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Chrysler 300


Honda Accord

Summary

Chrysler 300

You may be sensing an increasing level of hype around hybrid and full battery-electric vehicles. In fact, it feels like the automotive world has gone full-fat bananas over ‘electro-mobility’.

At least car manufacturers have, with Tesla’s entertaining antics disrupting the status quo, and causing virtually every mainstream brand to get on board the zero-emissions express.

But of course, the other side of that equation is demand. The rush to meet ever tightening emissions regulations (and save the planet in the process) fails to recognise the fact that not everybody wants a ZEV… yet.

The days of big-bore, more is good, internal combustion propulsion aren’t over yet, and Chrysler, like the rest of the ‘Murican Big Three’ is keeping traditional muscle car enthusiasts happy.

In fact, we’re in the midst of a US horsepower arms race not seen since the late 1960s and early ‘70s, and Chrysler’s SRT (Street & Racing Technology) performance subsidiary is leading from the front with a variety of over-the-top Hellcats, Demons and Red Eyes.

Australia has recently picked up a whiff of that action with the utterly mad 522kW Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, but the only slightly unhinged SRT version, and this car, the Chrysler 300 SRT, have been around for some time.

Launched here in 2012, the second-generation version of the 6.4-litre naturally aspirated sedan was discontinued in the USA in 2014. But sensing a large sedan-sized opportunity as local manufacturing from Ford, Holden and Toyota went the way of the Dodo, the local FCA team negotiated a continuation deal.

Think of the 300 SRT as America’s M5 or E63. A full-size performance sedan with a thick layer of luxury laid over the top, but at around one third the price.

Safety rating
Engine Type6.4L
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency13L/100km
Seating5 seats

Honda Accord

Twenty-five years ago I was the only kid at church who read car magazines. Nobody was interested unless the subject was a Patrol, Pajero or HiLux (it was Sydney's Sutherland Shire) and even then, they only wanted to know if they could tow a tinnie with it.

Every now and again someone would approach me and ask me for advice on a car that wasn't a ute, and then buy a car we didn't even talk about. They would politely return my magazines, though, which was nice.

Anyway, the point of that story is that one of the cars one of these nice people bought was the Honda Legend. It was a lovely thing - so quiet, so smooth, so cool. Well, not cool in the hip to the groove sense, but in the easygoing Palm Springs kind of cool.

And the point of telling you that is it turns out that they still make that car, only it's not called the Legend anymore, it's called the Honda Accord V6L. Costs less, too.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.4L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency8.2L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Chrysler 3007/10

The Chrysler 300 SRT is a big, fast, well-equipped and super-comfortable point-to-point tourer that’s also able to soak up the stresses of a city commute with ease. It’s also showing its age in terms of design, obscenely thirsty, dynamically flawed, and offered with a bottom-of-the-class ownership package. A fun place to visit but make sure you’re ready for permanent residency.

Thinking about some muscle gain? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


Honda Accord7.1/10

The Legend is long gone but the Accord seems have taken up the mantle. When you compare it to its immediate and most obvious competition there's plenty of gear aboard, and while the other cars are good, none - except maybe the new Camry V6 - have the same appeal of cubic inches, tidy handling with a terrific ride and manners better than a June Dally-Watkins graduate.

While the engine and transmission may not be bang-up-to-date, and there's, uh, fake wood inside, the Accord V6L is a fine car that carries on a tradition of big, cushy Hondas.

The Accord is a classic nameplate in a shrinking - but still busy - segment. Is it on your list? Tell us in the comments below.

Design

Chrysler 3007/10

The NSW Highway Patrol has adopted the 300 SRT as its weapon of choice, and psychologically I reckon they’re onto a winner.

A high waistline, small glasshouse and big 20-inch rims combine to give the 300 a chunky, take-no-prisoners stance. And this intimidating beast filling the mirrors is enough to make even the most determined speedster drop their bundle.

Except for the SRT badge at the back, the exterior is a chrome-free zone, with black finish on the big honeycomb grille, window frames, and dark chrome wheels dialing up the overall air of menace.

The rear view is similarly imposing, with a large slab of almost right-angular boot lid topped by a pronounced body-colour spoiler.

At this point, we have to call out less than perfect panel fit. On our test car for example the intersection of the bonnet and front clip above the headlights was messy with inconsistent shut lines and poor alignment.

Inside not much has changed over the current 300’s seven years on sale, and the design lacks the integrated approach of more modern competitors.

An 8.4-inch colour media touchscreen sits in the centre of a squared oval panel between the central air vents and under an analogue clock, that shape bearing no resemblance to the form of the heating and ventilation control panel below it or the instrument binnacle alongside.

A mass of buttons confronts the driver across the centre stack, steering wheel and door, while genuine carbon fibre inserts add a racy if slightly ironic touch in a close to 2.0-tonne car.

Leather and suede sports front seats look (and feel) the business, and the strongly illuminated gauges are divided by a 7.0-inch multifunction display including a clear digital speed read-out. Which is just as well, because the fussy increments on the analogue dial are hard to read.


Honda Accord7/10

The Accord's design has been with us for over four years now. It's one of Honda's more restrained efforts, with fewer mad lines, flourishes and creases than other models. That doesn't mean it isn't without some interesting details, though.

The headlights look great up close, with each unit looking like a set of teeth has been installed, giving the impression of a grille when illuminated. Its profile is fairly normal, and apart from a slightly heavy-handed rear end, the Accord's exterior is quietly elegant.

Inside, it's remains toned down. Instruments and switchgear will be familiar to owners of pretty much any car in the Honda range, with bits from here and there making up a simple, user-friendly cabin. Apart from the stacked screens.

Practicality

Chrysler 3008/10

At just under 5.1m long, 1.9m wide and close to 1.5m tall the 300 SRT is a sizeable machine, so it’s no surprise there’s plenty of room inside.

Those up front are provided with a pair of cupholders in the centre console (complete with heating or cooling at the press of a button), storage bins and medium-size bottle holders in the doors, a long oddments tray and a small storage cubby (with 12-volt outlet) near the gear shifter, as well as a sunglasses holder in the overhead console and a big glove box.

There’s also a lidded storage box between the seats, complete with sliding tray, two USB ports, an ‘aux-in’ jack and a 12-volt outlet. Even old school nicotine enthusiasts are catered for with an ashtray insert ready to slip into one of the cupholders and a cigarette lighter to drop into the main 12-volt socket.

Rear seat passengers pick up a fold-down centre armrest with two cupholders and a lidded oddments box, decent door bins with bottle holders, as well adjustable vents at the back of the centre console, two USB ports, and switches for the standard heated rear seats.

Sitting behind the driver’s seat set for my 183cm position I had ample legroom but only adequate headroom. There’s enough shoulder room for three adults across the rear, but the broad transmission tunnel throws a spanner in the works when it comes to centre foot room.

The fully-lined boot is nicely trimmed, with a pair of flip-out bag hooks (22kg capacity), load tie-down anchors, and useful lighting included.

Volume is 462 litres, enough to fit our three-piece hard suitcase set (35, 68 and 105 litres) lying flat on the floor, or the CarsGuide pram, with heaps of room to spare. A 60/40 split-folding rear seat adds extra space and flexibility.

In the case of a flat tyre your only option is a repair/inflator kit, and it’s worth noting towing capacity for the SRT is the same 450kg for a braked or unbraked trailer, where the standard V6-powered 300C can tow a 1724kg braked trailer.


Honda Accord7/10

Cabin-dwellers enjoy four cupholders, two up front and two in the rear, plus a bottle holder in each door. There is plenty of space for four, with good head and legroom front and back, with just the irritating foot-operated parking brake ruining the driver's footwell.

Cargo capacity starts with a 457-litre boot and you can drop the rear seatback for extra space, or use the ski port. That boot capacity is among the best in the segment but unfortunately, the seatback doesn't split and the aperture is really narrow when the space is open.

Price and features

Chrysler 3008/10

A list price of $74,950 (before on-road costs) buys a whole lot of car, equipment, and performance, with that figure only gaining entry to a pack of next-size-down options from Europe and Japan.

A $5k spread from $71-76,000 covers the Alfa Giulia Veloce ($72,900), Audi A4 45 TFSI Quattro ($73,300), BMW330i M-Sport ($70,900), Infiniti Q50 Red Sport ($74,900), Jaguar XE P300 HSE R Dynamic ($71,940), Lexus GS300 Luxury ($75,931), and Merc C 300 ($71,800).

And aside from the extra cubic inches under the hood and sheetmetal in the body, the 300 SRT’s standard features list is long, including dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start (plus remote start), heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated leather-trimmed SRT flat-bottom steering wheel, heated/cooled front cupholders, power boot lid release, electric steering column adjust (height and reach), plus eight-way electrically-adjustable driver and front passenger seats (with four-way power lumbar adjust on both and radio/seat/mirror memory on the driver’s side).

Also standard are auto headlights (with auto level and auto high beam), rain-sensing wipers, power-folding exterior mirrors (with defrost), nappa leather and suede seat trim, 825-watt, 19-speaker harman/kardon audio (including digital radio), sat nav, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a 7.0-inch instrument cluster display, the 8.4-inch colour media touchscreen, and 20-inch forged alloy wheels.

There are plenty of other safety and performance features, which we’ll cover in later sections, wrapping into an impressive standard package at this price point. And ‘our’ test car featured the ‘SRT Luxury Package’ ($4750) adding a monster dual-pane glass sunroof, premium leather trim on the instrument panel, centre console and door trims, as well as premium floor mats front and rear.

The standard colour choice is black and white… ‘Gloss Black’ or ‘Bright White’, with ‘Silver Mist’, ‘Ceramic Grey’, ‘Granite Crystal’, ‘Maximum Steel’ and ‘Velvet Red’ optional, and ‘Ocean Blue’ available to specific customer order.


Honda Accord7/10

At first glance, $52,290 seems a bit rich for a car of this age and stature, but there's a long list of standard equipment.

Your V6L arrives with 18-inch alloy wheels, six-speaker stereo with 7.7-inch media touchscreen, dual-zone climate control, electric windows and seats, reversing camera, side vision camera, keyless entry and start, automatic active LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, active cruise control, sat nav, leather seats and trim, auto wipers, woodgrain dash and door trims, sunroof and a full-size alloy spare.

The 7.7-inch touchscreen runs the stereo which includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and in-built sat nav. A second screen higher in the dash displays car information, and the camera views, and it's odd.

Engine & trans

Chrysler 3007/10

Forget hybrid, forget turbos, the Chrysler 300 SRT is powered by 392 cubic-inches of Detroit iron… although the 6.4-litre ‘Apache’ V8 is actually built in Mexico.

The engine’s block is indeed cast iron although the heads are aluminium, with the ‘Hemi’ name derived from its hemispherical combustion chamber design.

It’s naturally aspirated, direct fuel-injected and produces 350kW (470hp) at 6150rpm and no less than 637Nm of torque at 4250rpm.

Drive goes through an eight-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels with a limited-slip diff standard.


Honda Accord7/10

As the name implies, the V6L sports a V6 engine. The 3.5-litre unit develops 206kW/339Nm, and it's a revver. Joined to a six-speed automatic, it drives the front wheels.

This is not a bang up-to-date engine - it's not even a twin-cam, and there isn't any turbo action. But goodness is it smooth.

Fuel consumption

Chrysler 3005/10

A model of fuel efficiency this car is not. Claimed economy for the combined (ADR 81/02 - urban, extra-urban) cycle is 13.0L/100km, the 300 SRT emitting 303g/km of CO2 in the process.

Over roughly 300km of city, suburban and freeway running we recorded 18.5L/100km (at the bowser), and the on-board computer threw up some horrifying short-term numbers as we explored the car’s performance potential.

Minimum fuel requirement is 95 RON premium unleaded and you’ll need 70 litres of it to fill the tank… regularly.


Honda Accord6/10

Honda reckons that on the combined cycle you'll get 9.3L/100km and send 216g/km of CO2 into the atmosphere. Our time with the car returned 12.7L/100km in a fair bit of traffic, and a run right across Sydney and back on motorways.

Driving

Chrysler 3007/10

Roll onto a smooth, dry surface, engage the SRT’s standard launch control function and you’ve dialled in the ability to storm from 0-100km/h in a ludicrously rapid 4.5sec.

Unlike smaller capacity turbo engines, the big atmo Hemi takes a while to develop maximum torque (637Nm), hitting peak pulling power at 4250rpm. Keep the throttle pinned and full power (350kW) is achieved on the cusp of the rev limiter at 6150rpm.

All this fire and fury is accompanied by a beautifully brutal V8 roar courtesy of an active exhaust which tweaks the pulsing note it produces according to drive mode and throttle position. It’s hard not to love it, complete with rude pops and crackles on the over-run.

Beware though, this car is relatively loud all the time, so you’ve got to hope the love affair is a long-term one.

Suspension is by a short and long arm (SLA) and upper A-arms at the front, with a five-link set-up at the rear, and Bilstein adaptive dampers all around.

The switch between Comfort and Sport is swift and marked, with the latter best kept for billiard tables and race circuits. Around town ride in the more compliant setting is agreeably smooth.

Push the big 300 along your favourite backroad and you know you’re asking two tonnes of metal, rubber and glass to move against its will.

The eight-speed auto responds well in manual mode (with wheel-mounted paddles), and the grippy sports front seats do decent job of keeping their occupants stable and balanced, but the sheer mass of this car means you’re never going to get a corner-carving hot hatch-like experience.

And despite a chunky, leather-trimmed sports wheel, the hydraulically-assisted ‘SRT Tuned’ steering isn’t exactly the last word in road feel or sharp response.

Having said that, the fat 20-inch (245/45) Goodyear Eagle F1 rubber grips hard with minimal impact on ride quality, and in a more relaxed mode the SRT is a stress-free and comfortable tourer.

Big acceleration is balanced by big brakes, with beefy ventilated rotors (360mm fr / 350mm rr) clamped by Brembo four-piston calipers front and rear.

The system’s outright power is impressive but can be abrupt on initial application at around town speeds, until you get used to greasing the pedal pressure in.

‘SRT Performance Pages’ allows you to scroll through multiple real-time data screens (timers, G-force, engine performance, etc), which is fun, with outputs downloadable to a USB stick or SD card. The 19-speaker harman/kardon audio system absolutely cranks, and the active cruise control works intuitively, without the frustrating conservatism (taking forever to pick up the throttle) of some other systems


Honda Accord7/10

Barry White. Whipped King Island cream. The opposite of Shane Warne. This car is smooth. Few engines this side of an electric are as quiet as the Honda's uncomplicated V6. Even though the power is high up in the rev range, it never feels like a struggle in the Accord.

Around town it's a proper easy-rider, with a soft, squishy ride and a deathly quiet cabin. The lowish profile tyre that probably should be a bit obnoxious keep to themselves, too.

There's a distinctly American feel to the suspension as well as the steering. Not everyone likes light steering - me included - but it does mean progress is very relaxed. The steering weights up on the freeway, and that's where you spot the only gap in the Accord's defensive line. Most of the time the ride is completely sorted, but hit a bump or an Aussie motorway's typically sorry excuse for an expansion joint and you get a jolt through the cabin. It doesn't happen very often, it's just a surprise when it does.

Passengers do love the quiet cabin, though, and rear seat passengers report having tons of room even if they're north of 183cm (six foot) tall. The welcome addition of air-conditioning vents and window blinds make it a nice place in summer, too.

Safety

Chrysler 3008/10

The 300 SRT hasn’t been assessed by ANCAP or Euro NCAP, but the NHTSA in North America has given the 2019 Chrysler 300 a four-star safety rating (from a possible five).

In terms of active tech a lot of major boxes are ticked, with AEB a notable exception.

Standard features include, ABS, ‘Ready Alert Braking’ (primes system when driver lifts off the brake pedal quickly), ESC, ‘Electronic Roll Mitigation’, traction control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, and advanced brake assist.

A ‘Rain Brake Support’ function is triggered by the rain-sensing wiper system to periodically ‘wipe off’ the brake rotors with the brake pads, keeping them as dry as possible in the wet. And Chrysler has cleverly piggy-backed ‘Knock Back Mitigation’ into the arrangement.

In aggressive cornering front wheel assemblies can flex, pushing the brake rotor against the brake pads and ‘knocking’ them back into the caliper, potentially leading to an alarmingly long pedal the next time the brakes are applied. Not a factor in the 300 SRT, with the pads automatically pushed up into their optimum position.

Also included are, adaptive cruise control (with stop function), a reverse parking camera, front & rear parking sensors, and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

If, despite all that, a crash is unavoidable, the airbag count runs to seven (dual front, dual front side, dual curtain and driver’s knee), and the front head restraints are active.

There are three child seat/baby capsule top tether points across the back seat, with ISOFIX anchors on the two outer rear positions.


Honda Accord8/10

Honda wasn't mucking about when it put together the safety specs, with six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, auto emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep steering assistance and trailer sway control.

Honda also fits 'LaneWatch', a tricky little camera that hangs off the passenger side rear vision mirror that gives you a view down inside of the car to help stop you wiping out cyclists or pedestrians when you're turning left.

Ownership

Chrysler 3006/10

The warranty world has moved significantly in recent months, and the 300 SRT’s three year/100,000km warranty is now well off the pace.

Yes, it includes corrosion cover and 24-hour roadside assistance, but with the likes of Ford, Holden, Honda, Mazda, and Toyota now at five years/unlimited km, Chrysler is way behind.

Kia moved to seven years/unlimited km in 2014, and there are whispers of the Korean brand shifting to 10 years sooner rather than later.

Service is required every 12 months/12,000km, and no capped price servicing program is currently offered.

With the caveat that labour rates will inevitably vary between dealerships, Chrysler Australia estimates five year standard servicing cost at $2590 (including GST).


Honda Accord8/10

Honda usually offers a pretty impressive five year/unlimited kilometre warranty. At the time of writing (December 2017), the Accord was shipping with a seven year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Both come with roadside assist for the same length as the warranty.

Honda's 'Tailored Service' program covers the first five years or 100,000km. Costing $3299, the average cost of a service is $330, with a lowest price of $273 and the final service $700. There's a sting in the tail, though - if there's a bit of a racket under the bonnet, you might have to cop another $556 to adjust valve clearances and at 80,000km you'll have to swallow $285 for a fuel filter.

Honda expects a visit from you twice a year or every 10,000km, whichever comes first.