Intrepid and Concorde Benchmarking

68 total-vehicle and vehicle-system target areas were established to define the character of the cars and to delight the customer. Objectives were shaded to reflect the individual character of each vehicle (Dodge vs Chrysler, Concorde vs 300M vs LHS). 296 Product Excellence targets were also established to increase the focus on ergonomics and the refinement of controls, switches, instrumentation, and body hardware.

3.3 liter V6 for Dodge IntrepidThe program used benchmarking to assess and rank key aspects of competitive vehicles and to establish fit, finish and body surface quality objectives. From that assessment, the capabilities of each car line in these areas were established and ranked on the basis of customer expectations and resource availability. Benchmark vehicles having similar construction were assessed to determine their technical efficiency. For example, cars with longitudinal, front-wheel drive power trains were evaluated for engine mount and power train noise, vibration and harshness characteristics.

For Intrepid and Concorde, the following benchmark vehicles, which are different from the marketing target vehicles, were used to establish functional performance criteria:

  • Toyota Camry
  • Ford Taurus
  • Chevrolet Lumina
  • Honda Accord
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Infiniti Q45, J30, I30
  • Mazda Millenia
  • Lexus LS 400
  • BMW 740i
  • Oldsmobile LSS
  • Buick Park Avenue
  • 1993-97 Chrysler LH series


The 1998 Concorde interior was 2.5 inches (64 mm) longer aft of the front seat, making its rear seat as roomy as that of the 1997 Chrysler LHS. Both manual and power seat tracks had 8.7 inches (220 mm) of longitudinal adjustment.

Lowering Concorde and Intrepid 0.5 inch and moving the windshield header rearward 0.62 inch (16 mm) made the appearance sleeker. To maintain head clearance, the front seating position was lowered 0.25 inch (7 mm) and both the seats and the pedals were moved rearward 0.5 in. (13 mm). This also placed the pedals in line with the wheel houses, while providing more left-foot room for a more comfortable driving position. Concorde and Intrepid trunks were both larger and had more useable space than in 1997. Slim center and rear pillars provided wide door openings, particularly in the rear, for easy entry and exit.

Power trains

Both new engines provided increased specific output-power and torque per unit of displacement-while maintaining or increasing acceleration. Both engines were structurally stiffer, stronger, and more refined than their predecessors to make them run smoother and quieter. Both had platinum-tipped spark plugs and coil-on-plug ignition systems to provide 100,000-mile scheduled tune-up intervals.


Refinement of the steering system, suspension systems and tires enhancde steering, handling and ride while substantially reducing noise, vibration, and harshness.

Fuel Economy

The 1998 Concorde and Intrepid provided better fuel economy than their predecessors, thanks to:

  • More efficient engines
  • Optimized vehicle structure and use of aluminum to cut weight
  • Reduced parasitic losses from wind resistance, tires, and brake drag

Electrical/Electronic Systems

A "battery saver" system turned off exterior and interior courtesy lamps if accidentally left on, to prevent discharging the battery. A starter override system prevented starter operation when the engine was running. Enhanced power train electronic system capabilities helped assure mobility.

Body Exterior and Systems

The body structure was substantially stiffer than previous models for enhanced interior quietness.

Larger, quad halogen bulb headlamps gave Concorde and Intrepid significantly improved lighting performance.

Aerodynamic development of the body and related systems significantly improved windshield wiper and washer performance. Body-mounted windshield washer nozzles with six individual washer jets (three per side) provided full glass coverage. One-piece, die-cast window opening moldings provided world-class fit and finish.

Interior Features

The following interior features were new or improved:

  • Front cup holders provided increased versatility (they flipped out from a center console)
  • All-new seats provided increased comfort and support
  • A new windshield defrosting system cleared the glass more quickly and more completely than the prior system
  • New radios provided easily understandable features and controls
  • Radio and HVAC controls had the same appearance and feel
  • The driver's floor mat included a tie-down hook to hold it in place


  • The column-mounted multi-function switch stalk was raised slightly and its graphics were rotated toward the driver to improve visibility through the steering wheel
  • The floor console armrest was raised 1.2 inches (30 mm) and the leading edge was slightly forward of its former location, making it level with the door armrest
  • The remote trunk release button was readily visible and accessible on the instrument panel
  • Radio and HVAC controls were in the center of the instrument panel and placed closer to the driver than on prior models. A new radio mounting system allowed radio and HVAC controls to be closer to each other for easier access
  • Radio and ATC (automatic temperature control) operation and logic were refined. Button shape, nomenclature, freedom from hidden functions, and tactile feedback contributed to clear and intuitive operation
  • The steering column tilt lever was curved upward for easier access. In the past, this lever was used only on international models, but was judged ergonomically superior to the straight lever previously used in North America
  • Steering wheel spoke size and placement were designed to allow a variety of hand positions and assure visibility of cluster and switches
  • The steering wheel rim was softer and more comfortable
  • The horn switch was operated by pressing the flexible steering wheel pad

Safety And Security

  • Next-generation front passenger air bags used odorless, smokeless inflator technology
  • Next-generation driver air bags used a hybrid inflator to reduce particulates
  • Interior trim provided head impact protection
  • Dynamic side impact intrusion protection
  • Available Remote Keyless Entry system and HomeLink universal transmitter used "rolling code" technology to enhance security

Noise, Vibration, and Harshness

Reduced engine noise, better suspension isolation, improved body structural stiffness and better insulation all contributed to the quietness of the Concorde and Intrepid. A rubber-isolated rear suspension cross member significantly reduced interior noise for rear seat passengers. Front suspension and power train mounting cradle isolation was significantly refined. Larger door weather strips and more accurate door fitting helped minimize wind noise. Full-stamped doors provided a consistent sealing surface for the weather strips.


The combination of a rounded front end in plain view, lower fascia shaping, gently flowing windshield pillars with a "cubic-curve" cross section (a shape that resembled a graph of the equation y=x3), aero-tuned sill cladding to enhance air flow around the tires and a tapered rear end improve aerodynamics. Both designs contained subtle aerodynamic refinements in the cowl, outside mirrors, windshield pillars and windshield header that reduced wind noise and helped control water flow over the body as well as reducing drag. Drag coefficient varied among the two bodies due to detail variations in design, averaging 10 percent lower than the prior bodies. Aerodynamics helped design the following features to provide water flow management and wind noise reduction:

  • One-piece side window moldings had the least possible offset from the glass with sedan-type door construction and included full perimeter sealing to the door frame that minimized wind noise
  • Full-stamped doors and full side aperture body construction provided more stable and accurate sealing surfaces to reduce wind noise
  • A cowl screen formed to deflect air above wipers reduced wind noise and eliminated washer fluid upward flow off parked wiper blades
  • Water channels in the windshield side moldings kept the lower half of the side windows clear while limiting wind noise
  • Outside mirrors were shaped for low wind noise
  • Full door opening upper weather stripping stopped roof water from entering open doors

The following new or improved features helped ensure ample cooling air flow through a tight engine compartment populated by high-output aluminum engines and close-coupled catalytic converters:

  • Cubic-curve surfaces surround the grille opening to maximize air flow through the grille
  • Slots in the cowl screen, allowing air to flow over the engine mounts and exit at the rear lip of the hood
  • A portion of the hood-to-cowl seal is removed to provide a cooling air flow path over electrical and electronic equipment
  • Louvers in the engine compartment side panels and enlarged openings for the drive shafts and tie rods allowed air to exit through the wheel wells
  • Vastly improved front air dam and fascia and a small under tray between the lower radiator cross member and the power train/suspension cradle forced air to exit aft of the engine, not recirculate through the cooling module
  • Baffles between fascia and radiator support panel forced incoming air through the cooling module
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