Test Drive: 2013 Chrysler 300C Luxury Series AWD car test drives made in canada luxury cars chrysler
2013 Chrysler 300C Luxury Series AWD. Click image to enlarge

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Chrysler Canada

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2013 Chrysler 300C Luxury Series AWD

After testing what seemed like an endless stream of fuel efficient, front-drive, four-pot family vehicles over the past few months, hopping into the 2013 Chrysler 300C Luxury Series AWD was like entering a strange parallel universe.

A thoroughly intriguing, valid, and pleasant one nonetheless. Okay, so the fuel economy wasn’t exactly heartwarming, but I’m guessing anyone ponying up almost fifty large for this loaded specimen with its 363 hp, 394 lb-ft 5.7L Hemi V8 will be fully prepared to shell out a bit more at the Shell station.

And they’ll be feeling somewhat fiscally smart anyway when considering the only other comparable vehicles – we’re talkin’ large, luxurious, V8-powered, rear-drive-based AWD sedans – come from BMW and Mercedes, and they cost a whack more. A comparably equipped Mercedes-Benz E 550 4Matic rings in at an additional $33,000, and a BMW 550i xDrive with all the trappings even more. Only the Hyundai’s Genesis R-Spec is in the same ballpark starting at $53K, but AWD is nowhere to be found on any Genesis model.

I’m using the word “comparable” somewhat loosely, as the pedigree, build quality and level of sophistication between the Euro imports and this Brampton-built brute (annoyingly deemed “Imported from Detroit”) are not on par. This despite the fact that the Chrysler’s chassis with its five-link independent rear suspension can trace its roots to an older generation Mercedes E-Class.

On the road, the 300C acquits itself very nicely. Power from the big ol’ pushrod Hemi is smooth, prodigious, and sonorous. The ride is equally smooth and refined, and the cabin is remarkably hushed, thanks in part to the acoustic-glazed windshield and front side windows.

Test Drive: 2013 Chrysler 300C Luxury Series AWD car test drives made in canada luxury cars chrysler Test Drive: 2013 Chrysler 300C Luxury Series AWD car test drives made in canada luxury cars chrysler Test Drive: 2013 Chrysler 300C Luxury Series AWD car test drives made in canada luxury cars chrysler Test Drive: 2013 Chrysler 300C Luxury Series AWD car test drives made in canada luxury cars chrysler
2013 Chrysler 300C Luxury Series AWD. Click image to enlarge

Chrysler has been massaging this chassis for years, and it still holds up. There is no slop in the corners and it tracks true on the highway. This is no sports sedan – it does feel chunky and somewhat ponderous, but the tail is not averse to a little playful lateral action when putting the hammer down in a tight corner.

The steering is still too vague but much improved since the 300 got its big makeover last year, which included new sheet metal and a markedly better interior.

The 300C Luxury Series, which starts at $38,745 for the rear-drive 292-hp V6 model ($40,945 with AWD), bestows special 18-inch polished alloys with dark painted sockets, premium leather seats with suede facing, more interior leather trim, platinum exterior accents, real open-grain wood trim and a new mesh grill, which means you don’t have to run out and get one of those aftermarket Bentley-esque units.

This is on top of the standard 300C kit that includes heated/cooled front seats, heated rear seats, heated/cooled front cup holders, powered rear sun shade, heated and powered tilt/telescoping steering wheel, HID auto-leveling headlights, driver memory and auto-dimming exterior mirrors.

So indeed, there are a lot of features on this vehicle.

This tester had several options, the most notable being the 5.7L Hemi MDS (cylinder deactivation) VVT V8 at $1,395.

The $995 552-watt 10-speaker Dr. Dre audio is okay, but seems more about branding and volume than absolute sound quality.

The $1,450 Safety Tec package adds rain sensing wipers, folding exterior mirrors with courtesy lights, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise, blind spot and cross path detection, park sense and park assist.

For $650 there was adaptive bi-xenon headlamps with auto-dimming – a feature that worked a treat on a nighttime drive over country roads. It immediately detected oncoming traffic from quite a distance and also sensed far away taillights. I was the picture of high-beam etiquette on that journey.

The Garmin navigation ran $450.

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