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First Drive

Road Test: Chrysler 300C 3.0 V6 CRD 4dr Auto

£27,924 when new
Published: 31 Oct 2005
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • BHP

    215bhp

  • 0-62

    7.6s

  • CO2

    215g/km

  • Max Speed

    143Mph

  • Insurance
    group

    38E

Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, Rio Ferdinand... as celebrity car endorsements go, the Chrysler 300C needs no more help to confirm its cool status.

Add to that a choice of meaty petrol engines capable of moving nearly two tons of metal to 60mph in less than seven seconds and you've got a car to lust after. And that's despite the fact that Wayne Rooney ordered one too.

However, the 300C has two problems: it's not quite good enough to tempt drivers of established German exec rivals, and even the smaller V6 engine will take an age to fill at the pump.

But so committed is Chrysler to cracking the UK market with this car, it has an answer: from January, the 300C will be available with three-litre, 218bhp, diesel power.

As you'd expect, it's a much more efficient choice than the V6 or V8 petrol engines, averaging a claimed 34.9mpg on the combined cycle.

Best news, though, is that the Merc-sourced V6 serves up a class-leading 376lb ft torque, which means there's plenty of urge even from tiny revs. The engine works well with the auto 'box and, from inside the car at least, remains quiet.

On the road, the criticisms levelled at the petrol models remain - the 300C has a sharp low-speed ride that turns a little floaty at speed. In other words, even with suspension adjusted for European roads, it still feels American. For its size, though, it holds everything together reasonably well if you carry speed through twisty B-roads.

The 300's good for carrying passengers too - it'll sit five adults in comfort and, with the myriad driving positions available, you'll be the cosiest of them all. Build quality is still a bit patchy in places, though.

There's also a huge boot, but should you want to carry more than three sets of golf clubs, Chrysler will soon be able to sell you an estate version. Both models will find their way into Chrysler dealerships early next year.

Prices for the diesel saloon have been pegged at the same level as the V6 petrol, which at £25,750 is one thing that does compare favourably with the Germans.

The big question is, should you buy one? That depends on what you're looking for. If you're used to BMW/Merc quality, think twice. If you want something different with a bit of kitsch gangster cool then go ahead - we dare you.

Paul Regan

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