Presented by Bob Aldons - Northstar Chrysler Jeep Dodge
Chrysler is on a product charge and the 300 is its likeable leader.
This is how to drive around feeling like you're in a rap video clip. The new Chrysler 300 (the C is used on the mid-spec models but is absent from the entry-level car and the SRT8) has taken a big step forward mechanically but retained some of the head-turning gangsta looks that set it apart from the rest of the blancmange large car segment.
The big Yank - now with Italian masters - has waded back into the big-car battle with plenty in its arsenal, including the new 3.6-litre V6 engine hooked up to an eight-speed ZF auto.
The 300 Limited starts off with pricing on its side - at $43,000, its features list is well up to the task of taking on the locals. Cloth trimmed power-adjustable (front) seats, a 60/40 splitfold rear seat, satnav, 18in alloy wheels, an Alpine sound system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio, cruise and trip computer controls and dual zone climate control with rear vents.
There's also keyless entry and ignition, three 12-volt outlets, automatic bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights, heated and folding exterior mirrors, a tyre pressure monitoring display, parking sensors and a reversing camera. Optional on this base model (but fitted to the test car) is the Garmin satnav part of the sound system.
While there's no NCAP rating on the big sedan yet, the 300 has stability and traction control, rain brake support (which uses slight pad pressure to dry the brakes when wipers are on), ready-alert braking (that moves brake pads closer to the disc face for quicker brake response if there's a sharp step off the accelerator pedal), hill start assist and anti-lock brakes.
There are (thankfully, given the dimensions and the high rump) front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. Airbags number seven in total - dual front and front-side air bags, a driver's knee air bag and full-length curtain airbags. In its US homeland, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety proffers a "good" crash rating and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded it five stars.
Don't buy one of these if you're an introvert, as it is still a head-turner, evidence that Aussies still like large cars, even if they're not buying as many. This is a large machine and certainly feels tauter and less of a barge than its forebears.
It has lost much of the lumbering lethargy that afflicted its ancestors as well, due in no small part to the more lively powerplant and improved chassis tune. The driveline provides smooth and quiet daily commutes without drinking heavily, with open-road manners that are more than acceptable as well.
It still doesn't have the steering or balance that you might expect from a big rear-drive sedan if you use the Ford and Holden as yardsticks - it is certainly much better but the RWD locals still have it covered for steering response and balance.
The cabin is very comfortable, has good storage facilities and the features list is more than worthy, including some clever and not-so clever touches - foot-operated park brakes are not a favourite. The sun visors are very effective - they cover the long door side by means of extensions and a sliding function.
Full control by the driver of the sound system comes via buttons on the back of the steering wheel spokes - not a new feature but one that is worth mentioning as it leaves the wheel face a little less cluttered. Read More
If you want to experience 300 for yourself, call into Northstar Chrysler at 320 Anzac Avenue Kippa-Ring on the Redcliffe Peninsula. We're only 15 minutes or so from Brisbane Airport and a leisurely drive down the highway from Noosa, Bundaberg, Maryborough, and a short trip from Nambour, Caloundra, Mooloolaba and Bribie Island. We also get a lot of our customers as FIDO - that's not a dog by the way, that's fly in drive out. With cheap airfares, our customers come in from Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Mt Isa and even Sydney, Melbourne and as far away as Perth.
We'll happily arrange a drive home registration and you know the best thing about this? The drive home gives you just the best running in you'll ever get. New engines love a long drive to bed everything in and you'll get the best economy you've ever experienced. Alternatively if you're time or distance poor, check us out online at northstarchrysler.com.au or read more reviews at mycarreview.com.au. Finally, if you can't come to us, we'll come to your home, workplace or worksite - call Northstar on 1300 NTH STAR or 1300 684 782.