Stars and stripes struck
It’s a Benz beneath, but its appeal is all-American
The imposing looks of the Chrysler 300C stood out in a sea of similarity.
Chrysler was allied with Mercedes-Benz when the 300C was launched here back in 2005, but that relationship was terminated some time ago and the brand is now part of the Fiat empire.
There has long been a hankering for American cars in this country and the 300Cwas warmly welcomed when it hit our shores with its blend of bold styling and V8 power. Its muscular looks struck a chord. Itwas different; itwas tough, and appealed tomany Australians.
Inside, it had everything you could want, with leather, woodgrain and chrome, and a host of features. The seats were comfortable and therewas ample room for five adults and therewas a sizeable boot as well.
The V8 has an enduring appeal and Chrysler offered two in the 300C. For those who were happy to do without the excess therewas aV6 and a turbo-diesel. The 3.5-litre V6 powered the entry model and delivered all the zip you could want, while the common-rail turbo-diesel extended the distance between fuel stops for those seeking a more economical ride. But the V8s were the stars. At 5.7 and 6.1 litres, both were big capacity engines and offered the smooth punch that is characteristic of a sizeable V8, but they also delivered the fuel economy of a smaller engine. Thatwas the result of Chrysler’s cylinder shutdown tech (MDS) that switched off up to four cylinders under light throttle cruise conditions to save fuel.
All engines were mated to five-speed auto transmissions, and the final drive was through the rear wheels. The size and weight of the 300C became evident on the road, but itwas smooth and comfortable and handled with surprising aplomb.
The American car industry fell well behind the rest of theworld in terms of build quality, its cars were often shoddily built and there were complaints about the 300C even after Benz took control of the company. Fit and finish were the focus of most of the critical comments but there was little adverse comment about reliability.
The 300C is generally reliable and potential used car buyers can approach one with reasonable confidence.
Still, it’s well worth while getting your chosen car tested before you do the deal.
You could test it yourself if you’re confident of being able put it through its paces and identify any issue it might have.
If you’re not that confident, have a mechanic experienced in working on the brand go over it for you.
Aworthy prestige choice, providing you are comfortable with the fuel consumption.