Chrysler 300, 2006: The Weekly Driver Car Review

James Raia

Among the most discussed and highly praised new vehicles on the road, the Chrysler 300 offers sedan fanciers sophistication, power and a lot of luxury — all packaged about as nicely as feasible. It’s as if the heavy-duty tankers of yesteryear have been given a modern-day makeover.

Gone is the sluggish, gas-guzzling reputation of cruiser sedans. Instead, the new Chrysler has gone upscale and elegant as if the terms sleek and sturdy and dutiful and cruising family sedan are no longer mutually exclusive.

My test drive for the week was the 300C. It featured a a 340-hp, 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with a five-speed, automatic transmission. The combination is frighteningly powerful, which I embarrassingly discovered on several occasions.

At one intersection after a city traffic, low-speed situation, I stopped at a stoplight. When the light changed, I seemingly barely touched the accelerator and off I jettisoned, tires screeching.

On other occasion, I equally bolted through heavy traffic on the freeway. Chrysler claims the vehicle has the 9.0-second results in the standard 0-60 test, and there’s little to question the claim.

The Chrysler 300 is available in four options with my 300C model, second only to the SRT8 in standard and optional features, size and performance pedigree. With its 20-inch wheels and 6.1-liter engine, for example, the SRT8 boasts of a 0-60 mph in 5.0 seconds.

The point: The Chrysler 300 — whether the base, AWD Touring, 300C or the flagship SRT8  model — will get you to where you want to go, and it will do so with a quick bolt of speed and quietly cruise down the freeway at ease.

The Chrysler 300 will also get you where want in extreme comfort. The front and back seat are spacious, and the leather-trimmed seats are handsomely coordinated with the silver-colored instrumentation and wood grain panel trim and console. In my instance, the presentation was further enhanced by a distinguished-looking Satin Jade Pearl (think charcoal gray) exterior and interior.

At night, the simply designed, stylish instrument control faces are backlit an attractive light green. Additionally, the dual-material steering wheel — its light tortoise shell with a leather-covered — all up to give the driver and passengers a serene, luxurious experience.

The ride quality further complements the high praise, including a Best Buy recommendation from Consumer Guide, although my vehicle did have increased wind rush at higher speeds. But it’s a small issue, particularly considering the vast standard and optional features.

Among the standard features: Halogen projector headlamps, fog lamps, heated front, titled power steering wheel with radio controls, tire pressure monitoring system and rain-sensitive windshield wipers.

More than a dozen option packages are available, with my test drive featuring the Sound Group II ($635). It included AM/FM radio with cassette, with a six-CD changer, 368-watt amplifier and seven Boston Acoustics speakers. The high-intensity headlamps and headlamp washer added another $695, a rear-seat video system (untested) contributed another $695 and SIRIUS satellite radio with one-year of service added another $195. With a destination charge $675, the 300C’s total price is just under $37,000.

That amount puts the Chrysler 300C into the mix with a good cross selection of vehicles. For its combination of power, comfort and style, it would be hard to argue against it as a top choice.

Safety Features — Dual front airbags (other airbags available).

Fuel Mileage (estimates) — 17 mpg (city), 25 mpg (highway).

Warranty — Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 7 years/70,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/100,000 miles; Roadside assistance, 3 years/36,000 miles.

Base Price — $33,325.00.

Article Last Updated: May 3, 2013.

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