Of all the myriad models from the Chrysler Group, each with their own touch of Americana as standard, the 300C executive saloon has made the transition into the mainstream most successfully.
Pitched as a rival to the established hegemony of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the 300C has done a good job for Chrysler in attracting user-choosers to its unique charms.
And now, for the 2008 model year, there is a revised version which the firm hopes will bring even more fleet drivers around to its way of thinking.
The revisions are subtle, with a new rear end design with redesigned light units and a subtle lip spoiler on the boot, while inside is a new dashboard design and upgraded materials to bring more of a premium feel to the model.
The colour scheme has also changed, with a single colour dark cabin feel replacing the previous two-tone, lighter look.
Mechanically the 300C is unchanged, which means a Mercedes-Benz-sourced 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine.
For the environmentally unaware, or financially unchallenged, the mighty 6.1-litre V8 SRT with 425bhp is also available.
The previous V6 and V8 petrols have been dropped through lack of demand.
But for those who like the look of the SRT but don’t like the thought of the fuel bills, Chrysler has added an SRT-Design model to the diesel range.
Priced at £32,495, or £1,000 more for the Touring estate, this model features 20-inch alloys, wheelarch spats and a chrome mesh grille, while inside are numerous SRT sports touches and the 20Gb MyGIG infotainment system.
Chrysler sells between 2,500 and 3,000 300Cs in the UK every year – the vast majority being the diesel – and it expects this to continue, with supply limited to maintain healthy residual values.
Behind the wheel
The view from the driver’s seat is quite imposing with a high dashboard and large steering wheel, but the shallow glass area gives the cabin quite an intimate feel.
The focus on improving the interior has also worked, with less in the way of hard, brittle plastics evident. Changes include some stitched leather, more
wood-like ‘wood’ trim and LED lighting to create a more enticing ambience.
On start-up the diesel is noisy, but no more so than in an E-Class, and on the move it is subdued.
Given its near-two-tonne kerbweight, the 300C is never going to be anything more than adequate performance-wise, but what impresses is the refinement.
With suspension and damping tuned for comfort, the 300C yomps along giving a quiet and comfortable ride with little in the way of road imperfections making their way through to the cabin.
As a trade-off, handling isn’t in the same league as its German rivals, but this car is a mile-muncher rather than an out-and-out sports saloon.
With its imposing looks, the 300C certainly stands out in the company car park, and the proven mechanicals in the diesel make for a fairly cost-effective package.
The interior improvements are noticeable, while the SRT-Design model brings fresh appeal to the model.