Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the Chrysler 300 SRT-8 Core.
You have to hand it to the guys and girls at Chrysler for their generosity; the Core version of the SRT-8 gets you all the awesomeness of the full-on SRT-8, but is $10,000 cheaper!
Sure, there are some differences in equipment, but the main reason why you would buy an SRT-8 – the 6.4 litre V8 Hemi engine, is exactly the same.
Producing a jaw-dropping 347kW and 631Nm, the big Hemi is just ridiculously good fun!
Matched to a five-speed auto as standard, the Chrysler 300 SRT-8 Core really draws on the true muscle car experience. It sounds great, goes hard and when the transmission is shifting down (primarily when in Sport mode) the exhaust makes a satisfying crackle and pop.
Speaking of that acceleration, plant your right foot and the traction control really has a hard time keeping the rear wheels on the tarmac, if you are crazy you can try turning-off the traction control, don’t say I didn’t warn you of the tyre smoking result!
Not surprisingly, the big Hemi doesn’t mind drinking unleaded, the official combined figure is 13.0L/100km, and I averaged up to 22.0L/100km when pushing the big sedan hard in ‘Sport’ mode. Around town though, if you are very conservative, you can expect about 14.0L/100km.
Beyond the awesome acceleration and effortless power, the SRT-8 Core handles remarkably well for a big sedan pushing two-tonnes. The 20” alloys are standard and despite having low-profile 45 series tyres the ride is actually pretty good.
Steering is pretty sharp and direct, though the weight is fairly heavy when completing low speed manoeuvres such as parking.
The huge 4-spot (all round) Brembo brakes are superb!
Inside the cabin, fit and finish in the vehicle I had was impressive, the Chrysler products can sometimes be a little sub-par in this regard, but no major complaints here.
The seats are superb; the Core comes with completely fabric seats (as opposed to mix of leather and fabric in the full SRT-8) and they do a great job of both holding you firm and keeping you comfy.
I’m still not mad about the foot operated parking brake, but that’s about my only real complaint in the cabin. As I have noted before the centre display screen in the 300 range is both huge and exceptionally easy to use – a real highlight.
I love that the radio also gives you detailed song info, including previous song, current song and the next song to play!
Interestingly the Core version doesn’t come standard with a reversing camera (and it’s not even an option!), satellite navigation is yours for an extra $1000!
Despite these exclusions, the big Chrysler comes stacked with standard features including; front and rear parking sensors, electronically adjustable steering (height and reach), ambient lighting, DVD player, electric front seats and bi-xenon headlights.
The leather wrapped steering wheel is also a highlight.
Visibility from the driver’s seat is quite good, though rear visibility is a little less than most other sedans due to the low roof-line; large wing-mirrors certainly help.
Legroom all round is good and the boot is very generously sized.
Summing it up, the Chrysler 300 SRT-8 Core represents tremendous value for money. For the amount of dollars you have to pay the fun and the features you get are worth every cent. What I like most about it though is that you can still drive this vehicle conservatively and in comfort when the need arises.
If you’re thinking about joining the SRT-8 owners club, I say – grab yourself a Core!
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 6.4 litre Hemi V8 delivering 347kW and 631Nm
Transmission: Five-speed auto
Safety: Not tested
Price: From $56,000.