2005 Chrysler 300C
Chrysler 300C sedan exudes an all-American flavor The all-new 2005 Chrysler 300C certainly knows how to make a grand entrance. This blunt and boxy full-size sedan screams "American Classic," from its oversize chrome grille and slab sides to the massive 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 under the long hood. The big surprise is how well Chrysler was able to integrate key components from German sibling Mercedes-Benz into the new 300 without diluting the car's all-American flavor. We drove a top-of-the-line 300C, with a base price of $32,995 and a handful of options, boosting the as-tested price to $34,825. HE: I haven't been this excited about a new domestic product since the Hummer H2. In some ways, that's probably a valid comparison -- both vehicles are classic American designs that look perfectly at home on American roads, but probably won't translate all that well in overseas markets. But the comparison doesn't really do the Chrysler justice because the 300 is asuperior vehicle in nearly every respect. I love the look of it, and I love driving it. SHE: I actually like the 300C better than any of the Mercedes sedans. But I know from talking to people that the new Chrysler is extremely polarizing. Some say it needs to be on the Atkins diet. And it is fairly heavy at 3,700 pounds. Others rave about it and say it looks like a Bentley. My point is that the 300C is not one of those universally beloved cars. But I suspect it is a car that will flush your neighbors out of their houses once they see it in your driveway. HE: You may be a bit off-base with that diet crack. The Honda Accord V-6, which is much smaller inside and out than the 300, weighs 3,350 pounds, which is not a lot lighter. More importantly, the 300C comes with that fabulous Hemi engine, which delivers 340 horsepower and 390 pounds-feet of torque. But thanks to the Mercedes five-speed automatic and some very sophisticated cylinder-cutoff technology that lets the engine run on only four cylinders at part throttle, the EPA says you can expect to get up to 25 miles per gallon in highway driving. That's pretty remarkable, considering how roomy the 300C is inside and how much it feels like a classic Detroit big car. SHE: I still think Chrysler has a lot of work to do in reassuring buyers about the benefits of returning to rear-wheel drive after pushing the benefits of front-wheel drive for the past 25 years. The 300C that we drove comes with electronic stability control as standard equipment. But on the base six-cylinder model that starts at $23,595, stability control, traction control and antilock brakes are extra-cost items. If you choose not to pay the additional $1,025 for this option package, you could be in trouble next winter in your big rear-drive Chrysler sedan when the roads get icy and slippery. HE: Fortunately, all that stuff is standard on the 300C and the mid-range 300 Touring model. For most people, I don't think rear-wheel drive is going to be an issue. On the 300C, I don't see how Chrysler could have pulled everything off without switching the driving wheels from front to rear. That permitted the engineers to adapt a variety of Mercedes suspension and driveline components, all of which have been nicely integrated here in a world-class chassis that neatly combines a supple ride with excellent dynamic control. For long-distance touring, especially with three or four people, there isn't a much better car on the road today at this price. SHE: The other notable thing about the 300C is its ornamentation. It actually has the most chrome on a Chrysler since the late 1960s. And you can order it with unusual touches such as a tortoise shell steering wheel. The Chrysler designers were very creative, both inside and out, and they should get a lot of credit for that. HE: There are some things we didn't like. You can't get some of the newer high-tech fe ures like adaptive headlights that turn in the direction of the steering wheel or adaptive cruise control -- features that are showing up on premium Japanese and European sedans. SHE: The car's high rear parcel shelf cuts down on visibility and the small side windows give the car a bit of a claustrophobic feeling. But in terms of workmanship, the 300C looks well put together. I'm really looking forward to the debut of the all-wheel-drive 300C in the fall. Now that promises to be a real killer combination -- sassy American looks with go-anywhere ability. Anita's rating: Likes: Smooth, comfortable ride. Optional adjustable pedals. Good optional safety features, including side-curtain air bags, self-sealing tires. Stability control system. Lots of head, leg and hip room for front and rear passengers. Optional all-wheel drive coming in the fall. Dislikes: Base RWD model without stability control could have traction problems in winter. Digital gauge readouts fade in direct sunlight. Antilock brakes cost extra on base model. Small side windows. Paul's rating: Likes: The epitome of the big, all-American sedan. Outstanding chassis provides excellent vehicle dynamics. Killer Hemi V-8 engine. Intriguing cylinder-cutoff system helps boost mileage. Shares many parts with Mercedes-Benz, including five-speed transmission. All-independent suspension with 18-inch touring tire. Dislikes: Pretty bland cockpit. 2.7L V-6 in base model is inadequate. Rather plain and boxy rear end. Our test vehicle lacked side air bags.
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Joe Wiesenfelder||Cars.com National||February 8, 2005|
|Jim Flammang||Cars.com National||June 23, 2005|
|Mark Glover||The Sacramento Bee||July 29, 2005|
|Matt Nauman||TheMercuryNews.com||July 15, 2005|
|Royal Ford||Boston.com||June 4, 2005|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||May 22, 2005|
|Paul Lienert||The Detroit Newspapers||April 20, 2005|
|Dan Neil||Los Angeles Times||March 2, 2005|
|Larry Printz||The Morning Call and Mcall.com||February 11, 2005|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||October 22, 2004|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||July 25, 2004|
|Anita And Paul Lienert||The Detroit News||May 26, 2004|
|Royal Ford||Boston.com||May 26, 2004|
|Anita And Paul Lienert||The Detroit Newspapers||February 16, 2004|
People Who Viewed This Car Also Viewed
Closest Dealers Listing this Car
Featured Services for the Chrysler 300C
- Sell your current car quickly and easily on Cars.com.
*Invoice prices are made available by Cars.com and are not dealer advertising. All prices are subject to regional variations. Prices last updated 9/23/10. Click here for more information.