The reasoning behind choosing the right car differs dramatically from one buyer to the next. The rationale would naturally revolve around price, features and comfort. Others may delve deep into the spec sheet looking for performance discrepancies between models. But if straight out looks dominate your desires than surely the Chrysler 300c wins just about every battle.
The 10 Minute Test Drive
The Chrysler 300c Luxury (as tested) simply knocks you over visually. It’s always been a brash, delightfully different looking sedan. The latest incarnation tapers back some of the more brutal, underground looks but still maintains that kind of Rolls Royce presence.
Inside, the combination of leather dash trim, faux wood trim and the overall layout further add to the sense of sophistication. It’s a mightily impressive place to sit and quite frankly it’s hard to replicate the sense of grandeur at this price.
Once rolling on those 20 inch polished aluminium rims, you realise the big Yank actually knows how to handle these days. Suspension tweaks make pointing the huge slab like, twin creased nose through corners much easier than before. Steering is direct and well weighted although in a straight line tends to wander off centre. The benchmark for driving dynamics in this segment is surely the VF Holden Commodore; the Chrysler can’t match the Aussie’s well-honed poise but has drawn closer than ever before.
But it’s hardly a speeding bullet, the 8-speed 210kW 3.6-litre V6 while creamy and willing, simply can’t haul the substantial 1,897kg kerb weight around as swiftly you may long for.
But it’s very hard to turn a blind eye to those regal looks. There’s a kind of “king of the road” type illusion going on.
In’s and Out’s
The “Luxury” edition certainly comes loaded. Technology goodies like blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beam only scratch the surface. Not much has been left out making it a value for money bonanza. Check out our “In the EFTM Garage” spotlight for a full feature list here.
The Penstastar 3.6-litre V6 (210kW @6,350 rpm / 340Nm @4,650 rpm) is a standout; one that has earned international acclaim via Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition. Being matched to a rare 8-speed auto extracts the best possible combination of power delivery and finesse. But the hefty frame as mentioned does hold things back a little.
I’d like to see a little more traction from the massive wheels; they are surprisingly slick in both dry and wet conditions.
With the right colour choice, window tint and rim size any Chrysler 300c can look seriously hot. Don’t even get me started on the black SRT8 Core 300c we have for you next week. The dazzling Bi-Xenon headlamps, glitzy LED daytime running lights and edgy silhouette make for a highly desirable and obtainable offering.
The Hip Pocket.
At present $43,000 will get you into the bottom of the pile 300c Limited. Our Luxury test model plateaus out at $51,000. In between Chrysler offers a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel priced from $48,000. These are very good numbers for an enormously substantial car.
Pleasingly it’s far from a petrol thief at the pump. EFTM’s traditional test route, New South Wales Bells Line of Road produced a 9.0l / 100km figure over 305.2km of mountainous terrain.
Despite all my platitudes there are still a handful of gripes. The gear shift lever is ridiculous, finding park and drive will send you cuckoo initially as you awkwardly flick up and down the unnecessary complicated stick.
There’s a heavy emphasis on perceived quality, and it’s executed well. But an inquisitive eye will spot the odd quality control deficiency. There’s the odd squeak and rattle and the occasional clumsily aligned bit of plastic.
Aside from some superficial letdowns the 300c feels structurally robust and very well assembled.
EFTM Rubber Stamp.
The Chrysler 300c Luxury has an aura about it that leaves most of the locally produced (for now) and other competitors in the dark. It’s kind of like the type of person who walks into a room and commands everyone’s attention
As a result it earns the EFTM Credit Rubber Stamp.