Some cars are so bad that the entire line seems to be made up of lemons. Some even make ‘The Worst Cars Tested’ list from Consumer Reports, which can be a death sentence for a vehicle.
The 2000 Dodge Intrepid was one such car. It had some amazing reviews from some sites, but there was one major flaw in its design that led to its downfall. According to Car Complaints, it ranks number 10 out of the 20 worst vehicles of all time.
What is the Dodge Intrepid?
The Intrepid was a full-size sedan that was produced from 1992-2004. It had a slick body based off the Lamborghini. For those who couldn’t afford a Lamborghini, this was a rather nice choice.
Cars.com really liked the 2000 Intrepid, and stated,
“Like its Chrysler cousins, the boldly styled Intrepid turns a lot more heads than do other full-size cars. The cab-forward design pioneered by Chrysler pushes the wheels to the ends of car, and the low nose and high tail give it a sleek, aerodynamic shape with a drag coefficient of .30, better than some sports cars.”
There were three engine options on the Intrepid. The standard engine was a 2.7-liter V6 engine, a 3.2 liter, and a 3.5 liter. Even tall individuals could sit in the Intrepid comfortably, and there was an optional front bench seat that brought its capacity up to six passengers. This set the Intrepid apart from some competitors.
Since there were no safety features like lane change assist or parking assist back in 2000, the Intrepid had a large back window. This improved visibility so that drivers could see to change lanes and park their car without fear of bumping into another vehicle.
Why did the Dodge Intrepid make Car Complaints Worst Vehicle List?
The 2000 Intrepid got mostly good reviews from sites like Kelley Blue Book, Cars.com, and Edmunds, so it may seem strange that it ranked Car Complaints Worst Vehicle List. There’s actually a great reason for this, and that’s because of the 2.7-liter V6 engine. The Intrepids that had the 3.2 and 3.5-liter engines had none of the problems caused by the 2.7.
The 2.7 engine caused several problems with the Intrepid, but the biggest was the sludge. This is actually an easy problem to identify. Just remove the engine cover, and there’s so much black gunk covering it that you’d swear Venom has tried to take over the engine.
Driving Tests reports that engine sludge is,
“Engine sludge develops on and around your vehicle’s motor when oil begins to break down and collects on the engine. When engine sludge is present, oil is not able to properly lubricate the moving parts of your vehicle’s motor. Some of the main causes for the buildup of engine sludge are stop and go driving and short commutes.”
This can be prevented by changing your oil regularly, but the 2.7-liter engine was getting sludge in spite of drivers changing the oil frequently. The only solution for this problem was exchanging the 2.7-liter engine for the 3.2.
Still, that’s a lot of money to shell out for a problem that Dodge should have taken care of to begin with. Instead, because the Federal government never issued a recall, Dodge continued to use the 2.7-liter engine for over four years, in spite of knowing the issues with it.
In total, the 2000 Intrepid had 19 problems reported to Car Complaints, but the oil sludge was by far the biggest. It had 148 complaints, as opposed to the second-highest-ranking problem. That was engine knocking, and only 61 people complained about it.
Other vehicles that made the list
Since the Intrepid is number 10, you know there had to be some that were worse. The vehicle that earned the number one position was the 2002 Ford Explorer, due to an extreme number of transmission failure complaints. The second worst was the 2003 Honda Accord, and the third was the 2011 Hyundai Sonata.
Ford not only had the worst vehicle on the list, but also had the most vehicles. The Ford Focus had the most, with four model years, and the Ford Explorer came in second with three. Jeep, Nissan, and Honda all tied for second place.
Still, those vehicles have remained in the running in spite of their issues. Due to Dodge’s refusal to dump the 2.7-liter engine, consumers began to avoid the Intrepid like the plague, and the once-beloved car was retired.