Pros: Room; Style; Power; Value; Fuel Economy
Cons: Brakes; Odd Maintenance Schedule
We recently purchased a 1997 Dodge Intrepid Sport and have been amazed by how many things this car does right. There is more than ample power for virtually any situation you can get yourself into, there's plenty of room for a family of 4 and all their luggage and the ride & handling is simply amazing.
On long trips, the power driver's seat is very comfortable and easy to get comfortable in. The front passenger seat is a little below the driver's seat in comfort though, mainly due to the lack of power adjustability. I am 6'2" and I find that the back seat has more room then I need and they are also very comfortable.
Be it winter or summer, the temperature inside the car is always right. The air conditioner does a great job of keeping us cool during the summer and it doesn't affect power or gas mileage as much as most other cars. The heater and defrosters are also very powerful, never taking more then a minute to get up to a comfortable temperature or to clear the windows.
On the highway wind noise is low, even at speeds where you would lose your licence. And when driven conservatively this car regularly gets 28 MPG on the highway. The gas mileage is quite impressive for a car of this size and with such a powerful engine.
On two lane backroads the car stays where you put it and stays remarkably flat thru fast turns. It never feels like it is going to lose control until you pass the rather high limit of the suspension. It handles better then almost any other passenger sedan in its class.
The only real downside of this car are the brakes, they are adequate but not powerful enough for the sporty nature of this car.
The car has only been in the garage once for something other then scheduled maintenance. The engine was running rough and was lacking power. It turns out one of the spark plugs we're cracked. We decided to replace them all along with the spark plug wires and haven't had any other problems since.
Some people may be worried about the questionable reliability of Intrepids. Just like any other car, there are some bad examples that came off the assembly line. For one, my grand-father bought a 1993 Intrepid new and drove it for 6 years before trading it in. He never had any problems with it, the only time it was ever in a garage was for scheduled maintenance. Also, a close friend of mine had a 1996 Intrepid for 3 years with over 130 000 miles on the odometer and he only had one minor problem with the computer which was fixed without any problem.