AS large cars go, Chrysler’s 300C fills a fair old parking space.
There’s no denying it’s one big heap of metal, so a bit of judicious rejigging of the parking spaces on our drive was called for when it tacked into view the other day.
I used the nautical there because on first acquaintance it’s a bit like piloting a modest barge. At a fraction over five metres long, and getting on for two wide, you can feel like you’re sitting a long way away from your front seat passenger. As indeed you are. And the bonnet seems to reach the end of the street long before you do.
And when it comes to negotiating one of those ‘unnecessarily narrow but built to the rules’ supermarket parking spaces, it’s probably best not to, even with the standard fit parking sensors. Best to look for a few empty spaces in the corner, though you can rest assured that when you return some dooley will have parked his car up close and personal, even though there are spaces aplenty all round. Such is life.
It’s a whole heapin’ helpin’ of car for your money, as they might say where the big Chrysler originally hails from. They like their portions big in Toronto, and there’s no deviation here.
It’s been around worldwide since 2003, but for all its bulky, chunky Judge Dredd looks, it’s not a tall car. Note the low roofline and relatively small side glass area.
So while you get acres of space inside to relax in, courtesy of those generous exterior proportions, headroom isn’t that great. Put it this way, JR Ewing (rest his soul) couldn’t wear his stetson while driving, and even with the seat adjusted as far down as it would go, I could feel my rapidly diminishing hair touching the head-lining.
What you do get for your £39,995 is a lot of luxury. Soft touch materials, hand stitched Nappa leather, real wood inserts to the instrument panel, doors, centre console and the odd chrome touch and muted sapphire blue backlighting to the instruments may sound like there’s an awful lot going on, but it all comes together to create a welcoming environment for passengers.
The BIG theme extends to the touchscreen display, a huge 8.4 inch unit that wouldn’t look out of place as a kitchen’s secondary supply of mindless pap while the important business of cooking is going on.
Out on the road, the ride quality shows up as being well damped and bump absorbing, if a touch wallowy at times. No complaints from those enjoying the ride though.
For power, under that vast bonnet lurks a three litre V6 diesel, serving up 236bhp and a thumping 540Nm of torque through its five speed auto box. More than enough to get the 2117kg luxury express on the move. Chrysler quote a top speed of 144mph (no idea what that is in knots) and a 0-62 time of a rapid 7.4 seconds. Improvements all round from the last three litre diesel 300C I drove a few years ago.
There’s no baffling array of engine options and trim levels here. The Fiat Group V6 turbo diesel is blessed with both power and fuel-saving efficiency, and the trim spec is down to just two – Limited or Executive.
And the sort of kit that others deem options at extra cost are standard here, like Rain Brake Support, which help keeps your pads dry for better stopping power in naff conditions. My dogs could do with that fitted….
Check out the standard specification and you will see this is a very well equipped car indeed.
The overall fit and finish is from a far higher price bracket. £40 grand? Bit of a bargain, really.
FASTFACTS: Chrysler 300C Executive; £39,995; 2987cc V6 turbodiesel; five speed automatic; 236bhp@4000rpm, 540Nm@1600-2800rpm; Top speed 144mph, 0-62 7.4secs; Fuel: urban 29.4, extra urban 47.9, combined 39.2; CO2: 191g/km; Key standard equipment includes 20 inch polished alloys, blind spot monitoring, 8.4 inch touchscreen display, keyless entry, rear back up camera, heated steering wheel, 506 watt amplifier, forward collision warning system, bi-xenon HID headlamps, front and rear heated seats.