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Chrysler 300C 2006 Review

Clearly, the look of the 300C is the key to its success.

The chopped-top Chevy, the product of an unprecedented yet short-lived time of post-war expressionism, looked mean and threatening.

The 300C of today has the same attitude. It's just that once inside, this one is a pussycat. Ford, who went on to bigger things, would be right at home.

The 300C marks Chrysler's return to a rear-wheel-drive large-car platform. It is yet another vehicle to benefit from the Mercedes-Benz-Chrysler merger. In fact, about 20 per cent of its parts are Mercedes-sourced, including the multi-link rear suspension, steering column, and the five-speed auto transmission from the E-Class.

It's also the second model, after the Grand Cherokee, to arrive here with the big-bore 5.7-litre HEMI V8 engine. If that's too big and thirsty, there is a smaller 3.5-litre V6 engine that is cheaper. But, externally the car is the same.

Clearly, the look of the 300C is the key to its success. In January, the 300C outsold (133 cars) its class rivals, the Holden Statesman (120) and Ford Fairlane (55).

Forget the fuel crisis. The reason the Yank won this race is because it is distinctive. Nothing shares its styling and, as buyers seek to stamp their individuality on their possessions, wacky things like the 300C have become popular.

Don't forget it's pretty good value for money, especially if you put a price on being different.

The V8 costs $59,990, while the V6 is $6000 cheaper, at $53,990.

Standard in the V8 are leather upholstery, electric front seats with memory, electric windows and mirrors, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, climate control, rear-park assist and six airbags.

The more lavish V8 also has a premium seven-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system.

The only options for the V8 are premium paint ($370), and electric sunroof ($2430), with possibly a satellite-navigation system added to that list in the future.

The interior has strong overtones of the 1950s and 1960s, not necessarily in styling, though there are hints of yesteryear, but more in cabin space.

The seats are thick and armchair-like, the side windows narrow to create an impression of intimacy, and chrome highlights reflect luxury.

Comfort is first-class for the passengers, though the driver may have to battle to get comfortable behind a steering wheel that has no telescopic adjustment.

It has an attractive instrument layout and, tilt the head slightly upwards and there's a broad bonnet. Seeing a bonnet from the driver's seat of a car built in the third millennium, is like a country lad seeing the ocean for the first time.

As you would expect, the ride comfort is first-rate, with the big chairs and compliant suspension providing a smooth journey.

Surprisingly, this big US lump actually handles well through bends. What could have rivalled jelly for cornering, is more like a fruity, firm Christmas cake.

There is understeer, but that's found at relatively higher speeds.

Its handling is helped by a good list of safety gear, including Electronic Stability Program, Emergency Brake Assist, Traction Control System and ABS brakes.

Throw the 300C into a corner and the ESP shows it is working by some noisy clunks under the body and noticeable retardation of the engine.

It's a nice, safety feature that goes with features such as the six airbags, side mirrors that dip when reversing and the ultra-bright xenon headlights.

Yes, the V8 is pretty much out of the dark ages, but it performs as good as a more modern engine.

It is helped by some electronic aids and the silky five-speed auto gearbox.

It's quick off the mark, responsive for overtaking, and quiet when treated gently, but sounds magnificent when on song. It is also thirsty.

A combination of city, suburbs and country saw the test car clock 13.9 litres/100km. After a track session it was in the 16s.

Apparently you can save fuel by taking it easy and the ability to cut fuel to four cylinders when idling or coasting also helps.

It didn't help me much, though I'd be prepared to pay the fuel bill just to enjoy the car.

I like this car — a lot! But why the hell is there a space-saving tyre in a car competing against big Aussie saloons? Simply ridiculous.

Without a proper spare, I'd be reluctant to take it too far into the country, which is a pity because this would make a superb cruiser. Maybe it's best suited just to city cruising, with Harrison Ford at the wheel . . .

Pricing Guides

$11,995
Based on 24 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$8,888
Highest Price
$22,987

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
3.5 V6 3.5L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $9,888 – 12,499 2006 Chrysler 300C 2006 3.5 V6 Pricing and Specs
5.7 Hemi V8 5.7L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $8,888 – 16,717 2006 Chrysler 300C 2006 5.7 Hemi V8 Pricing and Specs
CRD 3.0L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO $9,990 – 12,999 2006 Chrysler 300C 2006 CRD Pricing and Specs
SRT8 6.1L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $17,885 – 22,987 2006 Chrysler 300C 2006 SRT8 Pricing and Specs
Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$3,000

Lowest price, based on 27 car listings in the last 6 months

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