Used 1997 Dodge Intrepid Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1997

Few changes as first-generation Intrepid enters final year of production. A Sport Group including the 3.5-liter V6 engine is optional on base models, which also get an upgraded cassette stereo standard. Bolt-on wheel covers debut, and a new exterior color is introduced. Automatic transmissions get new software.

Vehicle overview

Until the Intrepid was introduced in 1992, no domestic manufacturer had posed much of a threat to the best-selling Ford Taurus in the midsize family sedan category. While the Taurus remained a strong seller, the Intrepid, with its good looks and commodious cabin, carved a niche for itself on this crowded and scarred battleground.

This year marks the final selling season for the first-generation Intrepid. An all new car is due in 1998, therefore changes to the current model are few. Base models can be equipped with a Sport Group that includes the 3.5-liter V6 engine from the ES model. An upgraded cassette stereo is installed in base cars, and the sharp bolt-on wheel covers that should have debuted in 1996 finally make it to production. Automatic transmissions have new software controlling shifts, and Deep Amethyst Pearl paint is the single fresh color for 1997.

The top-of-the-line ES is our favorite Intrepid. It goes, stops and turns as well as some lighter and seemingly more nimble cars. Inside, the ES has seating for five, a floor-mounted shifter, and sporty black-on-white gauges. Underhood, an optional 214-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 powers the front wheels with alacrity. Unfortunately, a loaded ES tips the scales in the high 20s, but for that kind of money you get leather seats, a CD player, a sunroof and a host of other luxury conveniences. Base model Intrepids eschew the ES's handsome trimming and aluminum wheels, but retain the fundamentals that make this sedan so good.

Will the Intrepid remain competitive against the Ford Taurus and the smooth new Toyota Camry? Time will tell. If interior space is your number-one priority in a sedan, the Intrepid is hard to beat. This popular segment of the market is saturated with excellent cars though, so do some comparison shopping before settling on the big Dodge.

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.