The vehicle that marked the return of the great American car in 2004 now has the distinguished title of the most-awarded new car in automotive history. Consumers have embraced the Chrysler 300’s striking proportions, classic American design and advanced technologies, helping spur the Chrysler brand to record-breaking sales numbers for 2004.
By Kevin “Crash” Corrigan
With its somewhat aggressive styling, more toys than you could fit under a Christmas tree and a Hemi power plant that can blow your socks off, the 300c from Chrysler is one heck of a car.
Never have I seen a car with more menacing good looks than those of the Chrysler 300c. Actually that’s not strictly true. As a bit of a horror movie fan, I’ve seen “The Car” (1977) and have also seen “Christine” (1983). Both movies feature an awesome looking vehicle that devours everything in sight. The Hemi powered 300c on the other hand, is an awesome looking vehicle with a 0-60 time of 6.2 seconds that can devour “pretty much” everything in sight.
The exterior of this car reminded me in many ways of those classic movie cars. It has a solid looking stance with high door lines that make the roof almost appear chopped. The handsome eighteen inch chrome clad aluminum wheels nicely fill the wheel arches and add to that low slung look. The exterior of my test vehicle was painted in a silver grey metallic, almost a light gunmetal color, with its light grey leather interior, very sharp. With all the chrome accents and the HID headlamps, the vehicle just oozed prestige and I would not have looked out of place in the back seat with someone driving me. I really like to see chrome on a car and it has to be said that this model has the perfect balance of chrome, not over the top, but enough to highlight the vehicle. The 300c looks good from any angle and is one of those vehicles that one tends to stop and admire; the Chrysler design team truly deserves the praise that they have received for this vehicle.
The vehicle boasts a whole host of goodies, rain sensing wipers, adjustable pedals, HID headlamps, Sat Nav, a Boston Acoustics’ sound system and a DVD player, just to name a few. Inside, the leather seating was very comfortable but I must confess that I found the carpet and headlining a little disappointing for a car in this price range. I also had a little trouble with the cup holders; now I don’t know if Starbuck’s had anything to do with the design, but strangely, a large coffee cup fitted perfectly well, anything smaller was really awkward to grab hold of. One other area that fell slightly short of my expectations was the interior wood trim. The half rim wood steering wheel was pleasant enough, so was the top of the auto stick, but covering the door grab handles in wood was possibly a mistake, as they end up scratched and marked by rings and are constantly covered in fingerprints.
That said, who cares! Half the fun of this vehicle is driving it, actually forget that, it’s more like 80% of the fun. For those of you who have not driven a Hemi powered vehicle, I urge you to go and try one out. This V8 power plant with its MDS system (Multi Displacement System) is amazing. It produces incredible power, yet simply put, it shuts down four cylinders when you have no real need for them. Then when you hit the gas, within 0.040 seconds, you have more screaming power than a Hollywood horror flick. Having said that, I drove this vehicle for a week, and I actually started to worry that it might have a faulty fuel gauge. The needle seemed slower to move than expected. They say that the hemi can give fuel savings of up to 20%; they also say that by the end of the 2007 model year, Chrysler products with hemi engines will be saving 60 million gallons of gas a year. Of course, if we had the European version with the famous Mercedes Benz turbo diesel engine, we could probably save even more.
The ride qualities of the 300c are exceptionally good, although I did find the steering a little light and would venture to say that Chrysler could do well to dig a little deeper into the Mercedes Benz parts bin. Now, I’m a rear wheel drive fan and many companies have produced powerful vehicles which when coupled to a rear axle, simply struggle for grip. Traction on the 300c is outstanding and a quick departure from a side street will impress any passenger, this car just grips and goes. All that Hemi power is smoothly transferred through a five speed auto transmission with a nudge up, nudge down feature. Couple this to a 5 point linked rear end, add in a mix of all speed traction control and Chryslers ESP (Electronic Stability Program) it’s kind of like “point and go” technology. Of course, once you get it going, you have to stop, not a problem, with four wheels anti-lock disc brakes and brake assist, they have that totally covered.
Now I’ve gone on a bit about the about the performance aspects of the 300c and with good reason, it’s a big part of the fun of driving the car. There is however, another side to this vehicle, if you like its “civilized guise”. The 300c makes a great family car, it is roomy and comfortable, and it even has a DVD system for the kids in the back seat. It also has a trunk that is huge, with more than enough room for a dead body or two (sorry, I’m back to the scary movies again). The engine is quiet at low revs and the ride quality, as I have said, is exceptional. The best way that I can try to sum up the 300c is this: It would be the perfect car for a diplomat or maybe even Royalty. A vehicle to be stately driven by a chauffeur, with their passenger safely cocooned within a solid, yet comfortable shell, but should trouble arise, enough get up and go to be got and gone!
Even without the Hemi, this would be a very nice car to drive, with the Hemi, it’s a blast! When they made those automotive horror flicks all those years ago, they hired custom car designers at great expense to create those “one off” vehicles. If you’re a budding movie maker today and you want my advice, save your money, get a blacked out 300 with a Hemi. That’s the great thing about this car, change the exterior colors around and it would suit everyone from George Bush to Mad Max, (no, they’re not the same person!).
“The beautiful styling and incredible performance of the Chrysler 300 created a package unlike any other in the marketplace,” said Jeff Bell, Vice President – Chrysler. “We are honored and proud of the recognition we have received for the Chrysler 300 and we plan to continue to delight our customers for the 2006 model year.”
With Chrysler brand’s long-standing tradition of innovative design, the modern elegance of the 2006 Chrysler 300 continues to make everything else on the road seem ordinary. The dramatic exterior design direction of the Chrysler 300 along with sophisticated interior amenities and command-of-the-road technologies, establish a new large-car formula that includes style and performance not likely to be copied.
What’s new for 2006?
The award-winning Chrysler 300 returns for 2006 with the same elements of its successful 2005 formula, strikingly beautiful styling, incredible performance, dynamic and controlled handling and unsurpassed comfort and spaciousness all at a stunningly affordable price.
The 2006 Chrysler 300 lineup includes the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) Chrysler 300, Chrysler 300 Touring and the HEMI-powered Chrysler 300C. The 2006 Chrysler 300 Touring and 300C also are available with all-wheel drive (AWD). A Limited package also is available on both the rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations of the 300 Touring model.
Engine and transmission options
The 2006 Chrysler 300 features a 2.7-liter V-6 engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The transmission features Variable Line Pressure (VLP), which accurately estimates the pressure necessary for maximum operating efficiency (late availability). This precise control of pressure reduces parasitic losses from the pump and hydraulic system, which provides enhanced fuel economy.
The 2006 Chrysler 300 Touring and Chrysler 300 with the Limited package vehicles are equipped with a 3.5-liter High Output V-6 engine mated to Chrysler Group’s five-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick® (late availability). AutoStick features driver-selectable range control, offering a fully automatic or manual shift selection. Previously, the 3.5-liter V-6 engine was mated to a four-speed transmission on Chrysler 300 models.
The 2006 Chrysler 300C continues to feature the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine, with cylinder deactivation, mated to the five-speed transmission.
Dvd entertainment system
An optional rear-seat DVD entertainment system conveniently integrated into the center console is available on the 2006 Chrysler 300 Touring, Chrysler 300 with the Limited package and 300C. The Video Entertainment System (VES™) consists of a center console cover-mounted DVD player and 7-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) screen, a remote control and two wireless headsets. The hinged LCD screen can be fully stored into the armrest or flipped up for viewing. This location provides rear seat passengers with easy access to the unit.
In addition to video DVDs, the system can play audio DVDs, Windows Media Audio (WMA), audio CDs, MP3 audio discs and video CDs. Auxiliary plug-in jacks are included on the faceplate so that rear-seat passengers can view video directly from a video camera, play games from a video game console or play music directly from a portable MP3 player.
Another unique feature of the entertainment system is that the vehicle speakers can play audio from a disc in the DVD player while rear-seat passengers can listen to audio from the SIRIUS Satellite Radio, AM or FM radio, or a disc in the radio CD player on the headphones.
Additional safety features
A Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPM) system, which monitors the pressure inside each tire and alerts the driver to improper tire pressure conditions, is standard on the 2006 Chrysler 300 Touring model and on Chrysler 300s with the Limited package. The basic system uses an amber ISO symbol, which indicate when one or more tires are underinflated. A premium TPM system is available on the Chrysler 300C, which displays all four tire pressures and warnings in the Electronic Vehicle Information Center display in the instrument panel.
A front-seat seat belt alert, which chimes to remind occupants to buckle up, and a speed control instrument panel indicator light also are featured on all 2006 Chrysler 300 vehicles.
Chrysler 300 customers embraced the return to rear-wheel drive in 2005. Technologies such as Electronic Stability Program (ESP), All-speed Traction Control System (TCS) and Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) helped control Chrysler 300 cars in ways that were transparent to the driver, yet provided exceptional ride and handling characteristics. The 2006 Chrysler 300 Touring, the Chrylser 300 with the Limited package and the Chrysler 300C continue to feature these technologies.
“Chrysler’s rear-wheel-drive architecture transfers HEMI power to the pavement, while the ESP, traction control and ABS offer safe control of the vehicle,” said Craig Love, Vice-President — Rear-wheel-drive Platform Team, Chrysler Group. “The five-link independent suspension delivers excellent handling and responsiveness to provide an incredible smooth ride.”
- ESP enhances driver control and helps maintain directional stability, including uneven surface conditions and patchy snow, ice or gravel. If there’s a discernible difference between what the driver indicates through the steering and the vehicle’s path, ESP applies selective braking and throttle control to put the car back onto the driver’s intended path. The system is calibrated for improved control of the vehicle under a variety of conditions and operates in a manner that is not intrusive under normal driving
- ESP also offers Brake Assist, which detects when maximum braking is required by sensing the rate of brake application. By applying full brake pressure to all four brakes, this system improves stopping distance
- All-speed TCS enhances mobility and prevents wheel slip when accelerating on slippery surfaces. It also provides a measure of directional stability control—an advancement beyond prior traction control systems
- ABS keeps the vehicle straight, while retaining steering capability when braking on slippery surfaces by preventing wheel lock-up
All-wheel-drive system provides best in passenger car four-season traction
The 2006 Chrysler 300 Touring and 300C also are available as all-wheel-drive models to provide excellent cornering balance under all driving conditions and improved traction in snow and wet-weather conditions. By driving continuously through all four wheels, the all-wheel-drive system, combined with standard ESP, All-speed TCS and ABS, adds outstanding performance and stability under all traction conditions. A Limited package also is available on the 300 Touring AWD model.
“While chassis electronics and advanced tire technology help control the 2006 Chrysler 300 rear-wheel-drive models, some customers may opt for the all-wheel-drive choice,” said Love. “We are able to offer what the customer wants in each case.”
The 2006 Chrysler 300C model features the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine with Multiple Displacement System (MDS). MDS seamlessly turns off the fuel consumption in four cylinders of the HEMI engine when V-8 power is not needed, improving fuel economy by as much as 20 percent. This HEMI engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick.
With 340 horsepower (254 kW) and 390 lb.-ft. (525 N•m) of torque, the Chrysler 300C can go from zero to 60 mph in just 6.3 seconds.
Standard features on the rear-wheel-drive 2006 Chrysler 300C include all rear-wheel-drive Chrysler 300 with the Limited package standard features plus/replaced by the following: 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels, Boston Acoustics six-speaker sound system with 276-watt digital amplifier with door trim badge, chrome, multi-function, power, heated foldaway mirrors with memory feature and driver’s auto-dimming and auto-adjust in reverse, dual exhaust with bright tips, performance four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, power tilt and telescoping steering column, premium leather interior trim, Satin Silver accent bezel on center console projector halogen headlamps with delay, rain-sensitive wipers, tortoise shell-style interior accents, trunk liner and a memory system for driver’s seat, radio presets, steering column, display and pedals (if equipped).
The 2006 Chrysler 300C powered by the HEMI V-8 engine also is available as an all-wheel-drive model, which adds a front differential, transfer case and all-wheel-drive front suspension.