Chrysler 300C

If you value style over out-and-out practicality, the Chrysler certainly won't disappoint

Driving a 300C is all about making a statement, and the Touring variant is even more eye-catching than the four-door. The sharp styling is matched by a gutsy V6 diesel powerplant, which makes the oil-burner the pick of the flagship Chrysler's engine range. If you value style over out-and-out practicality, the newcomer certainly won't disappoint.

Punchy powerplants, tempting prices and jaw-dropping looks give Chrysler's 300C saloon plenty of appeal. But one variant is all this, and practical, too. Meet the 300C Touring, which has just arrived in the UK.

The estate is a sight to behold, as its sheer scale dwarfs other executive load-luggers. Part of the Touring's visual impact is down to the windows - the high waistline leaves a small glass area, emphasised by the bodyshape.

Open the boot and with the rear seats in place, its 630-litre capacity is 126 litres greater than the saloon's. Fold the seats and 1,602 litres of space is available. That's better than some class rivals, although the shape of the load bay limits overall practicality.

A removable boot floor improves versatility, while loading is easy thanks to the large tailgate. The rest of the cabin matches the four-door's, and all occupants have plenty of room.

Only the dashboard and switchgear disappoint. They feel as though they've been built to a budget, and aren't quite up to the same quality as the German competition. On the road, the Touring's additional weight over the 300C saloon makes little difference. Our test model, powered by the excellent Mercedes-sourced V6 diesel engine, sprinted from 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds - one second behind its four-door stablemate. Thanks to a wave of torque at low revs and a smooth-shifting automatic transmission, the newcomer will leave few owners wanting better performance.

When the road gets twisty, however, the Touring suffers from the same vague steering and lack of finesse as the saloon. The 300C is better suited to cruising - when it never fails to turn heads. Both the petrol and diesel V6 Touring models are £27,250 - that's £1,500 more than the saloon - while a 5.7-litre V8 variant costs from £34,245. Estates have never been so cool.

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