Chrysler 300C review

Our Rating: 
3
3.0/5.0
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Chrysler 300C offers huge space, imposing style and vastly improved cabin quality for far less money than its German rivals

For: 
Well equipped, good legroom, clever safety kit
Against: 
One engine is inefficient, small boot, poor rear headroom

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The previous-generation Chrylser 300C disappeared from the UK when the new emissions regulations came into force, but the all-new version gets improved styling and a luxurious new cabin. Technical improvements include a new suspension set-up, which has been tuned specifically for Europe and a cleaner V6 diesel engine from the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Unlike the previous model, no estate version will be offered, but the company is promising that prices will significantly undercut its premium rivals.

Our choice: 300C 3.0 CRD Limited

Styling

3.8

The brash styling of the last Chrysler 300C has been toned down for this new version, but it will still make an impact on arrival. With high shoulder lines, short overhangs and the option of imposing 20-inch alloys, it has strong road presence. It now features C-shaped LED running lights at the front, and a single piece of chrome runs along the rear bumper, joining the rear light clusters together. Inside, cabin quality has vastly improved. Most of the major controls have been replaced by an 8.4-inch touchscreen display, which controls everything from the heated seats to the electric sunblinds, while soft leather and high-quality materials replace the cheap plastics of the outgoing version.

Driving

3.6

The UK will get just one engine option to start, a 3.0-litre V6 diesel which will be offered with 236bhp and 550Nm. That’s good for a top speed of 144mph and a 0-62mph sprint time of just 7.4 seconds – impressive stats for a car of its size, and consequently the 300C is an accomplished motorway cruiser. Road and engine noise are minimal and the steering is well weighted, if a little numb. The ride can become very jittery over more broken surfaces too.

Reliability

3.8

The Chrysler 300C received the full five-star crash test rating when it was tested by Euro NCAP. It's bursting with hi-tech safety kit, and Chrysler boasts that it comes with over 70 active and passive safety systems. Chief among these is a new Rain Brake Support feature that removes water from the discs in wet weather for more effective stopping power. There's also adaptive cruise control, and a blind-spot indicator, which flashes and beeps to alert you to the presence of other cars. The bonnet is fitted with a pop-up device to protect pedestrians in the event of a crash. Build quality is good, and the 300C feels better put together than before. All the mechanical systems have a proven track record – but be aware that the parts are quite expensive to fix.

Practicality

3

The Chrysler 300C is a seriously big car - in the same league as the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class - but it's not as practical as you might expect. There's a huge amount of space inside for passengers, with lots of legroom, but headroom will be a little tight for anyone over six feet tall. There are lots of storage cubbies, and the cup-holders in the centre console can be heated or chilled to your liking. Despite clever touches like this, the boot is disappointingly small. At just 481 litres, it's smaller than both the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6, and the odd shape of the boot and lack of a flat floor makes fitting bigger items a tricky affair. Unlike the previous model, there are no plans for an estate version.

Running Costs

3

Unfortunately, the big Chrysler 300C can’t match its European rivals when it comes to efficiency. The V6 diesel doesn’t come equipped with any modern fuel-saving technology like stop-start or energy recuperation, and although it returns a reasonable 39.8mpg and 185g/km of CO2 – that's pretty poor for company car or fleet customers, while opting for the bigger 20-inch wheels pushes the carbon emissions to 191g/km. Other running costs should be more manageable, including insurance and servicing, and the 300C comes with much more standard kit than any of its premium rivals.

Last updated: 5 May, 2012
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