Chrysler 300C Luxury First Drive Car Review
Tony Bosworth reviews the Chrysler 300C Luxury with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.
IN A NUTSHELL: It looks big and hulking but the Chrysler 300C Luxury is surprisingly nimble, and not bad on fuel either. It’s a lot of metal for the money.
PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS: If you want a big rear wheel drive car that’s packed with equipment, comes at a decent price ($55,649 drive-away), and drives very smoothly indeed, then this could be the machine for you.
THE CHRYSLER 300C isn’t an uncommon site on Aussie roads, but it’s failed to turn us off the local offerings, of Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore. And, that’s a shame, because it’s well-built, well-appointed and is a decent drive.
Recent changes have brought the 300C into line with other products in the portfolio. Indeed, there’s a definite link between the look of the Chrysler 300C and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Despite looking more ‘family’, there’s absolutely no mistaking the 300C when it steams up behind you on the road – it simply can’t be anything else and it’s a look that polarizes.
The Luxury, which we’re driving, is powered by Chrysler’s service-all 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 which produces 210kW at 6350rpm and 340Nm at 4650rpm. Courtesy of the recent model revision, is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Power is sent to the rear wheels.
The 3.6-litre V6 in the 300C is train-like in its power delivery and the automatic transmission changes up and down smoothly and instantly to the slightest pressure change on the throttle. Some American cars of yore felt a bit flimsy with minimal sound insulation, not so the 300C. Thanks to input from parent Fiat, which sells the 300C in Europe as a Lancia, the feel of the vehicle is a lot more refined than 300Cs in the past.
Now, if you’re six foot tall or so, then I’m sure you’ll have no stretch to reach the throttle, but, hello, Chrysler, we’re not all built like that. The problem is, though the electric seat is amazingly articulate and has a myriad of positions, if you’re short like me the driver’s seat has to be too far forward before you can reach the throttle comfortably. In the back there’s plenty of head, shoulder and leg room for passengers.
While the steering feels a bit woolly in the straightahead position its responsive and direct just off centre. Turn-in is swift and there’s plenty of well-weighted feel. There’s very little body roll for such a big machine and the level of grip is high, though on tighter roads you do still feel the size of the thing and a lack of decent lateral support in the seats will have you sliding from side to side.
There’s plenty of grip on offer and, so, once you get used to the 300C’s size it does seem to shrink down around you. What you will feel though, if you, ahem, give it a shove from a standing start is the rear diff thumping as it engages. The 300C offers a sportingly firm ride (not something you normally expect from an American car) but, even across poor surfaces, there’s enough composure to keep it from tripping over itself in potholes.
Standard equipment includes a heated steering wheel and seats – both front and rear – and heated/cooled drinks’ holders, as well as nice looking leather upholstery and even a rear electrically operated sun-blind. While the finish is generally of a very high quality, the wood inserts look a little too much like plastic to trick any but the near-sighted. There’s the usual techno-wizadry, including front and rear parking sensors, rear-view camera, proximity sensors for keyless entry, eight-way power adjust on driver and passenger seats, and the 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen which controls sat-nav and multimedia. And the lovely analogue clock in the centre of the dash is a stunner.
In terms of safety, the Chrysler 300C only gets a four-star ANCAP crash safety rating but gets a raft of active and passive safety features, including ABS with Brakeforce Distribution, stability and traction control systems, parking sensors, and seven airbags.