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1996 Dodge Stratus, Chrysler Sebring

Is Chrysler ever going to let up? Their stand at the Toronto

show will contain no fewer than four new models, plus a slick

concept car.

Chief among the novelties will be the NS minivans, whose world

debut was just weeks ago in Detroit.

Although the original Magic Wagon pretty much nailed the

minivan thing right out of the starting gate, the Chrysler

newcomers make useful strides in interior space utilization,

styling and feature content — notably, dual sliding rear side

doors and rear seats on casters, for easier removal.

Look for a late-spring arrival at your dealer.

The Dodge Stratus, twin to the Chrysler Cirrus, will offer

four and six-cylinder engines, manual and automatic

transmissions, as opposed to the Chrysler's singular V6 auto

powertrain. Unique Dodge styling and interior will further

distinguish this car.

I had a chance to sneak-preview a Stratus prototype for a

local TV show a couple of weeks ago: this is a terrific

automobile great looks, ride, handling, performance and sure

to be a huge success.

The Chrysler Sebring reverses the introduction sequence it's

a twin to the previously released Dodge Avenger. A

Mitsubishi-Chrysler joint venture, the luxury sport coupe will replace

the K-car-derived LeBaron coupe in Chrysler's lineup.

I was a shade disappointed in the Avenger's mild performance.

With more of a luxury orientation, the Sebring will probably be

closer to its intended mark.

New to many showgoers, although they've been in dealerships

for a while now, will be the Dodge and Plymouth Neon sport

coupe.

Given that the four-door already looks like a coupe, you might

wonder why Chrysler felt this model was needed. Still, even more

aggressive appearance and the finally fulfilled promise of the

150 horsepower twin-cam engine will make these cars worthy of

serious consideration by sporty-oriented entry level buyers.

The delightful Expresso concept car, one of the stars of the

1994 Detroit auto show, makes its first Canadian appearance at

Toronto.

This car must set some kind of record for cubic metres of

interior space per square metre of "shadow area" it's the

London taxi of show cars. The side windows are dressed up to

look like the biggest pair of eyes since Barney Google (geez, am

I dating myself again? Hey — somebody has to go out with me).

The Expresso is a charming little confection; I just wish

someone would have the guts to make something like this some

day.

Then again, would anybody have the guts to buy one?

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