The arrival of the Chrysler 300C 3,0 CRD at the CAR office was a momentous occasion. The pearlescent-ivory executive saloon has such a monolithic, garage-filling presence that only one of the vehicles in the long-term test fleet, the rather gargantuan Infiniti FX SUV, can match it for sheer showiness.
Some of us believed the public’s fascination with the 300C’s retro muscle-car image, and the obsession with cubic inches and burbling resistance to sterilised, aerodynamic design it symbolises, had lost impetus by the time the second-generation of the Chrysler saw the light. But, so far, we’ve been proven wrong.
The light paint finish certainly highlights the Chrysler’s expansive horizontal plains and boxy extremities, but the brushed-chrome garnishes in the grille, below the headlamps, along the flanks and round the taillamp clusters seem to soften the 300C’s appearance. The LED-adorned headlamp clusters and 20-inch polished, forged aluminium wheels prompt excited kids to affix their faces to the insides of school-bus windows when the Chrysler rolls by, while the gawk-inducing effect on adult observers round town has been just as notable.
The cabin design and layout is going to split opinion right down the middle. Featuring two-tone dark and light-frost nappa leather, faux wood trim, chunky switchgear and light-blue backlit instrumentation, the 300C’s brown-and-beige cabin is an acquired taste. The front seats afford myriad options for electric adjustment, heating and ventilation, but not much lateral support. It’s also regrettable that a saloon with a 3 052 mm wheelbase offers merely adequate levels of rear leg- and headroom.
As a daily driver, the 3,0 CRD eschews dynamic handling to the benefit of occupants’ comfort and relaxation. The steering wheel offers little feel or feedback, and in normal driving mode the five-speed automatic transmission’s shifts and throttle-pedal responses are languid in the interests of efficiency. However, with its good NVH suppression at cruising speeds, the 3,0 CRD is a long-distance cruiser par excellence – the first holiday foray awaits.
Delivery mileage: 684 km
Mileage n0w: 3 935 km
Average fuel consumption: 9,6 L/100 km