Estate shoot-out

Road tester Ross Pinnock tells us why he loves his long-term Chrysler 300C. But could he yet be tempted by Audi’s new A6?

You don’t really get to know somebody until you live with them – and it’s just the same with cars. Auto Express has been running a Chrysler 300C Touring on its long-term fleet since June, and the unique blend of style and value has made it a big hit with road tester Ross Pinnock.

Distinctive looks, a powerful V6 diesel engine and a generous equipment list... the appeal behind our flagship SRT-Design model is clear for all to see. But is the US car all chrome and no substance? Can it really take on a polished premium estate rival? To find out, we’ve dangled the keys of a freshly revised prestige model in front of our Chrysler’s regular driver. The sober-suited Audi A6 Avant looks restrained when pictured next to the 300C, but an imposing design isn’t the only thing Ross will have to sacrifice to make the swap. That’s because to get close to the £33,255 list price of the six-cylinder Chrysler you have to opt for Audi’s smaller, less powerful 2.0-litre diesel model.

And unlike the A6, our 300C also comes with all the bells and whistles as standard. So far, these have helped to gloss over its weaknesses – but will they be enough to fend off one of the smartest German alternatives, fresh from a mid-life nip and tuck?

Verdict

Few cars at any price can match the sheer impact of the Chrysler. With its dramatic looks the 300C Touring manages to make a real impression, while it also leaves its
rival in the shade in terms of performance.

The Audi plays to different strengths, with subtle styling and more affordable running costs. It offers greater practicality, too, plus it’s less intimidating to drive. While the Chrysler is sure to put a smile on your face, it’s just as capable of causing the odd scowl – and that’s why we think the A6 would be the better everyday bet.

So, would our man Pinnock trade his Yank tank for the lower-powered, lower-spec German model? Probably not. He admits that on paper the Audi is the clear winner, but he’s smitten with the 300C, warts and all. Just goes to show, there’s no accounting for taste...

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