San Francisco: Like
a classic muscle car or chopped street rod, the Chrysler 300 has a mean,
all-American look like no other car on the road. Available with a
340-horsepower Hemi V/8 engine, this big sedan can burn some serious
I usually detest
driving big cars. It's not because they're ugly or slow - which many of
them are - but because they remind me of my grandma's car, an old
Chrysler Fifth Avenue that wallowed through corners like its suspension
was made of oatmeal and rubber bands. It felt more like piloting a boat
than driving an automobile.
So when I got behind
the wheel of the Chrysler 300C, I was fully prepared to detect some
Fifth Avenue DNA lingering somewhere in the wheel wells as a reminder of
the sloppy Chryslers of yore. I certainly expected it to drive nicely,
but I didn't think Chrysler would be able to totally eliminate that
horrible, yacht-like feeling that so many big sedans suffer from in an
effort to appease their geriatric, Ensure-sipping buyers.
Did I detect any
wallowing? Not a hint. In fact, I haven't had so much fun driving a car
- any car - in a long time. I can turn off the traction control on this
big, rear-wheel-drive, Hemi-powered beast and steer it with the
throttle, kicking the back end around and lighting up the tires at every
corner. It feels exactly like someone has taken a high-powered exotic
sports car, then doubled its size and added a back seat. It's
Even more remarkable is
the refinement of the 300C's ride and handling. It's a very comfortable
car to drive at any speed, whether slowly cruising on city boulevards or
zipping down an Interstate highway, yet it takes corners with the
precision and balance of a car built for the racetrack. It certainly
doesn't have a race car's stiffness, but it provides enough feedback to
the driver that you're never in doubt about how well each wheel is
connected to the road's surface.
A comfortable interior
in the Chrysler 300 offers plenty of space and is built to a high
standard. Soft materials and tight construction are impressive,
especially considering the car's sub-$24,000 base price. And then
there's the style - oh, baby, what a style.
Like a gangster car for
the 21st century, the 300's body has a sinister, hunkered-down stance
that seems to say, "You talkin' to me?" Its high beltline and narrow
side windows make it look like a chopped roadster, and its big, bold
front end evoke the same tough masculinity as a 1960s muscle car. Never
mind the fact that Chrysler is now owned by the Germans, this is an
all-American car if there ever was one.
Pricing starts at
$23,775 for a 300 powered by a 2.7-liter V6 engine that makes 190
horsepower. For about $4,000 more you can get additional standard
features, leather seats, and a bigger, 3.5-liter V6 that makes 250
horses in the 300 Touring model.
Step up to the Limited
Package ($30,625) and you get a near-luxury sedan complete with
automatic headlamps, one-touch up & down front windows, dual-zone
automatic climate control, a fancy trip computer and more.
At the top of the range
is the Hemi-powered 300C that comes with a massively powerful, 5.7-liter
V8 engine. It makes 340 horsepower and 390 foot-pounds of torque, enough
to make it accelerate like a ballistic missile.
No matter which flavor
of the 300 you pick, you'll get a car that looks great, handles
brilliantly and has a beautiful, high-quality cabin that can transport
your friends and family in serene comfort. And that's nothing like my
grandma's Fifth Avenue.
What was tested? The
2006 Chrysler 300C with a base price of $33,725. Options: Rear-seat
video system ($1,150), navigation system ($1,965), power sunroof ($950),
upgraded stereo ($695). Price as tested including a $675 destination
Why buy it? It's
big, bold, powerful and refined. It's a car that looks as good as it
drives, offering impressive refinement and performance for the price.
Why avoid it?
For the first time, I can't think of a good reason. By
Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Chrysler Home Page
content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: Chrysler's big 300C is a screamer
Topic: The 2006 Chrysler 300C
Word Count: 752
Photo Caption: The 2006 Chrysler 300C
Photo Credits: Chrysler Internet Media
Series #: 2006 - 40
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