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MyerShift

C&G Member Review: Plymouth Breeze

5 posts in this topic

The Automobile

1996 Plymouth Breeze. After a lengthy search for a "worthy" automobile to replace my failing Monte Carlo, I discovered this Medium Fern (sage green) Breeze at a local dealership with only 68,000 miles on the clock.

History/Lineage

The Breeze was one of the cloud car triplets introduced in 1995 to replace the aged A-body, K-derived Chrysler LeBaron, Dodge Spirit, and Plymouth Acclaim sedans. Its archtecture is known as JA.

Styling

With a unique cab-forward design, the Breeze's fluid, flowing appearance was radical and unlike anything else on the road. It lacked a defined three-box design so common to its competitors. In 2006, this sort of design is copied and taken to the extreme by Honda with its new Civic.

The rearview mirrors are of a sleek, black twin spoke variety.

Due to the styling, the deadlamps are rather small, and the low beams are rather poor.

At 186 inches long overall with a wheelbase of 108 inches the Breeze posesses less overhang than the large LH cars, and the hood of the Breeze is actually wider than it is long, with the short rear deck creates a sportier appearance.

This car's styling has a rump-on-the-air stance that sometimes make backing up an adventure!

The tight body-chassis relationship results in no visible underguts hanging below the bodywork.

The result? A tight, svelte package that begs for power.

Engine/Transmission

Equipped with its standard engine, a 2.0L 16V SOHC I-4, the Breeze is a bit too big to be spunky equipped this way, especially with the optional four speed automatic.

A rather raucous engine, the 2.0L shows its virtue in fuel economy. With my usually spirited driving, the Breeze still averages 30 miles per gallon.

When it was introduced, this engine was rather advanced- possessing 4 valves per cylinder, overhead camshafts, and, in 2.4L form, twin balance shafts to smooth out secondary vibrations.

The 2.0L SOHC produces 132 hp @ 5860 RPM and 130 lb-ft torque.

The transmission is a bit of a disappointment. My car has the Kokomo, Indiana-built four speed automatic infamous for its failings. In addition to not being particularly efficient in early versions, this transmission has an unusual creaking spring sound when shifting into and out of gears, and, when coming to a stop, downshifts into first in such an awkward manner that it is sometimes work to drive smoothly.

Interior

The interior is very logically laid out with all of the controls falling readily into the driver's hand. The headlamps, turn signals, and beam control are handled by the left stalk, and the wipers are handled by the right stalk.

I am disappointed by the various rattles of the three-foot dash, although they are alleviated by occasional dismemberment and re-assembly. Materials are okay, with hard and soft-touch surfaces. Later dashes seem to be all hard plastic but with better graining and sheens.

The seats could use better, more well-defined bolstering and a longer seat cushion.

The stereo is only of the AM/FM variety, but the sound quality is okay with the base four speaker system.

Backlighting is of the same amber variety that permeates the rest of the car's instrument panel. It is very sharp and legible at night.

Excessive road noise permeates the cabin at speed, and every tar strip sounds like the waterspray when driving in wet conditions.

Handling/Suspension

The Breeze differs from most midsize sedans in that it has a short/long arm (SLA)suspension front and rear. This reportedly makes the car better handling than when relying on MacPherson struts alone.

To me, the car handles very well. It is the most nimble and "buttoned-down" car of the four I have owned.

The Verdict?

Great styling, great efficiency, and reliability.

Add more sound insulation and power with a set of hot wheels, this stunner would be a real runner. I love it!

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Been there done that. Ours had a major engine oil leak at 60k, and the transmission was going out when we dumped it aroun 65k.

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I have a 99 Breeze....if you see one for cheap, go for it...better engine, 6 speakers, reduced cabin noise, and power windows, lcks, and mirrors are standard for that year....its worth it.

BTW...most of the dash is still soft touch, leathery rubber...

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But... I've noticed that on some cloud cars the HVAC vents in the dash are universally black (agate in Chrysler-speak) regardless of the interior being Mist Gray, Silver Fern, Agate, or Camel. It looks like the cheap way out.

Hmm, I wonder why some of the dashes have all hard plastic, and some are rubberized?

Umm Raven... I've encountered a 2000 Stratus SE with the 2.0L engine and 4-speed automatic. And, my `96 car has all of that power stuff. It depended on which package the car was ordered with.

However, the extra sound insulation does sound inviting. But I wouldn't want a circa-2000 model- the rearview exterior mirrors are no longer heated. (And, on ES/LXi models had their speed-sensitive power steering deleted.

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