We keep hearing that large rear-wheel drive sedans are a dying breed with sales of the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon taking a tremendous hit over recent years. Why is it then that Chrysler thinks it can take a slice of that market with its 300C, and would you buy it if it was a diesel? EFTM tried to figure it out for itself.
This is a car which you will have seen on the road – those bold looks, the wide stance, the low roof or squat windows, but with sales not in the realm of the bigger brands they are still a unique find on the road.
The 10 minute test-drive
It honestly feels daunting to walk up to the 300C let alone jump behind the wheel, it feels as big inside when you sit down as it looks from the outside. Around the dash you’ll see a mix of good old fashioned analog (the clock) above an 8.4-inch touch screen which controls not just your audio and satellite navigation but all the vehicle settings like seat warmers and climate control.
Fully adjustable seats with two memory settings and a steering column with an electronically controlled large reach when adjusted are just a hint of the technology you’re surrounded by.
Keyless start is becoming standard but for many this will still seem a luxury, while for some reason Chrysler has thrown all that technological brilliance aside and implemented a foot controlled park brake – easily the worst feature of the entire car.
However, once rolling you’ll get a great grip on the thick wooden steering wheel and a not too complex assortment of buttons on the wheel, including some well placed track and volume shift buttons on the back-side of to allow easy finger touch.
The steering on the 300c is heavy, but not more than you would want with a vehicle this size. The reversing camera dominates the center console screen when reversing while the in-built Garmin satellite navigation is both easy to use and integrated into your dash cluster for next turn advice.
Around the streets you’ll feel the power of the torque from the diesel which is also as quiet a church mouse and happily wafts along in quite a serene way. It’s hard to fault the raw driving experience.
Under the hood
Open the boot to get a sense of scale – this thing is huge, you’ll fit more than all the family luggage while for the shorter shopping trips you have a simple cargo net to hold loose items and shopping bag hooks on both sides to secure things and make for easy unpacking. Add to that the 60/40 split-fold rear seats and you’re never going to be short on space.
While we drove the 176kW/550Nm 3.0l diesel (DOHC 24-valve turbo), there are three options in total; a 3.6l V6 and a 6.4l V8 SRT Hemi – so you’re covered no matter what you’re looking for.
Along with the Electronic Stability control the 300c features brake assist and all-speed traction control.
The UConnect infotainment system allows for auxiliary and USB input as well as Bluetooth streaming with dash controls (however track/artist information does not carry across to the in-dash screen). The hands free system is great quality from our testing.
This car is not all about features or specifications, it’s also about looks. Admittedly styling is a fraction more conservative than previous models, however it still has huge road presence. You’ll turn more heads than a tennis match in this thing, and for some that combined with the fact they aren’t seen on every corner makes the 300C a very enticing option.
At around $50,000 it’s not an entry level large family car, however the features inside from safety to entertainment mean you can’t help but compare it once you start jumping up the price ladder of the competitors.
It’s a buyers market
If you’re shopping around for a Commodore (Berlina, Calais, SV6 etc) then consider the 300C. Same goes for Ford’s Falcon. The 300C isn’t about pure driving or handling, but it does well.
The hip pocket
Fuel Consumption on the diesel we drove worked out very close to the 9.5l/100 quoted by Chrysler for city driving, and overall we were able to get to around seven for highway and city combined. It’s a diesel after all so you’d expect as much. Chrysler requires a 10,000km service interval, with a three year 100,000km warranty
The lasting impression
The 300C is very well equipped for the money. The entertainment inclusions and the quality of the interior all mean you need to compare more than just shape and price.
EFTM rubber stamp.
This beast gets the EFTM stamp for bold looks and generous standard inclusions – it’s well worth a look