Chrysler 300C (2005-2011) review

The Chrysler is not perfect, but no other rival has the same visual impact.

Overall Auto Express Rating

2.0 out of 5

Driving The huge 300C is surprisingly agile for one so large. There's lots of grip and it can be driven with much more vigour than you'd expect. And while the steering suffers excessive kickback, this doesn't spoil overall driver enjoyment. Ride quality is excellent, and the big Chrysler is superb on the motorway – though body control could be better over rough roads, where the suspension struggles. The Mercedes-sourced diesel has ample grunt, proving smooth and potent on the road (though it can be a little noisy at high revs). The most difficult aspects of 300C motoring are parking and low-speed manoeuvrability. It's more than five metres long and the dash stretches out far ahead, making the front difficult to place. Even the rear view mirror is difficult to adjust as it's so far from the driver.

Marketplace The 300C is one of the most unmistakable cars on the road, with real presence. For buyers looking for something different, the Chrysler fits the bill perfectly. It was facelifted in 2008, but changes were subtle, limited to revised rear light clusters and a boot spoiler for the saloon. Chrysler keeps the line-up of four-door saloon and five-door Touring estate models simple: there is a niche 6.1-litre V8 SRT-8 performance model, but the bulk of 300C sales are powered by a Mercedes-supplied 3.0-litre CRD turbodiesel, mated to a standard auto gearbox. The mainstream trim line is straightforward, too – either standard or SRT-Design variants, the latter with muscle car styling cues. The market for executive cars is dominated by saloons from the big three German makers - Audi with its A6, BMW's 5-Series and the Mercedes E-Class. But there are value options like the Chrysler too, including the elderly Saab 9-5 and mediocre Peugeot 607.

Owning Although interior packaging isn't brilliant, the 300C is so big that rear legroom is very impressive. Larger passengers may find headroom tight though, while the transmission tunnel is intrusive. Seat comfort isn't a problem but the large steering wheel adjusts for rake only, not reach. Design and layout are good and build quality is reasonably impressive - not Audi-standard, but decent - while equipment levels are unrivalled! Predictably, there's a large boot (which, annoyingly, lacks an external release handle). The Tourer offers 630 litres of space even with the rear seats in place – dropping them increases this to 1,602 litres. However, fuel economy could be better. Despite being a diesel, the 3.0-litre CRD averages just 34.9mpg. Residuals are pretty decent, though. Chrysler has a reasonably comprehensive dealer network in the UK, too and service intervals are a decent 12,500 miles. Insurance ratings mirror executive competitors.

Engines, performance and drive

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MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

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Interior, design and technology

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Practicality, comfort and boot space

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Reliability and Safety

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