Just recently, a handful of the new Chrysler 300C demonstrators have been doing the rounds at dealers across the UK for potential customers to inspect.
Numerous journalists and previous Chrysler customers were invited to their local dealer to take a look. Somehow we got a look in, and being car enthusiasts, we went to take a look and pen a mini review.
The old 300C’s were famed for their sheer presence on the road. You were unlikely to be missed driving one. The new one has been toned down ever so slightly.
The back end is more reminiscent of the model it replaces.
The new car appears slightly larger then its predecessor, and it is offered in two versions, the better appointed one being called the “executive”.
For now, it is only available in a three litre diesel version in the UK. The salesman claimed that the new engine was a Mercedes/Fiat hybrid. I can’t say that the name “Fiat” filled me with eager anticipation, nor did it create mental images of wafting quietly from place to place with the Teutonic reliability that a wholly Mercedes engine might.
Although nowadays, with the Daimler-Chrysler union in the past, Fiat has control of Chrysler, and Fiat has big ideas to merge the two brands using the best that each group has to make better products; so lets give them a chance.
Having seen a few press photos of the new Chrysler 300C already, I already knew pretty much what it was going to look like in the metal. The outside was no tremendous surprise, but the inside certainly was!
Gone are the American-style acres of terrible grey plastic that plagued this cars predecessor. In their place is subtle dark colours, dark leather and soft blue backlit instruments.
At last, Chrysler have grasped the taste of European buyers. I guess we must give the Italians from Fiat the credit for that, because this interior certainly wasn’t designed by Hank and Chuck in Michigan. This interior has the fingerprints of Giuseppe and Antonio all over it. From the key-less entry through to the push button start, this car is oozing with gizmos and gadgets that you would usually expect to find on more expensive brands.
There is also a very impressive touch screen multi media centre to be found in the centre console.
This is not only the Sat Nav and the music centre, all kinds of other stuff can be done from here too. Raising and lowering the electric rear window blind for example. It all seems pretty intuitive to use without poring over the instruction book. It reminded me of an iPhone in that regard.
Better than the model it replaces? Almost certainly. What you have lost in Soprano’s style front end presence is more than made up for by the way better interior. Perhaps it is better to be a little more understated. When you pulled up in the old model, everyone assumed the drugs had arrived.
One of the most surprising things about this car is the price. Way more than the old one. An executive one will cost you an eye-watering £42,000. Lesser models start in the mid thirties. They are pitching it to rival the Mercedes E Class, Audi A6 and the BMW five series. Will it? Chrysler as a brand doesn’t have the same cachet as a Mercedes or an Audi, so my bet is prices will come down by late summer. In two or three years, used ones will likely represent a great value used buy.
In surveys from the US, where the car has been on sale for a while, overall reviews have indicated pretty good results. Even the Top Gear review gave it an overall 7/10, which isn’t bad for Clarkson & Co. Worth a look in our view but haggle with them a bit is my advice.
The car we photographed here was kindly made available for viewing by Kings Manchester. If you are in or around Manchester, and want to get a closer look at the 2012 300C, or book a test drive, get in touch with David Howell on 0161 432 6000.