Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2012 Chrysler 300c.
The styling may be a turn-off for some, but beyond that the Chrysler 300c is an excellent large car alternative.
The Chrysler 300 range starts from $43,000 and tops out at $66,000 for the sporty SRT-8 version.
There are three different engine options, a 3.6L V6 petrol, 6.4L V8 petrol, and 3.0L turbo diesel.
I had the $56,000 Luxury version powered by the diesel engine.
That power plant produces a healthy 176kW and a rather hefty 550Nm. Being a turbo, especially one in a rather bulky car like the 300c, the low speed acceleration is a little sluggish, an issue probably exacerbated by the five speed auto transmission which sometimes is a little slow to find the right gear.
Given a little more encouragement however the Chrysler gets up and moves along really well.
Now the best bit, the terrific fuel economy – I average just over 9L/100 in the city. The official combined figure is 7.2L/100 and that is amazing in a car this big, and this powerful.
On the road the 300C also delights with a very smooth and reassured ride, probably only let down slightly by the low profile 45 series tyres you get on the Luxury’s 20” alloys.
Low speed steering is also heavier than what you might expect in an “American” luxury car.
The first thing you notice when on the road in the Chrysler 300c is just how quiet it is in the cabin, Chrysler has done a tremendous job soundproofing this car and keeping out that road noise.
Just quickly back to the 300C’s external styling, sure it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I am a big fan of the nice polished alloy highlights you get on the Luxury including on the bumpers, wing mirrors and door handles.
The interior is generally very good, pleasing points include art-deco style gauges, leather seats (heated and cooled upfront) and partial leather door trims, Alpine stereo system, and an electric rear window screen which automatically lowers when reverse is selected.
The real highlight however is the massive multi-function control screen. It’s easy to use, looks great and because it’s so sizeable the reversing camera’s image is perfectly clear and easy to see.
Another very attractive addition is the driver info display which is not only really attractive but easy to read and use while driving.
In a car that’s overflowing with luxury, safety and convenience features the one thing I liked the most is the adaptive cruise control.
The system is easy to program and works well, I particularly like the fact the car will brake while travelling downhill to maintain the set speed, you can also adjust the speed up and down incrementally – for me this is a “must have” in a car.
Probably the only downside in the cabin of the Chrysler 300c was the existence of some hard plastic, particularly on the door trims.
Leg room is probably a touch less than you might expect and the same goes for the boot and interior storage areas as well.
And just quickly one other observation about the 300c – the doors open out to what seems nearly 90 degrees.
This of course makes for easy access, just beware however that the distance they open out can get you by surprise especially when parked next to other vehicles and other physical objects.
It can also be a touch difficult reaching for and closing the door if it’s in the fully open position.
If you’re in the market for a large car then you have to check the Chrysler 300c out. The diesel engine is a real winner, the car has plenty of features and personality, and in my book it matches, or betters the current Commodore and Falcon.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 3.0 litre turbo diesel V6 producing 176kW and 550Nm
Transmission: Five-speed auto
Safety: Not tested
Price: From $43,000
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: Chrysler LX2 300.