Chrysler's Mopar Dart, 500, 300C and Compass: Up Close

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True to its factory-rollout status, the Mopar 300C looks like the sleeper of the bunch, with subtle blue stripes and matching wheels. Pop the hood, and Chrysler’s 5.7-liter V-8 has blue etching. Thanks to a 3.91 rear axle ratio — compared with 3.06 for the standard 300C — the Mopar car should hit 60 mph in close to 5 seconds, Chrysler says. The automaker doesn’t cite an exact zero-to-60 time on the regular 300C, except to say it’s “under 6 seconds.” The tradeoff is the engine running at higher, mileage-killing rpm on the interstate, but I doubt any Mopar owner will care. I’m not as wild about the custom interior. It gets a cool, palm-sized automatic shifter but trades the 300’s upscale Nappa leather for blue-accented Katzkin leather seats. They feel like too much aftermarket cowhide: shiny and, well, cheap.

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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

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