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Driven: Chrysler 300C touring – on sale now

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Review

Estate cars have steadily become more stylish in recent years and Chrysler’s 300C Touring continues that trend.

Like the saloon on which it is based, this car is intended to make a statement. It has real road presence and turned heads constantly during our test period.

One of its unique features is its inverted L-shaped tailgate. The hinges are set back over the load area so that it lifts up over the car, giving extremely good access when space is tight. Its boot capacity of 630 litres easily swallows pushchairs and suitcases and is larger than those of the BMW 5-series Touring and Audi A6 Avant although slightly smaller than the Mercedes E-class estate.

With the rear seats folded, load capacity increases to 1,602 litres.

The boot’s standard features include a tonneau cover, side storage bins, a power outlet, tie-down rings and storage net, plus a removable folding floor panel with a waterproof reverse side for dirty or wet items. All this gives sales executives ammunition when pitching the 300C Touring to a customer.

The car has a raft of other standard kit, too. Xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, leather seats and ESP are all included in the price. The range-topping 5.7-litre Hemi also has a ‘Luxury pack’ as standard, comprising sunroof, walnut interior trim, sat-nav and six CD-changer (a £2,400 option on lesser versions).

Inside, trim quality is good but not quite up to prestige brand standards. However, comfort is not an issue, as occupants have plenty of leg- and shoulder-room and supportive seats.

We tested a 3.0CRD version with a Luxury pack. Its Mercedes-sourced V6 common-rail turbodiesel provides plenty of useable low-down torque, and the five-speed automatic transmission is extremely smooth, although kick-down could be a little more urgent.

We could only achieve an average 30mpg, compared to Chrysler’s stated 34.9mpg on a combined cycle. Nevertheless, this is still more economical than its 3.5-litre and 5.7-litre petrol-powered brethren.

Price: £27,275-34,290
Engines: 3.0-litre CRD diesel 218bhp; 3.5-litre V6 petrol 249bhp; 5.7-litre V8 Hemi petrol 340bhp
Performance: 0-62mph 7-9.5sec; top speed 130-155mph
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Efficiency: 22.6-34.9mpg (comb); 215-296g/km CO2
CAP RV: £9,975 (37%)
Rivals: 5-series, E-class, V70
Strength: Fantastic equipment for the price, imposing looks
Weakness: Heavy drinker
Opportunity: Up-sell with Startech accessories
Threat: Looks could lose appeal
USP: For the extroverted family

First drive: Chrysler 300C

Revitalised Chrysler is giving most of Britain’s business car segment a wide berth with its new 300C executive model, which went on sale in mid-June.

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