The Mopar stories site

1999 Chrysler Citadel: preview of the Chrysler Pacifica Crossover

Citadel gives hybrid a double meaning

by David Zatz

In 1999, Chrysler showed several key concepts which were to become real vehicles, including the Dodge Charger R/T. The actual Charger would not show up for years, nor would it resemble the concept much; but this was the first indication that the company might bring back the name, if nothing else. Closer to production was the Chrysler Citadel concept, a preview of the minivan-based crossover which had rave reviews but never quite got a foothold in the market.

1999 Chrysler Citadel concept car

The concept used a hybrid gas-electric powertrain never available in the production version; since it was a hybrid of a “sport sedan” and sport-utility, the company claimed it gave “hybrid” a double meaning. The press release added, “It provides the driving passion of the Chrysler 300M with ample cargo room.” 

hybrid engine

The hybrid-electric system, which was never used on a retail vehicle (the “over-the-road” power distribution setup was not practical), had a gasoline engine for the rear wheels and one or two Siemens motor for the front wheels. The release quoted 253 hp for the 3.5 liter gasoline engine and 70 hp for the electric motor(s)—323 hp in all. That was quite a hefty power figure for 1999.

four wheel drive hybrid

The actual Pacifica crossover was not based on the LH car platform, but on the minivan. It was driven by the company’s premium 3.5 liter V6, a sturdy, balanced, and efficient engine producing 250 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque with midgrade (89 octane) fuel. The production version had optional all wheel drive, but without the electric motor(s).

Shikado sketch of Citadel hybrid concept car

Chrylser Citadel (1999)

Clever body features tested out in the concept included power sliding doors and a retracting cargo door that slid under the floor. The B-pillar moved with the rear door to provide enough space for a wheelchair bound person to get into the driver’s seat. Neil Walling, who was in charge of Advanced Design and Exterior Large Car, Small Car, and Minivan Design, said, “We wanted them to be able to slide into the front seat, collapse their wheelchair and store it in the rear passenger seat, all without having to get out of the driver’s seat.”

The Citadel concept was based on the Concorde body, the largest of the LH cars at the time (the 300M was the smallest). The concept was 192 inches long, 75 inches wide, and just 59 inches tall, with a 125 inch wheelbase; by comparison, the Concorde itself was 209 inches long, riding on a 113 inch wheelbase. The Citadel had 19 inch front and 20 inch rear wheels.

Akinos sketch of Citadel interior

The original design was sketched by Osamu Shikado, who had done the exterior of the 1998 Chrysler Chronos concept. Shikado said that it had “heroic proportions,” but unlike the heritage-based Chronos, the Citadel was forward-looking. Ground clearance was two inches higher than the Concorde, and the body overall was three inches taller; storage space was 20 cubic feet, between the Concorde’s 18.7 cubic feet and the Plymouth Voyager’s 22.2 cubic feet. The rear seat could be folded down, flush with the cargo floor, to increase space.

1998 Citadel sketch

The interior design was led by Akino Tsuchiya, who wanted to create an art deco interpretation of European luxury, keeping the “serious business look” but adding character to it. She used wood, black jade leather, brushed aluminum, and chrome accents. The gauges were influenced by “high end sports watches.” 

photo - iside the 1999 Citadel concept car

The Citadel was impressive to Chrysler’s media people—so much so that they made it the cover of their 1999 concepts press book, rather than the Charger, Power Wagon, or Jeep Commander.

Art & Science concepts

The front suspension was taken from the 1998 300M; the rear suspension was modified from the Prowler’s. Brakes were borrowed from the Viper. The engine, as in the LH cars, was laid out in a north-south arrangement, driving the rear wheels; the east-west electric motor(s) drove the front wheels. The transmission was the 42LE, with a Dana 44 rear axle. (The release refers to “motors” in the text but one motor in the specifications.)

Dimensions were, in inches unless noted:

Length - 192 (125” wheelbase)
Width - 75
Height - 59
Track - 65
Curb weight - around 4,000 lb

press book

sketches in press book

1999 Chrysler Citadel taillights

Current and future

Support us with Patreon

Books by MoTales writer David Zatz

Copyright © 2021-2024 Zatz LLC • Chrysler / Mopar car stories and history.