2006 Chrysler 300 C AWD
The Good :)
Bold looks, similar to a Bentley. Tons of Power. Spacious Interior Room.
Large Wheels and Tires.
The Bad :(
Interior Parts Feel Cheap. Some Bounce and Sway in Ride. Lacks Driver
Feedback, Feels Boring to Drive.
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Chrysler's success can be attributed to one
single car lately, the 300 model. Having the most awarded new car in
automotive history is quite an achievement. We recently tested the 300C
with all wheel drive to see if the combination of high luxury and style
mixed with high performance and raw power can or cannot make a wonderful
For 2006, the Chrysler 300 lineup offers a
rear wheel drive 300, a Touring model and the HEMI engine powered C. Both
the Touring and C are available in all wheel drive. Chrysler has also kept
things fresh by offering special commemorative models from time to time such
as the Heritage Edition which pays homage to the 1957 Chrysler 300C.
Production of the 2006
Chrysler 300 began in April 2005 at the Brampton Assembly Plant in Brampton,
Ontario, Canada. The 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine is built in the Saltillo
Engine Plant in Saltillo, Mexico. The four-speed and five-speed
transmissions are built at the Indiana Transmission Plants I and II
respectively, in Kokomo, Ind. With production of main components from such
far apart plants, we wouldn't be surprised to see outsourcing of things like
engine blocks to China and India where labor is much cheaper. Surprisingly,
many loyal consumers to the Big Three still think these cars are made in the
USA, boys are they wrong!
The 300's exterior styling is what has been
the major selling factor for Chrysler since its introduction. The big and
bold grille is similar to a Bentley. If you buy this car in a creamy white
color many people will actually think it is a Bentley since even the hood
logo looks similar. The high waistline and strong angular front and back
design gives us American drivers the macho-man image we all require. The
large wheels and tires is an added plus and usually not offered as standard
equipment by other makes in this segment. However, there is substantial
wheel gap which does not look good and should be reduced. Chrome accents
from the front to the rear convey a classy and sparkling new car appearance.
Interior design is clean and functional.
There is certainly plenty of space in the Chrysler 300C. The drivers and
front passenger seat is power adjustable and can be put in a cradle
position. Dual memory features allow you to save your favorite position and
an easy exit feature pushes the seat back and steering wheel out of your way
as you park and leave the vehicle. Rear seats fold 60/40 for carrying large
The gear shifter gate is
simple and easy to use, but the hard plastic controls are on the cheap side
for vehicle in this price range. Chrysler has used some items such as the
control stalks on the left hand side of the steering wheel straight from
Mercedes Benz vehicles. The steering column is also adjustable in all ways
by a powered lever. Dials are simple white with black lettering and the
hard black plastic background around the dials does not look very high end.
Painted silver plastic trim does look better than just plain silver plastic
trim but mixed with the black and grey colors, the interior just did not
shine. The faux plastic looking wood trim on interior door pulls and the
upper portion of the steering wheel just screams cheap. Optional is walnut
wood trim for a extra fee, we think that this turtle shell material should
be thrown in the trash quickly. We even found some air bubbles in the see
through plastic on the top portion of the steering wheel.
It seems that Chrysler has deliberately
made some parts feel cheap when most of the guts behind the Chrysler 300 are
from Mercedes E class technology. Perhaps the 300 is a way for Mercedes to
lure in more buyers to its brand through the Chrysler name in America.
Plastic buttons on the ventilation controls are loose made of hard black
plastic. Around the navigation system you will find cheap buttons and a
control dial that does not allow entry of a command, there is a separate
button labeled "enter" for that. Door handles are placed very high and made
too thin to feel good in your hand, there is no grab handle placed
ergonomically but laid flat horizontally on the door. Small details like
these are what you pay for on better designed interior of a Mercedes.
Rear seat passengers enjoy a good amount of
space and the video entertainment system ads to the fun. The seven-inch
screen tucks away neatly in the center armrest along with the remote control
and two wireless headsets. In addition to video DVDs, the system can play
audio DVDs, Windows Media Audio (WMA), 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. In back the flip
down armrest would be perfect were it not for two hard plastic cup holders
placed where your arm should rest, why this was done is beyond me.
Overall the spaciousness
inside the Chrysler 300 and the high seating position gives you a feeling
that you are in command with good visibility all around you. All basic
luxuries and technologies available are included or optional on the 300C.
Automatic headlamps, rain sensing wipers, tire pressure monitor, premium
speakers, rear backup sensors, memory system for seats, mirrors, steering
wheel, stereo, dual climate zones, heated seats, UConnect Bluetooth
telephone connection, and filters for ventilation are offered. Trunk space
is also very good with a high and wide opening for loads of cargo.
The famous 5.7 liter HEMI V8 engine found
in the 300C offers tons of power and smooth acceleration. It features
cylinder deactivation which shuts off some cylinders when not needed for
improved fuel economy. The engine offers 340 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of
torque rocketing the 300C to sixty miles per hour in just six seconds. Our
tests revealed a fuel economy of 16.6 miles per gallon, a bit low. Fuel
economy on the window sticker is rated at 17 city and 24 highway.
Driving the 300C is enjoyable. The feel
from the driver's seat is that you are driving a big car. The fenders and
hood look as if they are far away and the narrow windshield and high dash
makes you feel more in your own world. Steering feedback is certainly
present and on the normal side however the light steering should be adjusted
to be firmer. We lacked severe winter weather to test the four wheel drive
system but during everyday driving it was not noticeable from the interior.
No noises from under the vehicle and no wheels screeching as you surge using
all available horsepower on this four wheel drive car. The mechanicals of
the Chrysler 300C are excellent. The transmission can manually change gears
to go into a sportier driving situation; however, shifts are slow and
We drove the Chrysler 300C
vehicle extensively for long drives and found that seats do cause some
fatigue long after you have stopped driving. They are not the same as those
found in an S-class for example where you feel more relaxed after a long
trip than when you started. The steering wheel is just a bit too large to
drive comfortably and hold for long periods. The looseness can present
itself in highway driving more so than on the usual country road. The
vehicle is also a bit bouncy and hard to control on uneven surfaces; this is
where a tighter suspension would show its usefulness.
Our test car which was a 2006 300C All
Wheel Drive had a base starting price of $34,850. Options include metallic
paint for $150, a protection group II for $850 which includes side curtain
air bags, air filtering, and the 18 inch self sealing tires, as well as rear
backup parking sensors. The CD based GPS system adds $1,895. Satellite
digital radio by Sirius is $195. The UConnect hands free Bluetooth cell
phone connection costs $275. The rear seat entertainment system with
headphones adds $1,150. Total price with a $675 destination fee is
With the 300, Chrysler has put
together a package unlike most other cars on the road. There simply isn't
another car that has the style, standard amenities and power in today's
marketplace for the price. The 300 appeals to a certain type of buyer who
prefer the muscular bold look similar to cars in the 60's. The importance
of this model is that is shows that you don't have to win the hearts of
everyone to have a successful model. If only other manufactures actually
took chances with bold designs, something that inspires a few rather than
trying to appeal to the mass, we might have something exciting to drive more