Chrysler 300C SRT-Design

Big, brash estate scores with its blend of character and value

He spec sheet of our long-term 300C Touring reads like a wish list – and with Chrysler, you get what you wish for. Inside, there are heated, eight-way electrically adjustable leather seats. And while the centre console has a simple look and uses low-rent plastics, it houses dual-zone climate control and a premium sound system with integrated sat-nav. There’s even a 30GB built-in hard drive to store music files – all fitted as standard.

Drivers also benefit from stability control and xenon headlamps, while the 218bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel is bigger and more powerful than the units you’ll find in similarly priced premium rivals. What you don’t get, though, is great cabin space. While the 300C measures five metres-plus in length, rear legroom is adequate, rather than generous. But the 630-litre boot is big, especially if you remove the standard luggage organiser.

The Touring’s extended roof line has other benefits, because it provides the 300C with a unique profile that accentuates the high waistline and narrow windows. With its massive grille and intricate 20-inch alloy wheels, the big Chrysler is an imposing sight from any angle.

Those gigantic rims and gargantuan proportions do come at a price. The alloys take the edge off the car’s otherwise relaxed ride by highlighting small surface imperfections – particularly at low speed. The huge dimensions make threading the Chrysler through crowded streets an awkward experience, too.

From behind the steering wheel, visibility is limited as well. Ross really enjoys the cosy feeling of the interior, but other drivers have complained that it’s claustrophobic, and compare the view out to peering through a letterbox. The 300C’s vast proportions and 1,945kg kerbweight also have a pronounced effect on the car’s dynamics – all of the Chrysler’s controls require hefty inputs. Its weighty steering feels slow and unresponsive, and while the brakes are powerful, the effort needed to actually stop the Tourer
always catches out first-time drivers.

Fast direction changes highlight its wallowy suspension, which takes time to settle when you turn into bends. The load-lugger is much better if you keep its front wheels pointing straight ahead, and with 510Nm of torque, there’s plenty of pace. The sluggish auto box is slow to respond, but once it has registered a prod of the throttle, the gruff V6 diesel delivers impressive performance.

Against the clock it leaves the Audi trailing in its wake, completing 0-60mph in 7.7 seconds – 4.1 seconds faster than the A6. It’s similarly devastating from a rolling start: the Chrysler covered 50-70mph in 4.7 seconds. The Audi felt short of muscle in comparison, as it required a full eight seconds to perform the same test.

The trade-off comes at the pumps, because despite having a diesel engine, the 300C managed only 28mpg. Official CO2 emissions of 215g/km are poor as well. So, is this enough to take the gloss off the strong performance and dramatic styling?

Details

Price: £33,255
Model tested: Chrysler 300C SRT-Design
Chart position: 2
WHY: We love its looks, but can our long-term 300C see off this revised premium rival?

Economy

Value for money models usually suffer from stiffer depreciation than their prestige counterparts. Yet according to our figures, the scarce 300C Touring does a respectable job of holding on to its value. It will retain 44.1 per cent of its list price after three years and 30,000 miles, which is marginally more than the Audi. Once that headache is dealt with, the other bugbear with the Chrysler is its fuel economy. A return of 28mpg is poor, and it gets worse in town. CO2 emissions of 215g/km put the big estate in road tax band F, too, so a year’s disc is £210. Company drivers will also be penalised by the car’s 34 per cent rating.

Environment

Weak fuel economy goes hand-in-hand with high CO2 emissions, and the 300C is no exception. An output of 215g/km ranks it two bands higher than the Audi when it comes to road tax.

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