Chryslers new 300C looks an awful lot like the last one & the reason for that is that Chrysler 300C customers like the way it looks, with its imposing lines & extravagant presence on the roads.
But, a lot has changed in the last 5 years to distance the new 300C well away from it’s former gas guzzling engines, to the more frugal Multi Jet 2 diesel technology, now that Chrysler is part of the Fiat Auto Group.
Badged Chrysler 300C in the UK & the Lancia Thema in mainland Europe, it is part of Fiats plan to join together the Chrysler & Fiat brands in an efficient way, which has already seen the Lancia Ypsilon & Delta, come to the UK as the Chrysler Ypsilon & Delta.
At first sight, the 300C is incredibly imposing. But don’t be fooled. This may be a big car, but’s it’s incredibly easy to drive, almost too easy, as it can be driven with a lot less care than a large car of this size should be. It handles very well indeed & you’d be forgiven for thinking that Fiat have played a trick on you, as it feels light around corners & is easy to park, not how you’d think by looking at it. The auto box works well too meaning you don’t need to use the flappy paddles.
The range has been simplified with just the Limited costing £35,995 & the range topping Executive at £39,995 available to UK customers. This is a very sensible decision as the 300C is always going to be a niche choice for mangers & directors who want something other than a BMW, Audi, Merc on their drive. In Chryslers favour, it comes with a lot of kit, including on my test model, 20 ” alloys, a blind spot monitoring system,an 8.4″ colour touch screen display, AM/FM/DVD/HDD /DAB radio with sat nav, nappa leather seats , heated front seats & steering wheel, U connect Bluetooth with voice control, a 506 watt amplifier, dual pane sunroof with shade, leather wrapped dash & centre console, 9 speakers with a sub woofer, flappy paddles, active pedestrian protection, 2 heated & cooled cup holders, adaptive bi-xenon HID headlights, Keyless go, ParkSense front & rear park assist & a forward collision warning system. It all looks & feels good, apart from the wood finishing inside, which just looks wrong, cheapening what in effect is a lovely comfortable cabin.
However, what is more impressive with the new 300C, are it’s figures of 39.2 mpg on the combined cycle & believe, unlike most cars I test, the 300C did actually get close to this claimed figure, as I averaged over 38 mpg in my week & 400 miles testing it. It’s no slouch though , going from 0-62.5 mph in 7.4 seconds & on to a top speed of 144 mph. The only downside to this rapid performance, is the high figure of 191 g/km for it’s CO2 emissions.
Everybody who had a ride in the 300C liked it. Some because they felt it looked like a Bentley, others because it was comfortable & well equipped & me well, because it was actually enjoyable to drive even though in the colour supplied white, I felt like I should be taking a bride to her wedding !
Overall, the 300C won me over. It’s not cheap & there’s an awful lot of cars you can have for 40K that you may put above it on your shopping list. But, it drives surprisingly well, looks completely different to other cars in it’s class & has some serious presence on the road . So if you’re bore of your German workhorse, or Chelsea tractor, the 300C may just be what your looking for.