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First Drive: 2005 Chrysler 300
The Taming of Rear-Wheel Drive

By Erin Riches
Date posted: 03-09-2004



After watching its stable of sedans — the 300M, Concorde and Sebring — get lost in a crowd of newer, more refined competitors, Chrysler decided that drastic measures were necessary to get the attention of shoppers hell-bent on buying fast Nissan Altimas and super-refined Toyota Avalons and Lexus ES 330s. Seeking an edge of their own, company designers and engineers took a wistful journey back to the mid-1950s when Chrysler's letter-series 300 cars were some of the most powerful and desirable cars on the American market. Upon their return, they specified three ingredients for the company's next sedan:

1) Rear-wheel drive
2) An available "Hemi" V8 engine
3) A more authentic luxury ambience

The product of their efforts is an all-new large sedan bearing the name 300. Priced from the mid-$20Ks to the low-$30Ks, this 300 will square off against a range of competitors — some of them family-oriented, some of them luxury-branded, but very few of them rear-wheel-drive. And it will be the only one available with a 5.7-liter V8 with hemispherical combustion chambers — taking the venerable old 300C name when thusly equipped.

Although one can't help but fixate on its large chrome grille and double-lens headlights (ostensibly borrowed from the 1957 300C), the 300's body doesn't have quite the "retro" appeal of its sister car, the Dodge Magnum wagon. It's no cause for criticism, though, as the sedan's simpler lines and more classic shape should appeal to a wider cross-section of buyers. All the same, there's certainly no shortage of testosterone here: The 300's powerful stance is anchored by an exceptionally high beltline and standard 17-inch wheels (18s on the 300C) encased in bulging fenders.

more...
 

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another ugly car from Chrysler. what are the Germans doing to them? MB knows how to make a good looking car, why are they allowing Chrysler to build such stupid looking vehicles? sounds good underneath the ugly part. unfortunately, the ugly part would probably cause me to pass... there are plenty of good cars out there, and most look better than this heap of dung.
 

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Definitely an "eye of the beholder" situation here, Superbad. I absolutely dig the new 300, and the price is right. I'm not about to give up my CTS or anything, but if I were in the market for a car right now, I'd seriously consider this new Chrysler.

...then I'd go buy a Cadillac. :p
 

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I don't know...you guys shouldn't really underestimate this car. I sat in a silver 300C at the Dallas Auto Show and I can thankfully say that this maybe the car to make Chrysler a luxury brand again. The interior was, well, of Cadillac quality! The leather seats were very supportive, the dash is very clean with easy to reach controls, and everyone there was looking at the HEMI. :lol: Hehe, DC is really riding the HEMI name!

I'm going to get a new car this year after my G35 lease expires and I'm seriously considering the new 300C (V8, not V6 versions) or Subaru Legacy.
 

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Originally posted by coolcaddy@Mar 13 2004, 10:33 PM
Definitely an "eye of the beholder" situation here, Superbad. I absolutely dig the new 300, and the price is right. I'm not about to give up my CTS or anything, but if I were in the market for a car right now, I'd seriously consider this new Chrysler.

...then I'd go buy a Cadillac. :p
:huh: so you own a CTS... ill give you 3 grand for it... lol

im sorry thats all i got and i REALLY WANT ONE!!!

as for this car i like it, its ok, the only thing i have a problem is with the nose. a little big for my teaste
 

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That is one UGLY car. To invoke the name of the sublime '57 300 is an insult to that car and the designer, Virgil Exner.
 

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Well ..what is GM going to offer with the Impala?? RWD and V8. Lets hope so. The 300 will cut into the Impala's sales . With three shifts in Oshawa they better have a game plan.
 

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Originally posted by RCtennis3811@Mar 13 2004, 02:39 PM
I'm going to get a new car this year after my G35 lease expires and I'm seriously considering the new 300C (V8, not V6 versions) or Subaru Legacy.
Hmm. 300C or Subaru Legacy...300C or Subaru Legacy...300C or Subaru Legacy.

...isn't that like...

Hmm. Chocolate or Asparugus...Chocolate or Asparugus...Chocolate or Asparugus.

...? :huh:
 

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It looks like a brick on wheels, I will just have to wait untill I drive one to make any final judgements though. The interior is pretty nice for Chrysler, I would wait for the Charger though....
 

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Great looking car, I cant wait to drive it although Im probably gonna have to get the wagon when its time . Chrysler is gonna sell a bunch of em.
 

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Saw a car carrier yesterday carrying a bunch of those Chrysler 300's. They really dont look all that bad in person. The question is, can they be reliable ?
 

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The upscale Hemi powered versions of the 300 are pushing $40,000. I saw one and had the opportunity to sit a few this weekend at a Chrysler event. It was MSRP of about $38,900

Interesting to look at from the outside, but a snoozer on the inside, the seats were comfortable, the dash was about as interesting as watching paint dry. The "satin-silver" finish on alot of the knobs and buttons looks like it might hold-up for about a year of a womans fingernails before it starts to flake off. The back seat is roomy, but again plain, no courtesy lights on the doors, as far as I saw, the map/reading lights in the rear were small and looked like the ones from a Neon. It has rear a/c vents, but no temperature control or fan speed control, like in a Cadillac. No rear ashtrays or power ports. Also, there is no transmisson dipstick! The whole where the dipstick would be is covered by a plug that reads " For dealership mechanic use only"
 

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Originally posted by MCGARRETT@Mar 23 2004, 11:47 PM
The upscale Hemi powered versions of the 300 are pushing $40,000. I saw one and had the opportunity to sit a few this weekend at a Chrysler event. It was MSRP of about $38,900

Interesting to look at from the outside, but a snoozer on the inside, the seats were comfortable, the dash was about as interesting as watching paint dry. The "satin-silver" finish on alot of the knobs and buttons looks like it might hold-up for about a year of a womans fingernails before it starts to flake off. The back seat is roomy, but again plain, no courtesy lights on the doors, as far as I saw, the map/reading lights in the rear were small and looked like the ones from a Neon. It has rear a/c vents, but no temperature control or fan speed control, like in a Cadillac. No rear ashtrays or power ports. Also, there is no transmisson dipstick! The whole where the dipstick would be is covered by a plug that reads " For dealership mechanic use only"
I'm with you on the interior. I looked at both the 300 and the Magnum at NAIAS, and both times I thought, "This is how they are selling these large cars in this price range". I think the interiors are very plain. I don't like gimmicky or gaudy interiors, but there are huge expanses of unadorned plastic in these cars, with nothing to catch the eye.
 

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Originally posted by SUPERBADD75@Mar 13 2004, 10:24 PM
another ugly car from Chrysler. what are the Germans doing to them? MB knows how to make a good looking car, why are they allowing Chrysler to build such stupid looking vehicles? sounds good underneath the ugly part. unfortunately, the ugly part would probably cause me to pass... there are plenty of good cars out there, and most look better than this heap of dung.
Whoah, I completely agree with you.
Correction to my previous post, THIS has got to be the ugliest car I've ever seen. I can't even look at it without laughing out of horror! :blink:

I don't care if it has a 600HP V12 and starts at $10k... it's so ugly I couldn't stand to look at it for very long. It would be like dating a girl with a great personality, but a face like Jay Leno.
 

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Yea not nearly as awe inspiring as the W cars :rolleyes: You want some more plastic cladding with your GTP :lol:


What does GM have that is even close to this car.... the impala, the malibu, please.... You want to talk about crap intieriors. GM is a laughing stock on most import boards. The GTO is the first GM interior to be good in years...
 

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Originally posted by geronimo66@Apr 1 2004, 04:11 PM
Yea not nearly as awe inspiring as the W cars :rolleyes: You want some more plastic cladding with your GTP :lol:


What does GM have that is even close to this car.... the impala, the malibu, please.... You want to talk about crap intieriors. GM is a laughing stock on most import boards. The GTO is the first GM interior to be good in years...
I'll take plastic cladding over blockiness and boxiness any day.

I don't think GM has anything similar to this car. Nothing is as boxy and in-your-face ugly as Chrysler's retro Dodge Diplomat. GM does have the CTS-V which is similarly boxy, RWD, V8, but a few inches smaller and a few shades less ugly.
 

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Originally posted by geronimo66@Apr 1 2004, 05:42 PM
hmmm for less than a cts-v ill take an STi or EVO spank the caddy all day long, with money to spare.
Are you sure you will be beating the V and besides you are driving an ugly cars when compared the the CTS, with no class compared to a CTS V. You are comparing apples to oranges. The CTS V is an alternative to German muscle.
I still can't understand what DC was thinking with the 300 it may have a nice interior but it is really hit with a ugly stick, really hard.
 

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Originally posted by Canuck@Apr 1 2004, 08:13 PM
I still can't understand what DC was thinking with the 300 it may have a nice interior but it is really hit with a ugly stick, really hard.
Yep, it looks to me very much like a retro-modern Dodge Diplomat, at least the grille. The body sideview actually reminds me very much of the 1980 Dodge St. Regis my friend drove many years ago in high school. I guess times change because back in the mid-90's when I was in high school, we used to make fun of cars that looked like this (my friend's St. Regis was the subject of a lot of teasing). :laughbounce:

Maybe it would have been different had his car actually been fast, but I doubt it.
 

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The 300c styling isnt actually that bad, line it up next to a 300m or an older c300 and you'll see the design cues jump out at you immediately, it's high class, not a sports car....and even then....it's ot more get up and go than almost anything the general can offer....not to mention RWD....
 
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