Chrysler's new New Yorker is still very comfy, needs less fuel

A $13,000 price tag on a car today is almost as common as eggs for breakfast. The well-equipped Oldsmobile Ciera I've been driving, for example, is priced in this area; so is a fully loaded full-size Chevrolet. And the list goes on.

But to find an upscale, high-comfort turnpike cruiser these days for $13,000 is a surprise. After all, the '82 Chrysler New Yorker--smaller and lighter than the '81--is designed to compete with the prestigious Cadillac and Lincoln Continental. It replaces the much larger, heavier Newport, New Yorker, and New Yorker Fifth Avenue models, which were discontinued midway through the '81-model year.

It's the best that Chrysler Corporation can manage these days given the state of its finances and depleted staff.

Indeed, the New Yorker--base-priced at under $12,000, although the Fifth Avenue version carries an additional $1,500 tag--does a good job, not only on the Interstate, but also on the bumpy, circuitous back roads.

Steering is tight and responsive, brakes quick, and passenger room ample.

Its lower weight has amply improved the economy (obviously) as well as the performance and drivability of the machine. But it's the comfort that sticks in one's thought long after the car has gone. Even the back-seat knee room is adequate for most people.

If you're 6 feet 2, you could have trouble with head room in back. Even so, it's better than in many cars of similar stature.

However, the standard engine--a 225-cubic-inch slant-6 with 3-speed automatic--is far too poky, both entering a fast road from an on-ramp and going uphill, to do more than exasperate the driver. A more beefy, 318-cubic-inch V-8 is available as an option.

Standard features are legion on the car, including power windows, steering, and brakes, fully reclining split-bench seats, air conditioning, and even a leather-covered steering wheel.

Sound insulation may not make a cocoon of the inside of the car, but it goes a long way in keeping unwanted outside noise out where it belongs.

A wide C-pillar tends to reduce visibility in the back-end quarters, however. Take care when you merge into traffic on an expressway.

The new New Yorker, a rear-drive car with a wheelbase of 112.7 inches, has an overall length of 205.7 inches, the same as last year's LeBaron 4-door, on whose platform it was modeled.

While a car such as this is no contender for high-mileage honors on the road, you can probably figure on an average of 16 or 17 miles to the gallon for all types of driving. The highway figure is up around 22 or 23 miles if conditions are right.

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