Chrysler 300C

The Essentials

  • Price from £35,995
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 39.8mpg
  • What is it? Distinctive-looking executive that provides decent cabin space and generous equipment for the money - but rivals do it better.

Great

  • Lots of equipment and safety features for the money
  • The cabin is spacious
  • Smooth ride

Gripes

  • The five-speed gearbox is clumsy
  • Not as plush inside as rivals
  • It's expensive to run
  • Drive

    Comfortable, calm and relaxed, but not up with the best-in-class

  • Inside

    Reasonably plush, but can't equal German rivals for quality

  • Safety

    Generous safety kit and a five-star Euro NCAP rating

  • Reliability

    Don't expect too many unforseen issues

  • Space

    Big inside, but could be cleverer

  • Standard and extras

    Plenty of toys and gadgets

  • What's it like to drive?

    There's just one engine on offer: a 3.0-litre V6 diesel with 236bhp. It pulls strongly from low revs but is hampered by its five-speed automatic gearbox; put your foot down and it soon becomes flummoxed, leaping clumsily to the appropriate gear.
    At least the ride is pretty smooth, even on the larger, 20-inch wheels (the standard ones are 18 inches), although some rough surfaces can be felt in the cabin. The steering is quite weighty but precise, though it doesn't transmit very much detail about the road.
    The engine makes a smooth growl when accelerating but this fades into the background at speed. Road noise is well contained, too, but the large wing mirrors create some wind noise.

  • What's it like inside?

    The liberal use of double-stitched leather and other soft-touch materials gives a feeling of luxury, but it's still not as plus as a BMW 5 Series. The dashboard is dominated by a touch-screen that controls everything from the sat-nav and audio system to the heated seats and climate control. This reduces the number of buttons and switches on the dashboard, but the graphics look a little cheap and the map can be slow to update.
    Even with two tall front passengers, rear occupants will have plenty of legroom, though headroom isn't quite as generous. Space is even more of an issue in the boot, which is 70 litres smaller than an Audi A6's, and the rear seats don't go totally flat when you fold them.
    On the plus side, the 300C is packed with equipment. Limited trim comes with sat-nav, climate control, leather trim and cupholders that will cool or heat your beverage. Executive adds adaptive cruise control and bigger alloys.

  • How reliable is it?

    The previous 300C scored four out of five stars in our most recent reliability survey, which should bode well for this latest version. There's no shortage of safety kit, with front, side and curtain airbags, plus one to protect the driver's knees. Stability control is also standard. The car scored a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, but the tests also found that the bonnet's high leading edge wasn't so great for pedestrians.

  • Should I buy one?

    Fuel economy is not one of the 300C's strengths: it claims just 39mpg at best, and CO2 emissions are a fairly hefty 185g/km. That's some way off rivals such as BMW's 520d, and you'll also feel the pinch when it comes to road tax and company car tax.