Why the quotes? Because the 300C is built in Canada by an Italian conglomerate based in Belgium. Its Hemi V8 is assembled in Mexico.
But from behind the wheel, the 300C Platinum is one of the most American cars I've driven in a long time. It's a big, beefy RWD sedan with a proper V8 engine and a smooth automatic transmission. It's got the power to effortlessly eat up interstate miles, a trunk that'll hold some focus-group-determined number of golf bags and a driveshaft tunnel that your kids' friends will always get stuck straddling on long drives.
I love it, and that surprised me a bit.
Despite reassurances from Chrysler PR folks, I assumed that the 300, through all its facelifts and redesigns, was fundamentally the same car it's been for a decade now. To the extent there's still an LX platform under the skin, that's true, but the style, NVH and road manners have been massaged to the point where the 300C is a thoroughly contemporary machine. All the requisite driver aids, electronic nannies and infotainment options are present. Heated, cooled seats (and cupholders), along with a heated steering wheel and remote start make for comfortable touring regardless of the weather. And the interior trim is, in a word, gorgeous, with matte wood, supple leather and hints of brushed metal throughout.
If there's any downside, it's the 300C's thirst -- a fact in any 2-ton V8 beastie, despite the presence of a variable-displacement system that shuts down unneeded cylinders on the 5.7-liter Hemi. The EPA suggests you'll get 19 mpg combined. We suggest you won't, but perhaps you'll find the engine's effortless power less seductive.
Sure, the 300C is more boulevardier than sharp-edged performance sedan, but it's extraordinarily good at what it does.
EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR KEN ROSS: This is a great car! The truth is, it’s been this way for a while and I’m sure that’s why its does so well for Chrysler. It hit a niche that no one knew was a niche, a big car that harkened back to the glory days of the Big Three. The exterior design is “updated,” it looks a little more rounded on the corners, and the grille and lights get a facelift as well. The trunk space is still gangster-worthy with room enough for a few shovels and two or three “golf bags”.
The interior is very well done; this vehicle came with cream-colored, diamond-quilted leather trimmed in what looks like, and could very well be, real wood. It wasn’t the high-gloss plastic-looking wood that you see all the time, but a tastefully done matte-finished look. Interior room is what you would expect it to be for a car this size, in both the front and rear passenger areas.
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