Weekly Mileage Champion: 1999 Dodge Intrepid ES

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
weekly mileage champion 1999 dodge intrepid es

A broken clock is always right twice a day. But how about the last generation of Intrepids?

These cars have a nasty, filthy, disgusting reputation for engine issues thanks to the 2.7 Liter V6. In fact, when most dealers at the auto auctions see the latest of the late Intrepids go through the sale, they always assume the worst.

Blown head gasket. $1500 repair. Probably worth more dead than alive.

Other than mid-to-late 90’s Cadillacs with the Northstar engines, I can’t think of a single vehicle made in the last 20 years that was so maligned for blown head gaskets.

As a personal example, I remember a 2002 model back in 2007 that had been owned by the Salvation Army since Day 1. A perfect exterior. Neat, well kept interior. It looked like a steal at $2200.

It was a steal. But eventually sometime down the road, I’m sure it dealt a fatal blow to the final owner. Very few of these engines ever saw the 200,000 mile light at the end of the tunnel without a blown head gasket or two in between.

This one is apparently different. Or is it? It has 263,942 miles and is surprisingly….operable.

These cars came with three engine choices.

The anything but rock solid 2.7 Liter.

A kinda decent but still not quite up to snuff 3.2 Liter.

Finally we have a 3.5 Liter that can offer over 240 horsepower engine. It was used to power what may be the worst police interceptor of the 21st century in North America. The Dodge Intrepid Police Interceptor. These things were so bad that I was able to buy a perfectly running five year old one with 90k miles for all of $700 (and a $100 fee) at a public sale. That 3.5 Liter was a classic case of an engine being better than the rest of the car.

The police departments avoided them for a multitude of legitimate reasons. Suspension issues, maintenance costs, night visibility, and most of all… brakes!

The Intrepid PI became another unloved one generation wonder.

Nobody loved Intrepids. Ever. Except perhaps this one. So here’s the question. Which engine?

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2 of 65 comments
  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Oct 03, 2012

    Well, I guess all the votes are in. The vehicle in question had the 3.2 Liter engine in it. A surprisingly decent interior as well.

  • Fpddragon Fpddragon on Feb 01, 2013

    I have owned a 1995 intrepid 3.5 , a great car and very sleek. have owned it for over 12 years bought it back in 1999 ended up having a head go out after the last year i owned it,but got it repaired cheep for 500. mileage was around 200,000 when the head went and i expect it will last several more years but i have never had a problem with it other than ones i have caused, normal wear, or botched repairs, i had to fix later. was a great first car. beautiful sparkling silver color with black trim. I loved that car but realized it was nearing its usefulness and sold it for 2000. don't see what the big deal with these cars are this one was wonderful.

  • CaddyDaddy Coney Island in Bailey, Colorado off of US 285. Man oh man, Caddy Daddy could use a Chicago Dog, side of fries and a root beer. Good Times!
  • MaintenanceCosts Imagine that... the OEM that doesn't make absurd false claims about "Full Self-Driving" and that doesn't release beta software onto public streets gets better treatment from the regulator.
  • MaintenanceCosts Yes, yes, balance, quick turn-in, working the gears, blah, blah.I'm sorry, none of it is convincing. A 3-series needs two more cylinders than this so that it doesn't sound like a Jetta on $199/month special.
  • MaintenanceCosts Is Stellantis capable of making a product for the American market without embarrassing levels of over-the-top fake machismo?
  • Philip This raises two questions for me:[list=1][*]What happens to all of the chargepoint that we have installed at our homes? Do those all have to be replaced?[/*][*]What happens to all of the billions of dollars from the federal government being spent on non-tesla ports at wal-marts and pilot service centers? [/*][/list=1]