This has been the most annoying car, I've ever loved. It is the less refined descendant of the Intrepid R/T (made 1999-2002). - My wife had it, first ... We got it in Texas, with 90,000 miles ... The person who had it before us did NOT take good care of it. So, I didn't give it a complete `crap` rating on reliability, because I know getting a used car your experience is largely dependent how the first owner treated it. This car has the mighty (for the time) 3.5 liter High Output motor, from the Chrysler 300M. Transmission first experienced problems at about 101K miles, a year after we had it ... on a trip from North Carolina to Michigan. In Michigan, at the Service Center symptoms were vague - - they changed the input and output sensors, and cleaned the throttle-body. Rode like a champ, on the way back to NC ... carrying four people. Drove fine, 'till late January the next year ... When the trans failed, with NO warning. Turned out the trans had melted unto itself. A dealership put a new remanned transmission in ... Which to this day doesn't always shift right, from first to second ... But that will be addressed, in time ... with my 100,000 mile warranty. The FAR WORSE problem that acted up, from then forward - to about six months ago - was a pesky misfire that kept happening ... Accompanied by check engine light, and an array of misfire codes. Five service centers, in the Charlotte Metro area tried to deal with this ... All failing, thoroughly. During this time the car gave me 2 years of basic headache, and misery. Then, in March this year Hendrick Chrysler-Jeep Dodge and their lead guy in the service dept, Richmond, solved the issue -- They spotted something that tipped them off it was a situation where the egg before the chicken ... There was nothing wrong with the engine!! And I tell ya at this time I was about to get rid of it ... Just sell it, for cheap. (If you get one of these cars you have to have a good mechanic ... someone who can think outside the box; have a feel for the car .... Not just follow the manual, with engine codes.) .. So, the car needed a new Powertrain Control Module - Because it somehow had the wrong one for the car, in there, and it was MAKING an otherwise normal and healthy engine misfire ... and yell at you, with a blinking check-engine light! ... They put a remanned Intrepid PCM in, and my engine has ran excellent, since. August, a loose v-belt had been causing some engine knock ... I had a local shop tighten it. Problem gone. Now this car is rock solid. .. Rides like a tank, maneuverable for it's size, and boy these cars can book, on the highway. It's the 'Guy Package' - as my wife calls it - Because it has cloth seats, regular primitive dials for the climate control, no trip computer or thermometer for outside temperature ... No leather, or interior door lights like the previous Intrepid R/T came with .... But car HAS the big V6, top-end underpinnings (suspension and brakes) and premium Infinity sound system! CDs sound great, in this car. Wife thinks the above lack of refined items [present on the Intrepid ES] but WITH the powerful engine, and performance suspension makes the car ridiculous. ~ I say it makes it awesome! I got a couple dings painted over, and put some cool rims on it's 16" tires ... The spoiler, which was fading into primer, is now silver again. So, Silver Susan lives! With many people having moved into a Charger, or Chrysler 300 .. I have decided it's a special car, and am going to keep her. I don't mind cloth seats ... though leather is nice. I don't need navigation, or an mp3 center ... The highway mileage is around 26 ... Not bad. And this is a fast large car (0-60 mph in under 7 and 1/2 seconds) .. mainly because it has the engine of the 300M, and many 300 Tourings, and Chargers, on the road - but it weighs less, because of it's lack of a sunroof and complete lack of electronics. If you get one, used - - See if it's had a new timing belt/water pump package ... If not, you'll be getting it done. If it has a good working engine, you can get 280K miles out of it. Avoid the 2.7 liter (could be lucky and get one that's been perfectly taken care of, and it'll go for ya ... But if there's a 3.5 liter available, that's a high-risk\low payoff situation).
I read the other reviews. It sounds like those people got some dodge intrepids that were not taken care of very well. MY dodge intrepid is currently at 310k, and it runs like a champ. No problems, nothing is broken. I did have to take apart the temperature control switch, for the vents. Got it to work again after fixing up a wire that went bad back there, just 1. After i fixed that, my ac and heat started working again. My mom owned the car before me, and took very good care of it. She had my dad replace the water pump, brakes, alternator, battery, and i put new tires on it myself for her, over the 7 years she had it. Thats not bad, over a period of 7 years. I got the car at about 300k, and the only things iv done to it were change the oil and fix the temperature control for the vents, which went out when i was driving it. Havent had any other problems. even at 310k, im still running full on cold ac in the summer, heat when its cold, no problem. IT never overheats, it never dies. This car just keeps going, and i plan to keep maintaining it until who knows how many more miles it could go! Of course if you treat a car like garbage and don't maintain it properly, not keeping fluids and stuff in it or just regular maintenence, its gona fall apart. That is just the way cars are, and how they always will be. The car was treated great before I got it, and as a result it is a great car still.
I was really Leary about buying this car with the reviews some people have posted, but I have already put on close to 300 miles on her with no issues at all with most of it being highway miles. My only disappointment is visibility for backing up as the trunk does set up high. Roomy and comfort, sleek style and comfortable ride. Handles great in the rain. Should I run into issues down the line it will be worth fixing as it is hard to find a gem like this especially with back seat leg room. But I believe with utmost care such as oil changes and things this car will last . I would say the plastic headlight covers are not the greatest with condensation but I had seen what people have done to resolve this issue with great results which is no biggie. Other then that I am very happy and pleased.
My wife bought this car secondhand while we were engaged. Shortly after, I ended up inheriting it after my car died. I would have never gone out of my way to buy an Intrepid, as Chryslers have an iffy reputation for resale. Ours must have been built while the workers were in a good mood, because despite having some odd problems which stem from wonky workmanship, this car has been an absolute tank that keeps going and going and going. At 120K, the 2.7 doesn't leak or burn a drop of oil and still gets me a respectable 23-24 MPG with hard highway driving (I travel for work). At 80 MPH, it passes anything on the highway and climbs hills without losing any momentum. The AC is incredible, and I like the fact that it uses old-school knobs that don't require my attention to operate. The ride is old-school big-car comfy, complete with bench seats and a column shifter. Being a big driver with long legs, I appreciate this vanishing feature greatly. It's not perfect, as the fit-and-finish on this car is spotty. Overall, it's a good looking ride and does it's job very well. I drive HARD for work (about 2,700-3,000 miles per month) and I refuse to have car payments. This ride is a real workhorse.
The Good: Good engine, amazing AC/Heat, thick seats, epic legroom (front and rear), huge trunk, handles well (doesn't feel like the big boat that it is), nice brakes, heavy front-wheel-drive setup makes this a good winter/snow car, great gear ratios for freeway driving, and structurally safe.
The Bad: Interior plastics are classic Mopar junk, door handles break easily on these, driver's window track is broken, CD player skips (the car is old), and the transmission has wonky gearing that favors freeway over city (you have to stomp it around town and gas mileage suffers), and the most insane battery location in the history of cars (you have to remove a tire to get to it).
Overall: Maybe ours is a rare gem, but with proper care and feeding, the Intrepid is a decent secondhand car. Good first car for teenagers/college kids because it's big and safe, but they have a spotty reputation so keep your eyes open.