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1997 Plymouth Prowler Review
All talk and no show.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 1997 Plymouth Prowler is a new roadster introduced by Chrysler and inspired by the retro cars of the 1930s. The source of its unique design can be traced back to the Prowler concept car, which was introduced in 1993.
Engine: 3.5-liter V-6
Transmission: four-speed automatic
Model: Plymouth Prowler
The 1997 Plymouth Prowler makes its debut and doesn't really seem to fit into any segment in the market. Although it is technically a roadster, it's a completely unique specimen and the only one of its kind in the niche segment.
The 1997 Plymouth Prowler's looks set it apart from other cars. One look is enough to make a passerby assume that style was the first priority, while function was secondary. The unique looks are a throwback to the vintage custom cars that were considered works of art back then. The exterior immediately captures attention and makes a solid first impression. In other words, it's more than a mode of transportation; it's a lifestyle statement.
The 1997 Plymouth Prowler is difficult to get in and out, which tends to be the first thing that drivers notice. The doors may be long, but it hardly opens as wide as other sports cars. The seats are set very low, too, almost at floor level but prove to be supportive. Visibility is quite poor since the front fenders cannot be seen at all, and when the top of the convertible is up, visibility is hampered even further.
The 1997 Plymouth Prowler's side windows are just a little more than slits, and consumers actually need to stand outside to fold the top of the car down, even though the top hides neatly below the rear deck. Moreover, luggage space is as good as non-existent. A retro-style dashboard and instrument panel add to the whole experience. Controls are rather easy, too, and the overall build quality is maintained at a high level.
Performance & Handling
The 1997 Plymouth Prowler uses a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that was lifted from the Chrysler LH, which is mated to an automatic transmission. The choice of engine is surprising and not in a good way. A hot rod-inspired sports car like the Prowler was expected to come with a powerful V-8 engine and a manual gearbox even though the V-6 seems to do well on its own.
The 1997 Plymouth Prowler has a smooth acceleration that's good enough to keep the drive interesting. The engine delivers enough power as well as an awe-inspiring roar in its exhaust note. The ride is quite soft, and handling characteristics are good as well. It corners deftly without any significant body lean and handles better than any other hot rod in the country.
The 1997 Plymouth Prowler offers a ride quality and experience that is hard to find in any other automobile. Wind and tire noise is significantly noticeable on the highway, but it actually lends to the unique experience of driving a Prowler. Despite the good points, however, the truth is that the V-6 is not much of a performer. The engine takes the Prowler to 60 mph from standstill in 7.2 seconds, which is a huge difference compared to other sports cars like the Corvette.
The 1997 Plymouth Prowler has not undergone crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Decent acceleration
- Good steering and handling characteristics
- Unique looks that catches everyone’s attention
- Good overall build quality
You Won't Like
- Lack of cargo space
- Poor visibility
- Entry and exit is difficult
- No anti-lock brakes, even as an option
All talk and no show.
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