Chrysler 300C V6 CRD

SRT

FEW would argue that, by-and-large, we are a restrained nation who tend to leave the flamboyance business to the Latins, Americans and others who wear bright, garish shirts.

We know our place in queues, try not to boast about any successes that might have come our way, and are aware of our limitations in the global sporting arenas.

But every so often we break out of this tight-laced straitjacket and go for something truly out-of-character - something big, bold and brash that belongs to a different world.

The best motoring illustration of this quirk I can think of is the way we have taken the giant Chrysler 300C into our hearts...and our garages.

Just in case you are unsure what the 300C looks like, let me put you in the picture.

Both small boys and grown men frequently mistake it for one of the more extrovert Bentley models - costing upwards of five times the amount - and it is the size of a small aircraft carrier.

Frequently painted in black, as this car was, it packs huge road presence and runs on massive wheels that would dwarf an Irish wolfhound.

Not the sort of car you imagine the introverted British businessman go for then? Wrong, we just can't get enough of the flashy Yank.

It is obviously partly to do with value. As the Americans like to put it, you get most ‘bangs for your buck'. At £27,995 for the CRD SRT version, it is more than £10,000 cheaper than many of its obvious rivals.

The level of equipment is hugely generous, with goodies like full leather, cruise, air con, onboard computer, automatic transmission and electric seats as standard.

It also has quite a pedigree with engine and transmission being based on that used in the previous Mercedes E-Class.

That 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine is both smoothly powerful and surprisingly economical. With 215bhp to call on and more than 370lb/ft of torque, the 300C picks up its heels well. Sixty-two mph goes by in 8.7 seconds and top speed is 143mph - fast enough for most.

Like most American saloons, it's happiest on fast A-roads and motorways which it swallows up at a rate.

Tight twists and corkscrew bends remind you of the car's weight and size and here it has to give way to European rivals like BMW, Audi and Mercedes.

Yet there's nothing tricky or untoward about its handling - it just performs better in its natural environment.

The diesel engine mated to a smooth auto box produces some good economy figures. I averaged 32mpg which is pretty useful for a near-limo sized five-seater. The official emissions figure is 215g/km which stacks up reasonably well with similarly sized opposition.

The cabin, while well-trimmed in black leather with embossed SRT logos on the seats, isn't cutting edge design and the switchgear falls behind latest benchmark standards but the accommodation is comfortable and spacious enough.

The occasional idiosyncrasy reminds you this car was born a left-hooker - the gearshift markings are set on the far side of the lever and almost invisible to the driver. But the LED illumination for the cup-holders is mighty impressive.

 

FAST FACTS

Chrysler 300C V6 CRD SRT

Price: £27,995

Mechanical: 215bhp, 2,998cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving rear wheels via 4-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 143mph

0-62mph: 8.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 34.9

Insurance Group: 36

C02 emissions: 215g/km

Bik rating: 28%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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