Used Chrysler Crossfire review: 2003-2009
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Chrysler Crossfire's shape is like nothing else on the market. Just look at that huge grille, the strakes on the long bonnet, the vents on the front guards and the stubby cabin. Then let your eyes run back to the down-curving rear. Simply stunning and real head-turners even years after the Crossfire first hit the road.
The Crossfire is very well priced on the used-car market as it didn’t sell all that well when new or as a used car. That situation may change as some of the radical styling features have since come into vogue on recent model cars. No promises, though...
Chrysler Crossfire's is interesting in using larger wheels at the rear than the front. The resultant chassis balance is impressive and under hard driving the car remains safe and neutral. This is a genuine sports machine that is a delight to hammer hard over twisty roads, with plenty of grip and nicely predictable handling. Yet it remains surprisingly comfortable for a car with sports suspension.
Most of the Crossfire's out-of-sight components are shared with an older Mercedes SLK roadster. At the launch of the Crossfire in November 2003, Chrysler told us, “everything you can see and touch is unique to the Crossfire.” However, some of the minor controls looked rather familiar to us. Crossfire costs considerably less than the equivalent Mercs. The similarity in under-the-skin parts was due to American Chrysler and German Mercedes being in partnership at one time. They have since divorced and these days Chrysler is controlled by Fiat.
There’s yet another German connection in the Chrysler Crossfire. It was built in Germany by Karmann. The Crossfire has full leather trim, power seats with heating, an Infinity Modulus stereo system, dual-zone air-conditioning and cruise control as well as a quite a few other comfort features - this is far from being a stripped down sports special.
Seating is strictly for two and there’s a reasonable amount of cabin stowage and a good sized boot, but the stylish rear end of the Crossfire means the opening of the rear hatch is very skinny. The Crossfire coupe was joined by a roadster convertible in August 2004. Its cabin is on the tight side for anyone much over average height and the seat backrests are very limited in the angle to which they can be reclined. But the styling works beautifully and many feel it’s even more visually striking than the coupe.
Chrysler Crossfire comes with a 3.2-litre V6 that drives the rear wheels. Basically, it’s a Mercedes-Benz unit and is seen on a number of models from the German marque and has proven powerful and reliable over the years.
A high-performance model, the Crossfire SRT-6 was introduced in June 2005 and sold in both coupe and roadster convertible format. The 3.2-litre, supercharged V6 engine providing an extra 53 per cent more power and 30 per cent added torque over that of the standard versions, at 246 kW and 420 Nm respectively. The torque boost is available all the way from 2300 rpm through to 6200 rpm, providing nearly instant acceleration from almost any speed. Then whine from the blower adds to the driving pleasure.
To match the extra grunt, the SRT-6’s all-wheel independent suspension has increased spring rates and performance-tuned dampers. The internally-vented brake discs also are larger. Aerodynamics have also been given an upgrade, with a deeper front spoiler and a fixed rear wing to reduce lift at high speed. The SRT-6’s ride is rather firm so may not appeal to those looking for a cruiser rather than a bruiser.
Most Crossfires sold in Australia have a five-speed automatic transmission, but our preference is the slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox. Despite its more sporting nature, the SRT-6 versions of the Crossfire do not have the option of a manual-shift transmission. Standard fare is the five-speed automatic.
Chrysler is well established in Australia. As mentioned, these days it’s under the control of Fiat and that company is putting a lot of effort into marketing all its cars in this country. There are Chrysler dealers in many areas, though, naturally, there’s a concentration in major cities. Some Mercedes dealers still have expertise in Chrysler, perhaps talk to them and ask if they still carry spare parts for the Crossfire.
These are relatively complex cars and really should only be repaired by professionals, though the simple, non-safety items can be worked on by good amateur mechanics. Insurance charges are quite high, which hardly comes as a surprise, and we notice a fair bit of difference between companies. So it’s worthwhile shopping around. Be sure to go into all the details so the comparison is a fair one.
Chrysler Crossfire was discontinued in Australia early in 2009 and hasn’t been replaced at this stage.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Crossfire is certainly a car that demands a professional inspection before you hand over your hard earned.
Signs of hard driving aren’t that common in sports models these days, as many are only used as attractive cruisers. Beware of one with any signs of competition use, such as a rollcage, extra instruments or race seats.
Check for crash damage by sighting along panels for signs of a rippled finish. Also look for colours that don’t quite match and for tiny specks of overspray on non-painted surfaces.
Check the floor of a convertible for signs of dampness and/or rust.
Other than that, the car is well built and seldom has routine problems. Do the usual checks on engine starting and smoothness and make sure the gearbox or auto work correctly.
CAR BUYING TIP
Even if you’re looking to buy an exciting sportscar, do everything you can to let your head rule your heart during the buying process.
|Year||Price From||Price To|
Range and Specs
|(base)||3.2L, ULP, 5 SP SEQ AUTO||$8,000 – 12,320||2003 Chrysler Crossfire 2003 (base) Pricing and Specs|
Lowest price, based on third party pricing data