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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It's got enormous presence, an enormous cabin and powerful engines

Against It's expensive to run, repair costs are high and it has a fidgety low-speed ride

Verdict The 300C is a breath of fresh air in a rather staid executive market

Go for… 3.0 V6 CRD

Avoid… 5.7 V8

Chrysler 300C Saloon
  • 1. Comparatively small windscreen and big screen pillars restrict visibility
  • 2. The huge boot easily copes with a family's holiday luggage
  • 3. Every model is generously equipped
  • 4. Interior plastics don't feel as high quality as those in European rivals
  • 5. The chassis is the same as that used in the 1999-2003 Mercedes E-Class
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Chrysler 300C Saloon full review with expert trade views

Big, bold and menacing-looking, the Chrysler 300C is related to the previous-shape Mercedes E-Class, but doesn’t hide its American heritage. It certainly has plenty of presence on the road and tempts buyers by offering lots of kit for their cash.

Performance is never in short supply, whichever engine you choose, and the 300C is pretty refined, although it can’t match the silky smoothness of a Jag.

On the road, the Chrysler always feels like a big car, which isn’t surprising given its weight and length. That said, it feels assured through a series of fast, sweeping bends, although the body control could be better over poor surfaces.

Drivers will have no problem getting comfortable in the roomy cabin, although the comparatively small windscreen and big screen pillars restrict visibility. The huge boot easily copes with a family’s holiday luggage, and every model is generously equipped.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

No bargains due to strong demand and low numbers. Diesel is strongest

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The 218bhp 3.0 turbodiesel is our favourite, thanks to its effortless pulling power and in-gear flexibility. It’s pretty quiet, too, unless pushed hard.

The 249bhp 3.5-litre V6 is punchy and propels the big exec to 60mph in a reasonable 9.2sec, but for outright power and pace choose the 340bhp 5.7 V8. It never needs to be worked hard to make rapid progress and will help the car glide seamlessly to 60mph in under seven seconds.

There are no separate specification levels, and each model has a bespoke equipment list that can put many rivals to shame: the diesel and 3.5 V6 petrol have air-con, alloy wheels, stability control and traction control, parking sensors, electric windows all-round, a CD player and leather upholstery. The range-topping 5.7 V8 adds an electric sunroof, CD multichanger and sat-nav.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Touring preferred to saloon and CRD rather than 5.7 V8

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Again, the diesel is the model to choose if you want to hold on to more of your hard-earned cash. It’s the most fuel-efficient, for instance, returning an official average of 34.9mpg, and falls into group 16 for insurance. The 3.5 V6 is in the same insurance group, while the 5.7 V8 attracts a group 18 rating.

Pick the V6 and you’ll be visiting the petrol station much more frequently, due to its official economy 25.7mpg. Go for the 5.7 V8, though, and you’ll soon be on first-name terms with the forecourt staff – it returns a terrifying 11.1mpg average. However, when cruising, the V8 engine automatically shuts down four cylinders, improving economy to about 21mpg.

Whichever you choose, repair costs are likely to be high should anything go wrong – labour rates at Chrysler dealerships are well above average.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

No bargains due to strong demand and low numbers. Diesel is strongest

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

While the 300C’s cabin is a pleasant enough place, the plastics don’t feel as high-quality as those used in European rivals. That said, the interior feels well assembled and we have yet to hear of any actual problems with the trim.

The Chrysler is too new for any significant reliability data to have been generated, but it's hard to not be a little wary: the marque failed to put in an impressive showing in What Car?’s reliability surveys, and it has received some below-average scores in customer satisfaction surveys.

However, because the 300C is based on the old Mercedes E-Class and is built in Europe, the signs are that this model should be more reliable than previous Chryslers, and we haven’t heard of any engine or mechanical problems with it.

As with any executive, keep to the standard rules: pick a car that appears to have been well looked after, and which comes with a full service history.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Touring preferred to saloon and CRD rather than 5.7 V8

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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