Used 2002 Chrysler Prowler Convertible Review

A cool-looking homage to a '32 Ford roadster, but where's the V8 and manual tranny?




what's new

One new color, Inca Gold, is added.

vehicle overview

We applaud Chrysler for bringing unique and exciting concept cars to production. Who would've thought a dozen years ago that we'd see the likes of the Viper, PT Cruiser and this two-seat retro roadster, the Prowler, in new car showrooms?

As in the past, the Prowler still gets all the looks, even though it debuted back in 1997. And not much has changed since then, save for increased power and various color schemes. As a result, we have the same kudos and complaints that we had before.

This modern-day hot rod continues to cruise the strip with a 253-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 hooked up to a four-speed AutoStick transmission. And while we agree that's a healthy amount of power (in fact, only 7 ponies shy of a Mustang GT's 4.6-liter V8), purists (like us) would like to see something along the lines of a 383 Magnum under the hood sending power to a five-speed manual gearbox. Oh well, we can dream.

Prowler's underbody hardware is impressive. Aluminum is used for the body, engine, frame and suspension components, contributing to the Prowler's relatively light weight of less than 2,900 pounds. That's not much more than a Neon. Other tech goodies include 20-inch rear wheels (17s are used up front) that afford that nose-down attitude so necessary for a retro-rod look, and a rear transaxle setup for the automatic gearbox that helps balance the weight on the front and rear axles for better handling.

Comfort is not one of the Prowler's strengths; the price one pays for profiling is a stiff ride and a snug cockpit with limited foot room. If you have a need to blast the Beach Boys while cruising Main Street, the Prowler's Infinity sound system is ready with more than 300 watts of power.

And that pretty much sums it up. This is a fun car geared toward extroverts who may not be true car enthusiasts but want to look and act the part.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.