Beefy Chrysler saloon makes a big impression

Iain Dooley, PA senior motoring writer, checks out Chrysler's beefy 300C saloon which certainly stands out from the crowd.

Engine – Being a beefy American saloon, it's no surprise to learn that the 300C was offered with a V8 petrol motor – all 5.7 litres of it. For people with less money to spare, a 3.5-litre six-cylinder option was also available. Both perform well but it's the 3.0-litre diesel that's likely to appeal more if you want to achieve wallet-friendly running costs. It's smooth and powerful, too.

Exterior – There's no mistaking the 300C for anything else on the road. It wears its American-influenced origins on its sleeve for all to see. That said, it's also a functional car, with the four-door saloon format working well aesthetically.

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Interior – Big on the outside and roomy on the inside, the 300C's cabin is a plush and spacious environment. There's plenty of room for four adults and the car's big seats are supportive and comfortable for long journeys. Don't expect Germanic build quality though. It's well put together but has its origins in the mainstream market.

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Driving – Like many of its more expensive rivals, the 300C is a traditional rear-wheel drive saloon. It lacks the finessed polish of its German rivals but you'll barely notice unless you're a committed keen driver. More importantly, the 300C delivers a refined driving experience and the Mercedes-Benz-sourced diesel is a strong performer.

Ownership – Assuming you have the room for a big saloon, you'll be rewarded by its comfortable and well-appointed interior, smooth driving performance and affordable running costs. Based on proven Mercedes-sourced technology there's little to worry about.

What to look for – As time has passed, the 300C has proven popular with the private hire industry. Despite it being a durable car, do look out for evidence of accelerated mechanical and cosmetic wear and tear. A comprehensive service history is a must, although it doesn't have to be full of main dealer stamps. Only you will know how many parking dents you can tolerate, but it will pay to be fussy when conducting the test-drive.

Model history – 2005, Chrysler launches the 300C, a large four-door saloon offering upmarket levels of kit and refinement at affordable prices along with modern American styling cues. Large-capacity petrol engines offered alongside a more Europe-friendly diesel motor. A lifestyle estate model followed.

Reasons to buy – Distinctive looks, plush interior, rear-drive platform, diesel economy and refinement.

Reasons to beware – Petrol engine thirst, cabin build and quality levels, image.

Pick of the range – 300C 3.0 V6 CRD SRT Design.

What to pay – 2008 08 �12,275; 2008 58 �12,850; 2009 09 �14,075; 2009 59 �14,825; 2010 10 �16,200. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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