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Chrysler 300c Hemi 2004 review

For the first time since the death of the Valiant, Chrysler plans to go head-to-head with Ford and Holden in Australia.

The Chrysler 300c will arrive here towards the end of next year, with a price around the $60,000 mark.

And it will be aimed straight at our homegrown luxury stars, the Ford Fairlane and Holden Statesman.

It will join the Crossfire coupe and convertible in Australia, and could finally provide the much-needed breakthrough for the American brand.

The 300c is bold and beautiful. It is also an American car in the truest sense, with a big engine, a big body and traditional rear-wheel drive.

Even more important, the 300c will be gunning for a global role as Chrysler's new flagship model.

"The introduction of the Chrysler 300c marks an important chapter in the evolving history of our brand internationally and is one of the most important episodes of our continuing product offensive," Chrysler executive director international sales and marketing Thomas Hausche says.

Chrysler has gone back to its roots to push the brand forward.

The 300c is a modern interpretation of the company's historic letter-series models that began with the renowned C-300 in 1955.

This contemporary styling, including an in-your-face grille, will put the 300c in a class of its own and provide a point of difference against the Statesman, Fairlane and other contenders in the $60,000 price range.

The 300c also heralds the return of Chrysler's legendary 5.7-litre HEMI V8 – which got its name from its hemispherical combustion chambers – after almost 50 years.

As fitted to the 300c, the latest HEMI development is the first modern volume-production powerplant produced in North America with cylinder deactivation.

Chrysler's Multi-Displacement System turns off the fuel supply to four cylinders when V8 power is not needed, boosting efficiency and resulting in fuel consumption as low as 12-litres/100km.

Even so, the 300c – which also comes with a 3.5-litre V6 engine – is no slouch, sprinting to 100km/h in just 6.4 seconds and reaching an electronically regulated top speed of 250km/h. Not bad for a car that weighs 1840kg.

On the road

The 300c is a long way down the road from a 1980s Australian-made Chrysler Valiant.

From the moment you sit in the 300c you are greeted with luxuries. An eight-way powered seat combined with electronically adjustable pedals adds new meaning to finding a comfortable driving position.

The seat is also heated, together with the passenger's side, and there are walnut accents on the steering wheel (which has power tilt and telescoping with a memory).

The centre console is sized for a suitcase and the Boston Acoustic stereo pumps out the tunes.

The cabin space is similar to its likely rivals, though the Statesman has an additional 38mm of rear legroom. The Statesman and Fairlane both have bigger boots.

Once you get going, the 300c is basically a big cruiser. It's a luxury long-wheelbase limousine that, though measuring a freckle under 5m, manoeuvres surprisingly easily.

Acceleration is responsive and the 300c, helped in part by the 18-inch wheels and tyres, feels like it is nailed to the road at high speeds.

The five-speed automatic gearbox (on the V8) is a step ahead of the 300c's competition and greatly improves drive comfort, even when not utilising the Autostick driver-operated manual control.

The MDS was not noticeable, despite attempts to try to catch it out.

The smooth, luxurious ride compromises the handling – as you would expect from a luxury sedan – and some body roll was encountered when cornering hard.

And, just as you'd expect with a Hemi under the hood, the 300c allows you to enjoy the traditional thump of a big V8.

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Range and Specs

3.5 V6 3.5L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $10,450 – 14,300 2005 Chrysler 300C 2005 3.5 V6 Pricing and Specs
5.7 Hemi V8 5.7L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $13,990 – 14,990 2005 Chrysler 300C 2005 5.7 Hemi V8 Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


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