The day before the Chicago Auto Show’s media days begin, they hold a “concept & technology garage.” It’s an opportunity for greedy, greasy-fingered journos like me to drive things like a 707 hp Dodge Challenger inside McCormick Place. Or launch the new Mustang Mach-E from a standstill to 60mph inside McCormick Place. This year there wasn’t much to drive, but Stellantis (Chrysler, Fiat, Peugot, Citroen) brought along a few concept vehicles and one happened to be the Airflow. We’d seen photos of it from it’s debut at CES and it’s re-debut at the NY auto show but this was the first chance we had to get intimate with it.
This one was Galaxy Black (think black with a lot of gold flake in the paint – it’s going to blind people in the sun) with cool copper-colored wheels and a copper accent line that runs up the front A-pillar and stops as the C-pillar begins the slope down into the rear of the car. It was kind of a big deal because if you know anything about Chrysler the auto nameplate, you know they desperately need some new product. They currently offer a minivan and a four-door luxury sedan that’s almost as old as Lee Iacocca. The Airflow is a breath of fresh air. Chrysler NEEDS this vehicle. And giving it the name of an iconic model from it’s past was a nice touch.
The Airflow is a 2+2 four-door crossover-type SUV. It’s large enough that four adults could fit comfortably in it’s spacious interior. It’s styling is beautifully done. If you saw it on the street, you’d immediately think “Chrysler” yet it looks like no other Chrysler vehicle I can think of. The wheels (those gorgeous wheels) are pushed out to the four corners so there’s minimal overhang. It’s almost as if Chrysler’s old “cab-forward” design language is making a comeback but in an updated form. It looks good.
Inside is a spacious, airy interior with clean lines and quilted white leather seats. The whole dashboard is a series of digital screens loaded with information. Aside from a knob on the center console, everything is touchscreen. Even the “buttons” on the steering wheel are touchscreen buttons. There are floating consoles for the front seats and rear seats but it breaks between the front and back rows so people can climb out either side in back. There is plenty of room for groceries behind the rear seats. The entire roof is an electrochromatic window, tinting when the sun is hot and lighting when it’s not.
The Airflow will be AWD and have separate electric motors driving the front and rear wheels. The EV batteries should give a range of roughly 400 miles on a charge.