Here’s Why the Chrysler Crossfire Was a Complete Failure

Two seats, rear-wheel drive, and a convertible top are usually a fail-proof recipe for a great sports car. Every now and again, however, manufacturers seem to slip up, and vehicles like the Chrysler Crossfire are created. Not that the Crossfire is a bad car, by any means, but perhaps it isn’t wasn’t the wisest choice for Chrysler at the time. Back when many manufacturers like Pontiac were making small, affordable sports cars like the Solstice, it seems that no one was as interested in cheap sports cars as manufacturers may have hoped. The Chrysler Crossfire was a failure, for more reasons than one.

A short production life for the Chrysler Crossfire

The Chrysler Crossfire was seemingly pulled from production almost as quickly as it began. Starting in 2004, the car only had a short run before being cut by the manufacturer in 2008. It had everything that Chrysler hoped would make it a good, low-cost sports car for the average consumer. So why did it fail so quickly?

Chrysler Crossfire during The 2003 Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival Filmmaking Competition - Day One at Manhattan in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
Chrysler Crossfire | James Devaney/WireImage

Decent performance, underwhelming handling

For the price, you pretty much paid for what you got when it came to performance with the Chrysler Crossfire. Choices between the V6 engine in the base models or supercharged V6 in the SRT-6 gave the car some variations in power. It was far from the most powerful car on the road, but it wasn’t necessarily disappointing. The punchy motor offered a responsive acceleration and paired with the car’s small stature it handled like you’d expect a low-priced sports car would.

With a powertrain designed by Mercedes-Benz, it is surprising that most people didn’t fall in love after just one test drive. There were, of course, some complaints, otherwise, the car would have been more popular. Steering and handling was not quite up to par, and for the size of the car, you didn’t quite get enough room or comfort. It seemed to have one foot in the world of luxury, the other in the world of performance, and it wasn’t really pulling either one off.

DETROIT, UNITED STATES:  The new Chrysler Crossfire convertible shown 06 January 2004 during the press days at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan.  AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES  (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)
Chrysler Crossfire | JEFF HAYNES/AFP

Weird exterior, weirder interior

From the outside, the Chrysler Crossfire had a rather unique design. It seemed to take design hints from companies like Pontiac and Mercedes-Benz and create something that isn’t quite attractive. The outside is debatably unattractive, depending on who you ask, but I doubt most people would be a fan of the interior.

The interior of the Crossfire looked pretty unappealing. Not quite a luxury car, the mixture of materials that lined the cabin just wasn’t up to par. The SRT-6 had a mixture of leather and Alcantara that was well beyond its time, but yet many people were still turned off by the car’s odd-looking center console and spaceship-like dashboard.

Chrysler's Crossfire is engineered by Mercedes, the 2–seater is new for Chrysler. The interior with the Dysney Center in the forground;  (Photo by Carlos Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Chrysler Crossfire |Carlos Chavez/Los Angeles Times

Was the Chrysler Crossfire Really That Bad?

There are some Chrysler Crossfires still out on the road today, but they are mostly enjoyed as casual cruisers rather than thoroughbred sports cars. Although they were only in production for a handful of years, there are still many people out there that enjoy the cars. You can find them in good condition on the used car market for less than $10,000, and even though they might need a few modern touches, they could still be well worth your time.