Buying a car is sometimes like going on a date, especially in Gran Turismo or Forza or several others currently
on the gaming market which have a multitude of cars. And we are like singles who are looking at all the "fish in the sea"
as we start to explore. Some of us like to "play the field". Some of us are casual daters. We love 'em and leave 'em,
racing with passion but rarely seeing the same gal more than a week. Other GTers like to "get to know" their dates, maybe
even keep them around as partners. There are also plenty of us who collect: keeping a well-stocked garage for our personal
use, exploring those lots for the next wife or husband to fill our harem.
And there are (of course)
those cars in which we hopelessly fall in love with. We may not have known much about such cars, we may have been caught off-guard
once we're behind some of their wheels. Or perhaps we were already in love with the real-life versions, and PD's virtual
remakes are sometimes suitable replacements. Next thing you know, it's head-over-heels, fall-on-our-face...in love. Next thing
you know, we're fantasizing about our dream car while sitting at our desks at work/school, while our teacher or boss
rattles on about some boring statistics that will be forgotten within an hour. Real-life tasks get muddled as we long for
the next chance we have to drive these vehicles, even if it is only in virtuality.
But forget all that for now..that's
jumping the gun, and we're not going to rush off to the altar just yet! What we're going to do in this review is take a look
at the process behind the passion, and I already have somebody in mind. We are going on our first date,
and her name is Miss Prowler.
Let's say you're a guy. Or a man. Or a boy who's
looking forward to becoming an adult. Most of the people reading this are male, no doubt, so I'm mostly talking to you.
The same could apply to females, too, although somehow (call me crazy) I get the feeling there's less females reading
this! Same could to apply to any of you, though, but in a different way.
Anyways, let's say you're a male. You're
in school or out at a bar or happen to meet someone, and both of you get interested in one another. Maybe you go on a date.
Eventually (if things are going well) you start to wonder...uh....how is she going to "perform". She may have your attention,
she may be cute, or sexy, or even just decent-looking. For those of you who are not into looks (all 4% of you, ha ha), you
may find other qualities. She may be fascinating to talk to, for instance.
....But overall, you could care
less about any of this. Because....you're a male, and you're actually thinking about....uh.... chemistry. Will you guys
have any "chemistry"? Will you two "hook up"? Is this going anywhere, and if it is, will it be worthwhile?
since it's a first date, many guys will also wonder about performance. IS THERE GOING TO BE ANY SEX? If
so, will it be any good? ;-)
Guys (myself included at times, especially during youth) sometimes want to get
to the "sex" part as soon as possible, depending on their stage of life, their age, the circumstances. On the other hand,
there are also some times when guys (myself included, lol) have found themselves wondering if it's actually
a good thing that things are moving too fast. If she sleeps with you on the first date, does she do
this with EVERY first date? See? Or are you "special", somehow. If there is any sex and loving, will it be fun? Will
it be (gulp) awesome? Or will it be like going to the dentist? Awkward and painful?
I'm speaking of (let's be
honest) the majority of guys out there, what's on their minds; however, the same really could apply to females as well. The
only difference is logistics. Plenty of females are also into looks and the physical side of things. They're also into the
"hooking up" part. But in their case, instead of wondering how passionate their new date might be, they also have a whole
other set of issues to consider. Yes, he's a stud, yes, he's good-looking, but is he also a long-term thing? Should I
wonder what our kids would look like? Or should I steer clear? Is he really broke, impotent, rude, or gay?
the way this car was for me. No, I didn't think it was gay, but I did fully try to anticipate what driving the Prowler
would be like, much as if I just met some cutie. How would she/it "perform"? What would our first date be like? The Prowler
is such a visual stunner, you see, but is it also a performance stunner? Is it capable as a racing car? Road
car? Is it capable at all?
The Prowler was introduced not by Chrysler, but by Plymouth in
1997 at the Detroit Auto Show. It had the looks of a '30s era hotrod, yet was a fully warrantied, fully smog-tested modern
automobile under the skin. Unbeknownst to us at the time, it would be the last great car by Plymouth, which went out
of business in the year 2000.
Chrysler took the Prowler over from here, selling it for just two more years before passing
the torch to automotive heaven. The car in our games is therefore a Chrysler instead of a Plymouth, not that there was much
difference. Overall, just over 11,000 cars were sold, most of them Plymouths, not Chryslers. This car (Plymouth
or Chrysler) is therefore rare in real-life, yet I've been lucky enough to have seen a few Prowlers driving
Whenever I see one in real-life, it makes me (and usually just about anybody else) stop and stare,
even if we're all about to drop our milkshakes and french fries in a massive human collision. Even if we've got ice cream
melting in our hands. "Wow, look at that!"
That bodywork is all aluminum, by the way. This is why the Prowler is somewhat
light for a modern front engine /rear-drive at 2,868 pounds. Note: 2,868 is about the same as the NSX Type S. One
thing to note quick, though, is the Prowler's weight distribution. The real-life car is actually back-heavy...it's got a 44/55
weight distribution from front to rear, even though this is a front-engined car. Gotta be the fact that the front-end hasn't
got full-size fenders, and its hood is about half normal-sized. The rear has wheels/tires that are much larger than the fronts,
as well. All of this creates interesting driving characteristics which shall be more fully outlined later.
enough tech talk. Keep in mind we're still on a date with this car! She don't always like "guy talk", see, so we'll keep
that to ourselves. What a beaut! It's as if we've asked her out after seeing her picture, she's said "yes", and
now we're getting our first glimpse of her in the flesh.
Some may find Miss Prowler ugly. "GIVE IT UP!" they cry.
She's trying for those "retro" looks, which just doesn't work in this New Millenium. It's as if we've got this chick,
and she's trying to pass off her beehive hairdo and cat's eye glasses. Doesn't work.
On the other hand, some may find
Miss Prowler quite the beauty. She's classy. She's sweet. She's 100% Corn and milk fed, USA! (gasp) Sure she looks
a little goofy and out of place in a sea of modern preps and prisses, but she's got a bit of "character" missing from
all these other bland cars on the road. She is definitely not a yuppie!
Miss Prowler also happens to be...um...built
well. Her headlights bounce (*cough* innuendo *hack*) with every step, her shoulders dance with
a subtle rhythm as she makes her way down the street. She's got style, she's got a way.
She is her own woman...and
even if we think she's a dog, we can't keep our eyes off her...
--------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN-----------------
So all that's a given. Our date captures the eye, but it's not all about looks here; she also has the gift
of gab. She's not overly loud, not overly talky or annoying ... what I mean is sometimes it's uncanny how she
says exactly what I want to hear. She's got experience in this regard. In other words, Miss Prowler sure
knows how to talk the talk, as the saying goes ... vvvvvvvddddrrrrroooom!!!
Here we have Chrysler's humble
Single-Overhead Cam V6 engine (that's what it's called), which had most of its use during the 1990s in more sedate front-drive
settings, like in Chrysler's LHS and Sebrings, and in Dodge's Intrepid. But it's now being used for the Prowler.
One of the complaints people had about the Prowler was that it did not come with an option for a V8 engine, and this
was not acceptable to some gearheads, apparently. After all, many of the amateur hot rods of the 1930s and 1940s had V8 engines
installed for maximum effect, these lightweight cars a bit like soapbox derby cars with rocket-fuel engines. But after
my first drive behind the wheel of a red Prowler at Tsukuba, it's obvious this car has quite a mighty step in the horsepower
department just as it is, V6 or not. I'm not entirely sure I want a Hemi in this one, *chuckle*.
the Prowler's engine sounds familar, does it not? I could swear it's the same V6 sample as Acura NSXes in this game.
Tsk tsk. But it'll do. GT5's car sounds a bit deeper and more unique, and surely this must be the Chrysler's V6.
Things start at about 250 horsepower, which is actually quite a lot to start with. As we'll see during the
Handling section, this sort of power really puts Miss Prowler on the "experienced" list. She doesn't want a date who doesn't
know how to dance, for instance. She doesn't want some jackoff who's going to lose it all in the first sway. She
doesn't want to waste her time. Before you drive this car (especially in GT5) it's important you have a few
notches on your belt, know what I mean? Beginners will just blow their load (*cough*) early
with Miss Prowler, and she'll be calling you folks "cads". She doesn't want a virgin driver is what I mean to say, or even
close to virgin.
A torquey engine, this is. In a straight line, the Prowler's massive rear tires have
plenty of traction, and after a bit of small block hesitation the engine gets right to work propelling us to speed. Watching
those two fenders bounce up and down (*hack*) becomes addictive, so that most novices will prematurely
(*sneeze*) lose it all as they're watching Miss Prowler's fenders reacting to the tarmac!
Behind the engine
sits a 4-speed automatic with Chrysler's patented "Auto Stick" function. Some Americans may have complained about the V6 engine,
but as I read several real-life Prowler reviews, I have yet to see one complaint about the automatic. It's a bit tall, which
keeps the car's acceleration from zero to 60 a bit on the "tame" side, but rushing to 100 mph in just over 15 seconds, and
in GT4 the quarter mile passes just before this. Not the speediest American, but certainly within reason.
top speed doesn't get any higher than 138 mph in GT4, or 135 in GT5. I'm thinking this
is mostly an aerodynamics issue. This car certainly has the power and torque to do better, yet after she's passed 100 mph,
she starts to tire.
-------------CHASSIS / HANDLING---------------
The Chrysler Prowler appears in two games so far: GT4 and GT5. In GT4, we'll have to "win" a date with this
machine, after successfully making it thru the Roadster Series in the Beginner Hall. In GT5 on the other hand, she
posts an ad in the local Used Car lot, but rarely does so. We have about one week to catch this ad and make our date!
both games have major differences. In GT5, for instance we can do whatever we'd like! Drift, racing, time trials, she's
up for all sorts of fun ... but in GT4, we're limited, for we cannot even race a Prowler in this game. We can only
drive it on an empty track. Well okay. If that's what shall entail, let's do it...but let's be honest...it does kinda feel
like Miss Prowler has led us on a bit, know what I mean? Like she's nothing but a tease...
Not to beat the bush too early, but dating this
gal in this game is ultimately disappointing. For those of us who are interested in this car at all, whether your interest
is just curiosity, or something which runs deeper, ultimately you're not going to get very far. It's as if we've got
a lovely date, we can go wherever we want with her (Japan, France, California...) yet she's got a "rule" about dating, and
we can't even get to second base! A bit of flirting? That's fine. A kiss? Sure! But anything more than that is off-limits!
But hey, at least I got to drive this car a bit. I didn't know what to expect as I first drove a gold-colored Prowler
around Trial Mountain. Unfortuantely, deep into the first turn it was obvious the answer was here: understeer.
turns approach, let's say we're aiming for the curve. The Prowler doesn't necessarily understeer at first. Its front-end is
very light, though, and has about as much command of the road as Gaddafi has nice words to say about his people. The Prowler's
front-end likes to dance about, you'll notice, and steering (aiming, really...) this car into turns must be done delicately.
Steering has a "slow" feeling at first. It feels vague up there. Our date is not communicating very well, it seems.
of brake time must be given, N or Sport tires. Otherwise, the car will understeer. We don't want that. Assuming understeer
is avoided upon entry, however, one must still worry about understeer on-exit. It gets to be annoying. Even though this is
a rear-drive car with lots of booty, It doesn't always necessarily "boogie" out of those turns. The rear of this car
in GT4 feels just about as tame as a Corvette's in GT4, which is to say it feels too mild; never really gets exciting. I was
expecting at least some oversteer in this game, even some mild lift-off, but it just doesn't happen once
the car's out of 1st gear. There is a bit of throttlesteer, but one must prepare long in advance to get this helpful behavior
going. One must start mentally calculating what's going to happen towards the end of the turn even while the car has barely
entered its beginning, for even mild throttlesteering in the Prowler to work.
Oh. First gear, almost forgot. In
first gear, the car does get a bit wobbly if the driver is trying to get a good launch while steering. This is the
only time Miss Prowler starts to "prowl", ha ha. But usually oversteer is just about as lame as it is in many other FR
autos as portrayed in GT4.
Understeer. Understeer understeer understeer. After
less than half an hour on my virtual date, I was already looking for the bathroom, so I could fake a cell phone call from
my "sick" mother and ditch Miss Prowler with the check.
Ugh. That was a sucky date. I remember Miss Prowler from my GT4 days, she wasn't
very fun. But now it's a few years later, and Miss Prowler is back on the prowl again. I see her, and she's as stunning
as ever. Can't keep my eyes off her. Maybe we'll have a second chance...
The Prowler as it appears in GT5 has now completely
changed! She's a heck of a lot more fun, for one thing. For another, she's even wilder than she was before.
still the expected understeer of GT4, still the longish brake distances and careful steering into turns, but the fun
comes once we're looking to get OUT of those turns! It's as if our date started off in GT4 as a looker
who's not so good at dancing, and pretty much a bad date. Well now she wants to dance. She wants to dance a little too
Oversteer now took me by surprise, the first time I drove that Prowler at Tsukuba. I mentioned how this car's
stock power of 250 seems just about right earlier, remember? Well even with this "meager" power, we can perform some mighty
stunts in GT5! Miss Prowler's rear-end now dazzles us! She recently placed "first" in a booty-shaking contest,
and wants to show off for us. A LOT. Honestly, she's a little too wild now!
Mid-corner, the Prowler grips the
road possessively, assuming the car is not entered into the turns too hot. On exit, I found I needed to be careful with this
car, especially once I was racing it. Giving full-throttle, even while the car is stock, even while it's on Sport tires,
is sometimes a no-no. The Prowler's rear now exploded with noise and smoke as I fought to keep the front-end tight
with countersteer. The car is 10x more fun than it was in GT4, but it's also 10x more dangerous, especially during races.
But at least it can race in this game! As I drove this car in the Beginner Series FR Challenge, I really did
find Miss Prowler had become quite the vixen. She may look sweet, she may look charming, but on those tracks it's all about
After racing and driving Miss Prowler far more miles than I drove her in GT4, I gladly bought her a drink.
Several drinks, actually. She's wild, she's wonderful, she's worth it! Dating? Drinking? Flirting? Hell yes,
yes and yes!! Well how about marriage? Long term goals? ....KIDS?
Quite the eye candy for us car-lovers. Nothing else like the Prowler, unless you look far into America's past. And those
past hot rods didn't come with a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty, air bags, and air conditioning!
2). Chrysler's V6 engine
does turn a few fast numbers.
3). Tuners will never be bored I'd imagine, as they attempt to tweak and adjust
this baby towards perfection.
4). Drifter's delight in GT5.
5). Torquey engine always feels eager over 3,000
6). GT5 mostly: growly engine.
7). Wow, look at those (cough) wheel covers! And they move!
1). Not as fast as I thought it would
be. Even on GT4's massive Test Curse...er...Course, the Prowler's 138 mph top speed was unexpectedly slower than I thought
2). 4-speed automatic transmission is a bit on the "tall" side.
3). Must be won as a
prize in GT4, cannot be bought. In GT5, the Prowler can be bought from the used lot, yet rarely makes an appearance.
Somewhat pricey on top of its rarity.
5). Oh, in GT4, we cannot actually RACE this car!
6). Understeer. This
boattail speedsteer is not exempt from it. There's also...
7). ..wild oversteery motions in GT5, which keeps the Prowler
out of the hands of most n00b drivers, and even some intermediates I'm sure. Pro drivers will sometimes have their hands
full trying to control this beast, especially during races. Miss Prowler is all about instability, never ready to "settle
8). GT4: Prowler's engine sample is shared with some other car with a V6. Pretty sure it's the NSX.
Published: March 21st, 2011