Chrysler 300C Saloon

3.0 V6 CRD SRT Auto

FOR motorists with aspirations of grandeur, getting behind the wheel of one of the most striking executive class motors around could just be the place to be, particularly when you consider that Chrysler's 300C entry level model is on offer for just a touch under £25,000.

Launched in the autumn of 2005, the 300C Saloon has helped to raise the profile of the Chrysler marque and over the past couple of years a makeover has added further to its desirability, if you have the desire to run with the executive in-crowd, that is.

There are in excess of 6,000 Chrysler 300C vehicles gracing UK roadways, around 40% of which are Touring Estate models, and driven here is the hugely imposing, enormously roomy, luxurious but value for money 300C Saloon derivative.

A makeover in 2008 saw all 300C models receive changes both inside and out. The saloon's exterior view benefits from new rear light clusters, an integrated boot spoiler, a high mounted rear stop light and a mesh grille with chrome surround, while the inside story is much improved, boasting changes which include a new instrument panel on the dash plus a redesigned centre console.

Out have gone those rather garish light colours from the previous model to be replaced with soft to the touch, more subtle, upmarket, much darker tones.

And overall change doesn't stop here with a one-touch start button, two-way steering wheel adjust, LED lighting and front cup holders while improved safety features include multi stage front and side curtain airbags.

As you would expect in an executive saloon plying its trade in competition with the likes of German triumvirate Audi, BMW and Mercedes, there are generous levels of spec to be had with the 300C opening up with the entry level 3.0 V6 CRD SE including leather trimmed seats, self levelling suspension, 18-inch alloys, xenon headlights and park assist in its standard set up.

The SRT version in the frame here adds further value to the scene including the likes of dual zone climate control air con, eight-way powered and heated front seats, electric windows all round, leather and suede trimmed seats plus Boston Acoustic audio system, auto reverse windows, while driver safety features include tyre pressure monitoring, all speed traction control and electronic stability programme (ESP). The ESP feature also includes brake assist. This system is standard across the Chrysler 300C range helping to enhance driver control and maintain directional stability.

Via selective braking and throttle input ESP also helps the driver tackle uneven road surface conditions and even the seasonal presence of patchy snow and ice.

All areas are decidedly occupant friendly and overall vision is good from all parts as you whisk your passengers along serenely.

Comfortably roomy for five occupants this is a refined environment well tuned to please and pamper the executive traveller with its blend of luxury, quality and comfort while the huge boot can swallow up bags of family holiday luggage.

Standing imposingly on the tarmac the 300C Saloon looks the business and gets the very best out of the 3.0-litre CRD V6 turbo diesel engine via the smooth operation of the five-speed automatic gearbox.

This Mercedes-Benz-sourced power plant helps to deliver a relaxing drive and, with noises well under control, virtual silent running is in charge.

However, the suspension system has been set up for comfort so, while cornering surprisingly well for its size with fun to be had doing the hustle when stringing together a series of twists, this car's best work comes when doing what it's really there for - eating up the miles on the cruise.

Overall, the Chrysler 300C Saloon is big on image and will certainly get you noticed, the Bentley-esque look of its front end adding further to a decidedly striking appearance currently enjoyed by more than 6,000 UK drivers of the marque.

FAST FACTS

Chrysler 300C Saloon 3.0 V6 CRD SRT Auto

Price: £28,995

Mechanical: 215bhp, 2,987cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving rear wheels via 5-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 143mph

0-62mph: 8.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 34.9

Insurance Group: 17

C02 emissions: 215 g/km

Bik rating: 34%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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