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Chrysler 300C 2006 review

Chrysler assumed true-believer status with the 300C; a big, brash, brute of a car styled with all the subtlety of an apartment block on wheels. Its success, however, has made the 300C a strong advocate for the argument that subtlety may be overrated.

The car's in-your-face styling has struck a resonance not even Chrysler could have anticipated. Not only is the 300C selling like hot cakes at home, it is doing significant numbers in overseas markets better known for rejecting rather than embracing excess.

With Europe, the home of subtlety, being the next frontier, Chrysler has taken the 300C out of its big-bore V8 petrol comfort zone and dropped a dinky little 3.0-litre diesel under the bonnet and already the buyers are voting with their wallets.

Picking up the aluminium common rail V6 from Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler has presented a cogent argument as to why there is a place for oil-burners in large passenger cars.

The figures are impressive: 160kW of power and 510Nm of torque allow the 300C CRD to hold its head high against the 5.7-litre Hemi V8, which boasts 525Nm.

Where the CRD leaves its petrol stablemate red-faced is that peak push in the diesel is on tap from 1600rpm to 2800rpm. The V8 doesn't hit its straps until 4000rpm and doesn't hold it over such a sustained band.

For highway overtaking that equates to almost instant acceleration, to almost always being in the right gear with the meat of the torque curve just a feather of the throttle away.

The Benz-sourced five-speed automatic uses exceptionally well-sorted ratios to ensure the 300C's 1800kg mass is kept moving without undue stress.

The early arrival of much of the car's maximum torque means that from a standing start only moderate throttle is required to whisk the big sedan away.

The four-valve per cylinder engine runs double overhead cams, meets Euro 4 emissions standards and uses an integrated diesel particulate filter to keep the mood green and friendly.

Variable-geometry technology on the turbo and precise Piezo injectors helped the 300C CRD maintain a credible 9.7L/100km average on a test drive slanted towards city use.

It is not difficult to forget from behind the wheel that the CRD is a diesel. Vibration and noise isolation are at a level that, from inside the cabin, more than one passenger had no idea that the CRD was not a petrol car.

Whether it is a toe in the water into subtlety or just a cost-saver, the CRD uses the same white-faced instrument panel as the petrol cars. With no redline marked on the tachometer (calibrated to 7000rpm) it is a little unnerving to see shift changes around the 4000rpm mark.

For a big car the CRD has nice balance, something it shares with the petrol models, and you can fire it out of corners on a torque surge. The rest of the CRD experience is pretty much common with the remainder of the 300C family.

The high-waisted cabin and low roofline give an impression of snugness but it never tumbles over into feeling cramped.

Vision is reasonable out the front of the car, but not so great out of the rear, where the small window and substantial C-Pillars impede. Expansive wing mirrors are a plus.

Rear parking sensors aid with keeping track of the car's rear and a set on the front wouldn't go astray.

The seats are a capable compromise between comfort and support. They lean more towards the European than the historical American preference for armchairs.

Among the standard safety features are dual front and full-length, side-curtain airbags, switchable stability control and anti-lock brakes.

Comfort features include rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, six-speaker sound system, cruise control, trip computer and auto-dimming rear-vision mirror.

Steering adjustment is tilt-only and the plastic tortoiseshell treatment at the top of the wheel is tacky. Stick with the leather.

It's the subtle thing to do.

Verdict

Showing all the benefits of the VE development. Excellent engine/transmission package.

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
Pricing Guide

$9,990

Lowest price, based on 3 car listings in the last 6 months

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