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 car more than a week. Other GTers like to "get to know" their dates, maybe
even keep them around as partners. These folks are looking to "go steady". 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. I
am going on a 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 ladies reading this! Same could to apply to any of you, though, but in a different way.
Anyways, for the dudes. 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, 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 guy, 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? How will she, uh, perform?
Guys (myself included at times, especially during youth) sometimes want to get to the performance 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) 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 fooling around, 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 the majority of guys out there, what's on our minds; however, the same really could apply to women as well.
The main difference is logistics. Plenty of chicks 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 with a 4-pack under that T-shirt, 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?
That's the way this car was for me. I wasn't looking for anything long-term, but I did fully try to anticipate what
driving the Prowler would be like, much as if I just met some cutie at a party, and we began chatting. 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 about.
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.
But enough tech talk. Keep in mind I'm still on a date with this car, and I sense things are a little awkward! She don't always like
"guy talk" see, so I'll keep that to myself. What a beaut! It's as if I've asked her out after seeing her picture, she's
said "yes", and now I'm getting my glimpse.
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 Millennium. 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 (not including Amy Winehouse, of course).
On the other hand, some may find Miss Prowler quite the beauty. She's classy. She's sweet. 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 her own woman...and for those who think she's a dog, even they can't keep their 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, 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.
In GT4, the Prowler's
engine sounds familiar, 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 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 becomes addictive,
so that most novices will prematurely lose it all as they're watching Miss Prowler's fenders reacting to the tarmac!
the engine sits a 4-speed automatic with Chrysler's patented "Auto Stick" function, with no option for a manual. 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,
but certainly within reason.
Unfortunately, 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!
But 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 me 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 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. Unfortunately, deep into the first turn it was obvious the answer was
Before 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. My date is not communicating very well,
Lots 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 this game 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.
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". 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.
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 she 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. A heck of a lot more fun, for one thing. For another,
she's even wilder than before.
There's 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 this Chrysler wants to dance. It wants to dance
a little too much!
Oversteer, it took me by surprise the first time I drove a 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! She recently won 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, dealing with other cars on the track (which was empty in GT4). 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 showing off!
After racing and driving far more miles than
I drove 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