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Chrysler Crossfire Convertible Roadster 2004 review

While the rest of the mob is looking pretty much the same, the American car manufacturer has followed a different path, with a stable of "retro" design models.

The latest car to emerge from the behind this barn door is the Chrysler Crossfire roadster, a soft-topped, two seat rear-wheel drive sports car.

Based on the Benz SLK (both companies are owned by DaimlerChrysler), it's a fabulous looking thing, with classic sports car lines – long bonnet, short upraised rump and twin centre mounted exhausts framed by massive 19 inch rear wheels and 235/55 rubber.

It's enough to take your breath away and because there is nothing else even remotely like the Crossfire on the road it draws attention wherever it goes.

If you want to be noticed, then count on it in the Crossfire.

For some reason the coupe version of the Crossfire has not been selling as well as expected.

But it's hard to imagine the gorgeous roadster befalling the same fate, not when it looks this good, has a 3.2-litre Benz engine, sits on Benz running gear – and is available for much less than an SLK.

The heart of the matter is a 3.2-litre V6 that delivers 160kW of power and 310Nm of torque at 3000rpm.

It has been superceded by a larger 3.5-litre power plant in Benz world, but it remains very capable of catapulting the car from 0-100km/h in a rapid 6.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 242km/h.

Standard transmission is a five-speed tipshift unit but a six-speed manual is available at no extra cost.

Our test vehicle was the auto finished in metallic silver.

We found the car a little doey in full auto mode, slow to respond even when kicking down but this was easily rectified by nudging the stick left or right to change gear manually.

Some drivers may even find the slow response of the auto more to their liking as it does not pin you to the back of the seat when all you want to do is go a little faster.

The black fabric roof is relative easy to operate, but it must first be released by a lever, so cannot be considered one-touch.

We would have liked to have seen at least another layer of fabric in the roof to better insulate the cabin from road noise.

There is still some cabin turbulence even with a wind deflector fitted and tall occupants can expect some wind buffeting.

Handling is excellent with high levels of grip and a decent set of stoppers to match the car's performance.

Like the coupe the roadster features a speed- sensitive rear spoiler which deploys automatically when the vehicle reaches 100km/h.

The roadster comes fully-equipped with four airbags, heated and power operated leather seats seats, climate controlled air, power windows, cruise control, ABS brakes, traction control and electronic stability control (ESP).

Missing is a comprehensive trip computer but the 240-watt six speed sound system which features dual subwoofers is one of the better units that we have tested.

Fuel economy is rated at 10.1L/100km for the auto with premium unleaded, but we got about 500km from the 60-litre tank or about 12.0L/100km.

Boot space with the roof down is tiny with a reinflation kit provided instead of a spare tyre.

Surprisingly, there is not a cupholder to be found.

Chrysler Crossfire Roadster is priced from $75,990.

Pricing guides

Based on third party pricing data
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Range and Specs

Roadster 3.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $8,900 – 13,420 2004 Chrysler Crossfire 2004 Roadster Pricing and Specs
(base) 3.2L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $8,000 – 12,320 2004 Chrysler Crossfire 2004 (base) Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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