Ur-Turn is your weekly opportunity to contribute to TTAC. Every weekend (well, almost) we select a piece submitted to our contact form, and publish it as a showcase for the diverse perspectives of TTAC’s readers. Today’s contribution, from Mark Whinton of carquestions.ca, casts a winking eye at Chrysler’s interior improvements to a vehicle that seemed to escape much of the media’s attention at the North American International Auto Show.
Well it looks like Chrysler has finally listened to the chorus of criticism from its customers and industry pundits and the results are better than anyone expected. Bucking the industry norm Chrysler has a number of trend setting “firsts”. Starting with seating Chrysler has ditched the standard bucket seat arrangement and developed a new “wide body” style that fits any size width and meets the goal of fewer parts since the seat needs two less tracks, one less motor and entirely eliminates the center console, a reported savings of $350 per vehicle. The biggest change has been a switch from mostly plastic to a definite functional metal theme. Gone are the plastic shifters and door handles replaced by solid metal. The feeling is incredible and reminds me of the mid 60’s when you knew you had your hand on something, not like the 90’s that feel like a pool noodle.
Driver controls really made the competitors drop their iphones. According to a Chrysler insider, Sony PlayStation engineers were consulted for steering wheel controls and the final result is something an entire new generation will be comfortable with. When asked why the car had a column shift, two floor shifters, and an industry first second brake pedal, Chrysler reps explained that they are anticipating future NHSTA safety requirements where a driver will need the ability to put the vehicle in park, reverse and neutral all at the same time and should make older drivers feel safer. There is also a second brake pedal that actuates a second set of rear callipers installed on each rear wheel, four rear callipers another industry first on a car of this size. The fast and furious crowd should love this feature since it can be used for extensive drifting.
A couple of minor criticisms. Firstly, Asian outsourcing of the switch controls is obvious and confusing since they are labelled in Japanese. Secondly, the nav unit targeting functions were difficult to see in bright sunlight and the screen should be angled more toward the driver. The center badge on the steering wheel was missing and a Chrysler rep told me there was a delay in the new blue logos due to a supplier problem. Other than that the interior is definitely an award winner and puts Chrysler out front of its competition for years to come. If you want to see the newest from Chrysler check this Black Beauty out at a local theatre near you.
Carquestions review of the Green Hornet “Black Beauty” 1965 Chrysler Imperial on display in the lobby of the Detroit NAIAS January 12, 2011. Production is limited to approximately 29 vehicles, gun license required upon registration.