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Car review: Chrysler 300C saloon

It's big, American and over here. But can Chrysler's 300C saloon rival Germany's Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series? Car reviewer Tim Barnes-Clay put it to the test.

Chrysler 300c exterior

Have you ever tried navigating a corner in a tank?

No, neither have I. But the closet I've got to it is manoeuvring the latest Chrysler 300C around the twisty lanes of Britain.

Unfortunately, the suspension seems to turn to blancmange if you take a bend at any kind of speed.

What's also rather perturbing is that you need to stamp on the brakes to scrub off momentum.

There's nothing wrong with the brakes – it's just that you quickly become aware of the heaviness of the American saloon when it comes to stopping.

Chrysler 300C 'outlandish in every respect'

The car is outlandish in every respect.

Quite simply, it's too big for the UK's minor roads. But does that make it a bad motor? Not at all.

Certainly, it's expensive at nearly £40,000, and it's no match for German expresses like the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series. However it does have a brash stateside charm.

Indeed, the 300C has a unique position in the executive sector.

Unlike many rivals which offer a bewildering range of engine sizes and trim levels, the Chrysler comes in just two versions: Limited or Executive.

Chrysler 300C: Spec

Both are powered by a 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel which provides a good compromise between effortless pull and fuel-saving efficiency.

The top speed is 144mph and 0-62mph comes in 7.4 seconds. A whisker off 40mpg can also be achieved on an average run.

The car features a tried-and-tested, but somewhat outdated, five-speed automatic transmission.

As with a traditional auto, once "drive" has been selected the gearbox can be left to do its own thing.

Nevertheless, if you want more involvement, you can change up or down using steering-wheel mounted paddles. 

Read: Automatic versus manual: Which do you prefer?

Chrysler 300C comes well-equipped

The Chrysler 300C is a well-equipped motor.

I drove the top Executive model, which comes with a blind-spot monitoring system, cruise control and a panoramic sunroof.

It also features collision monitoring technology and colossal 20-inch alloy wheels.

Chrysler 300c interior

The cabin also has high-grade materials throughout, from leather seats to real wood on the dashboard.

It's a very comfortable motor to sit in for long periods of time.

The only downer is the ridiculous parking brake, operated via a foot pedal which you have to depress to release and then press in again to set.

It's a great idea – except it's positioned exactly where your left foot needs to rest.

The result? A grazed ankle if you forget the clunky contraption is there.

Chrysler 300C: Big but a pleasure to drive

As mentioned, the 300C's continental USA roots show when travelling around our tiny island, but it is a pleasurable motorway commuting tool.

On the straights it glides along and it's as quiet as a morgue.

This is thanks to a windscreen especially designed for exceptional acoustic performance, as well as triple seals around the doors. 

Furthermore, the Chrysler is one of the safest motors around, with a host of standard equipment that ensures you travel in maximum security.

High safety standards

To guarantee this, the Chrysler 300C saloon was tested in a variety of accidents.

Different impact speeds, assorted obstacles and the diverse physical characteristics of passengers were also taken into account.

The result is a car that combines the latest in active and passive protection devices with one of the strongest structures on the road.

Chrysler 300C: Pros & cons

  • Powerful √
  • Comfortable √
  • Well-appointed √
  • Expensive X
  • Size X
  • Weight X

Chrysler 300C: Fast facts

  • Max speed: 144 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 7.4 secs
  • Combined mpg: 39.2
  • Engine: 2987 cc V6 turbo diesel
  • Max. power (bhp): 236 at 4000 rpm
  • Max. torque (lb/ft): 399 at 1600-2800 rpm
  • CO2: 191 g/km
  • Price: £39,995 on the road  

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Tim Barnes-Clay

Leon Poultney

Tim is an experienced motoring writer with a background in radio and TV journalism. He puts his pedal to the metal each week with his must-read car reviews.

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