Used 2002 Dodge Intrepid Review

Edmunds expert review

You can't deny it, the Intrepid is a big car. It looks big, it seats five in relative comfort, yet surprisingly, it doesn't drive like a large car. And with a choice of three well-equipped modes, the Intrepid can serve as anything from a stylish family sedan to a bargain sport sedan.

What's new for 2002

A few functional upgrades take place. The 3.2-liter V6 is dropped as the 3.5-liter engine becomes an option on the ES model, a new SXT model debuts, sporting the R/T's higher-output engine, and the antilock brakes now have Electronic Brakeforce Distribution.

Vehicle overview

Family-sedan buyers typically want four things in a car: room, style, safety and reliability. Dodge delivers all of this and more in the Intrepid. Equipped with a huge interior and trunk, and proving itself dependable over the long haul, the Dodge Intrepid represents an excellent argument to avoid cookie-cutter Accords and Camrys for a car with personality.

With its cab-forward design and gracefully sweeping lines, the Intrepid is a combination of space efficiency and attractive looks. Even though this car's design is now five years old, it still looks fresh.

The sporty theme of the Intrepid's exterior is carried through to its cabin with a clean cockpit-style layout and sweeping dash. The low placement of the stereo and its fussy controls show that the aged ergonomics leave a bit to be desired, but plenty of room for five adults makes that a petty annoyance at best.

The Intrepid lineup consists of base SE, mid-level ES and road-burner R/T. The SE is fitted with a 2.7-liter 200-horsepower V6; air conditioning; four-wheel disc brakes; power windows, locks and mirrors; cruise control; and stereo with cassette player. Moving up to the ES brings antilock brakes (now with electronic brake force distribution that apportions maximum braking power to the wheels with the most grip), foglamps, alloy wheels, power driver seat, keyless entry and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Newly optional for the ES is the bigger (3.5-liter) V6 packing 234 horsepower.

Step up to the SXT and you'll get more power (244 ponies) from its standard 3.5-liter V6, 17-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, CD player and leather wrapping for the steering wheel and shifter.

The high-performance R/T adds even more serious hardware, such as a sport suspension, free-flow exhaust and upgraded brakes, to the SXT's impressive features list.

All Intrepids have a four-speed automatic mated to the V6 engines, and this year, only the R/T has the AutoStick automanual gearbox. The AutoStick allows manual-style gearchanging, but it will still shift automatically, if need be, to avoid over-revving the engine or starting out in a tall gear should the driver forget to change up or down.

If interior space is your number one priority in a sedan, the Intrepid is hard to beat. Rated a large car by the EPA, Intrepid competes with smaller models in price. Room is ample for five adults, and for a family of four, this Dodge seems downright cavernous. It's almost limo-like.

The popular mid-priced sedan segment of the market is saturated with excellent cars, but Dodge makes a strong case for itself. The Intrepid, with its good looks, stable ride and commodious cabin, has carved a niche for itself on this crowded and scarred battleground.

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.