Used Chrysler 300C review: 2005-2011
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Chrysler 300C is a big, bold, very American machine with aggressive styling that explains its nickname of ‘the gangster car’. It’s a real love-it-or-hate it shape, and those who do love them lavish extravagant attention to personalisation by way of numerous, often outrageous, accessories.
Though sold as a family car the Chrysler 300C isn’t particularly easy to drive. You sit a long way from the front of the car, staring over a large dashtop, then through a small letter-box windscreen, and over a very long bonnet. The 300C’s tail is also a long way away and the sedan’s bootlid is not visible from the driver’s seat. Standard rear parking sensors relieve the problem.
The big Chrysler has good legroom, headroom and shoulder space for four adults. There's sufficient width in the centre of the rear seat for another one, though the transmission tunnel steals a fair bit of comfort from that position.
There's a huge boot under that big square tail of the sedan. It has a nicely regular shape and can carry bulky items with ease. However, there's a long stretch under the back window to reach the far end of the boot. The rear-seat backrest can be folded down, in a 60/40 split, to permit long loads to be carried. The wagon’s luggage area is reasonably large, but not to the expansive extent as that of Ford’s Falcon or Holden’s Commodore.
The 300C's 5.7-litre Hemi V8 petrol engine is an old-style pushrod, two-valve number, but good cylinder-head design and a sophisticated engine management system that can cut-out four cylinders during easy running. It produces plenty of V8 punch and sound without being excessively thirsty.
For those who want a lower performance powerplant, Chrysler also imports a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine. A V6 turbo-diesel, designed in conjunction with Mercedes-Benz, a partner of Chrysler at the time, displaces 3.0 litres and provides economy with grunt.
It comes as no surprise that the V8 Hemi engine is by far the most popular. Note that the V8 Hemi not only provides more a more interesting ride, it also comes with ‘gangster’ style timber inserts in the interior trim and an upgraded Boston Acoustic audio system with a six-CD changer.
If you do find a turbo-diesel on the used-car scene, be aware it may have been a hire limo in a previous life.
Australian 300Cs have what Chrysler calls ‘international’ specifications in their suspension. However, there are still traces of the traditional American softness. The upside is comfortable cruising.
If you do want sportier suspension, high-Performance versions of the big Chryslers built by the SRT (Street & Racing Technology) division, were sold as the 300C SRT8 in sedan format were imported from April 2006 as sedans and January 2007 as wagons. Featuring a V8 Hemi expanded to a very healthy 6.1 litres, larger wheels and firmer suspension, they are popular with those who like their cars extra hot.
Chrysler is reasonably well represented in Australia with, naturally enough, most dealerships being in metro areas. Though Chrysler is no longer connected with Mercedes-Benz, some dealers still operate both franchises. Spare parts for the 300C cost more than those for Commodores and Falcons, but aren’t outrageously expensive.
These big cars have good underbonnet space so working on them is easy. Amateur mechanics can do quite a bit of work due to the simple layout and components.
Insurance isn’t overly expensive. Some companies charge quite a bit more for the SRT8, others only increase their premiums by a modest amount. As always, make sure you study the fine print before making your final decision on insurance.
What to look for
The Chrysler 300C appears well built and we haven’t had heard of any major complaints in these relatively early days. Nor do we anticipate any as Chrysler learnt a lot about quality during the period it was partnered with Mercedes-Benz.
Look for a car that has been over accessorised as it may have been driven hard to prove some sort of a point.
Uneven tyre wear is probably a sign of hard driving, perhaps even burnouts or doughnuts.
Check for previous crash repairs; paint that doesn’t quite match and a ripply finish are the easiest to spot. If there’s the slightest doubt call in a professional.
Look over the interior and the luggage area for signs of harsh treatment. More than normal wear could indicate the 300C may have been a hire car.
Make sure the engine starts easily. The V8 will have a slightly lumpy idle - beauty! - but if a V6 petrol or diesel doesn’t idle smoothly there may be hassles.
Expect to pay from $17,000 to $24,000 for a 2005 Chrysler 300C V6; $19,000 to $27,000 for a 2005 300C Hemi V8; $22,000 to $30,000 for a 2007 300C V6 Touring; $25,000 to $36,000 for a 2007 300C Hemi V8; $28,000 to $38,000 for a 2008 300C CRD Touring; and $42,000 to $57,000 for a 2011 300C SRT-8.
Car buying tip
With experience you will learn to work out which cars have always been looked after, and the ones that have just received a major tidy up for resale
|Year||Price From||Price To|
Range and Specs
|3.5 V6||3.5L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO||$8,988 – 11,995||2005 Chrysler 300C 2005 3.5 V6 Pricing and Specs|
|5.7 Hemi V8||5.7L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO||$10,230 – 13,970||2005 Chrysler 300C 2005 5.7 Hemi V8 Pricing and Specs|
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