly surprised by its comfortable and quiet cabin. Entry and exit take some getting used to because of the low roof that curves down to meet the side windows, but once inside, headroom is plentiful due to the car's domed shape. Because of the car's swooping shape, rearward visibility is seriously limited, especially in the coupe. The handsome two-tone cockpit is accented with metallic trim and certainly calls to mind its Mercedes-Benz heritage. Peer closer, however, and you'll see that most of the trim is merely silver plastic; the brushed metal shift knob for the six-speed is a notable exception. Moreover, some of the controls such as the radio's numerous unlabeled buttons are difficult to use. The coupe's rear hatch won't hold more than a couple of suitcases, but then, such is the reality when choosing to drive a sporty two-seater.
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
This is a great time to be a convertible enthusiast. The array of open-air automobiles is the best it has been in decades. And one category in particular, the two-seat roadster, made a strong comeback during the mid-'90s with most entries coming from Germany. The Audi TT, BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class and Porsche Boxster are a tantalizing quartet offered up by the Fatherland. And for 2005, a Yank jumps into the fray.
Actually, the Chrysler Crossfire isn't exactly a red-blooded American car, as it is a product of the DaimlerChrysler joint venture. This means that the Crossfire benefits from both German engineering (courtesy of Mercedes-Benz) and American style. Many of the Crossfire's components (such as the 3.2-liter, 215-horsepower V6) are sourced from Mercedes, while others (such as the body design) were born in the U.S.A.
When we heard that Chrysler was going to make a convertible version of the Crossfire, we were of two minds. On one hand, we think drop tops are great, so why should the Germans have a monopoly on midpriced roadsters? On the other, we were wondering design-wise how a car that debuted as a coupe with a fastback roofline would translate into a roadster. It turns out that we needn't have fretted; the designers and engineers did a fantastic job with the Crossfire Roadster.
With the top down, the lines of the Crossfire flow elegantly through the rear deck, which incorporates a pair of head fairings and "sport bars." A tapered rear end, while not quite a boat tail design, adds an elegant finish to the Crossfire. Up front, the Roadster shares its aggressive grille and headlight treatment with the coupe. Even with the roof up, the Crossfire Roadster is still a looker, as the cloth top smoothly slopes down to the car's body. But be careful when parallel parking with the top up, as rearward visibility is quite limited -- the back window is so small that it reminded us of an old Lincoln Continental's oval opera window.
Dropping that power top is a cinch: 1) pull the center-mounted handle down from the windshield header and give it a twist (which releases the catch and lowers the windows), 2) push the handle up about eight inches, 3) press a button on the center console and watch the top fold down under the power tonneau cover. This electrohydraulic choreography takes only 22 seconds and because of the automatic tonneau cover, there's no need to thumb wrestle with a fussy boot to protect the top when it's down. Like the coupe, a rear spoiler deploys at speed (or at the press of a console-mounted button) and big wheels (18 inches in front, 19 inches in back) are stuffed into the wheel wells.
For those familiar with the Crossfire coupe, the cockpit of the Roadster holds few surprises. Except for the top (which, unlike some of its competition is fully lined inside), the Roadster's interior sports the same "spine" theme in which a central ridge that originates on the hood is carried through the dash, center console and even the gearshift knob before it emerges onto the rear deck. The wide seats proved comfortable and thanks to firm side bolstering, held us in place while cornering.
There will be three Crossfire Roadsters offered -- base (which comes with dual-zone climate control, a power-operated top, ABS, traction control and stability control); Limited (which adds leather/heated seating, fog lamps, a universal garage door control, special luggage and a tire pressure monitor); and SRT-6, the hot-rod of the family that features a supercharged version of the V6 that kicks out 330 horses. Pricing will range from $34,960 for the base Roadster to $49,995 for the SRT-6. The first two trims offer buyers a choice of a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic with manual-shift capability, while the SRT-6 comes solely with a massaged five-speed automatic.
The Mercedes-sourced 3.2-liter V6 used in base and Limited trim levels is rated at 215-horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque. We drove both manual and automatic transmission versions of the car and were generally impressed with overall performance of the powertrain. Although a little soft off the line, the V6 furnishes perky response once the tach's needle swings past 3,000 rpm and packs a strong passing-power punch. As far as the transmissions go, the six-speed's gearshift was precise, if a bit rubbery-feeling. Although our time with an automatic was limited, we noted quick, lurch-free changes up and down. Hauling down the Crossfire in fine and confidence-inspiring fashion, the powerful binders felt as capable as Chrysler claimed (the company states that 60-to-0 stops take just 115 feet, which jibes with a 117-foot effort we got from a coupe we tested previously).
Blessed with quick steering (although lacking somewhat in feel), sticky tires, a flat cornering attitude and a supple suspension that soaks up the bumps without feeling floaty, the Crossfire Roadster also impressed us with its structural integrity. We detected virtually no cowl or body shudder when we purposely ran the car over the most broken-up pavement we could find.
On this press event, Chrysler provided the Crossfire's chief competitors in the form of the Nissan 350Z Roadster, Porsche Boxster and Audi TT Roadster. We thought that said a lot about how confident the company must be with its product; this isn't common practice. We took those other cars for quick loops after our day with the Crossfire, and as expected, they all had their strengths and weaknesses. The Z is a blast to drive, but the bland interior and unfinished underside of the ragtop can leave you cold. The Boxster is also a lot of fun and sounds great, too, but it has a sticker that can quickly become alarming when just a handful of options are ticked off. And the TT is solid and artfully crafted, but some may argue that it's getting dated and isn't as sporty as the others. Within that group, we feel that the Chrysler made a fine showing for itself. The Crossfire provides generous amounts of performance, style and comfort, not to mention proof that the Daimler and Chrysler merger can indeed bear very tasty fruit.
Used 2005 Chrysler Crossfire Convertible Overview
The Used 2005 Chrysler Crossfire Convertible is offered in the following styles: SRT-6 2dr Convertible (3.2L 6cyl S/C 5A), Limited 2dr Convertible (3.2L 6cyl 6M), and 2dr Convertible (3.2L 6cyl 6M).
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Should I lease or buy a 2005 Chrysler Crossfire?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.