April 24, 2014
2014 Chrysler 300C Luxury Series AWD. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Jacob Black
American Luxury is a very distinct thing. It is about size, softness and class, but it’s also about dominance. That ethos breaks through loudly in the 2014 Chrysler 300C. Its slab-sided, bold, garish presence on the road is accentuated by the large LED-lined headlights, the massive Chrysler grille and lashings of chrome. It’s a handshake with your palm facing down, a scotch you pour and serve before your ‘guest’ gets to say “No thank you”, the person who stands at the front of the elevator. The 300C is a power move – right from the moment you slide into the opulent interior.
My tester had the optional Ivory Tri-Coat Pearl paint, and a white leather interior accentuated with blue mood lighting and painted strips of wood. The two-tone leather seats, chrome-trimmed steering wheel and genuine stitching in the leather were all beautiful, but the wood was a letdown. Senior Editor Jonathan Yarkony said it looked like painted plywood, and poorly painted at that. At least it wasn’t glossy. Heavily lacquered wood is gross. Even painted plywood looks better to me.
The seats are wide and flat, but comfortable. They’re armchairs effectively and the leather has a nice feel. Driving position is easy to optimize thanks to the 12-way power seat (including four lumbar directions), tilt and telescoping steering wheel and adjustable pedal box – yes, you read that right. They are also heated and cooled – the seats, not the pedals – which as we mentioned in our review of the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, is Jonathan’s favourite thing ever.
But if you’re impressed by the seats, you’ll be amazed by the cup holders. Everybody is putting lights in their cup holders, Chrysler’s are also individually heated and cooled, so you can keep your Starbucks hot, and your passenger’s champagne bottle cooled. In short, Chrysler knows how to pack their cars with interesting gadgets that people might actually use, putting their technology front and centre for their buyers.
Integral to that cause is the Chrysler group’s sensational UConnect system. Everything from the heated seats to the heated steering wheel, telephony, infotainment/sound, trip computers and vehicle settings are controlled via this 8.4-inch touchscreen. It is fast, responsive and well-designed, with digital buttons far enough apart that even the fattest of chubby fingers can prod out their instructions. There are hard buttons and knobs to quickly address the automatic climate control needs of you occupants; those are set into the very clean-looking centre stack directly under the main screen. Neatly hidden just under those are slots for CDs and SD media cards.
2014 Chrysler 300C Luxury Series AWD dashboard, Uconnect 8.4″ touchscreen, centre console with heated and cooled beverage holders. Click image to enlarge
The dashboard instrument cluster contains a tiny TFT screen with trip information on it and not much else, wedged between two large, illuminated dials for the speedometer and and tach, with fuel and engine temperature gauges nestled within the larger dials.
Accentuating UConnect’s usability is a host of steering wheel–mounted controls, including the very nifty buttons on the back of the spokes for controlling music volume, source and tuning. The clearly labelled buttons on the front of the wheel control the TFT screen readouts, trigger voice activation, pick up and hang up the telephone, and set the adaptive cruise control.
2014 Chrysler 300C Luxury Series AWD instruments & sunroof. Click image to enlarge
There is also a large button of sorts in the middle of the wheel that can be used to snap other road users to attention. After day two my daughter told me I wasn’t allowed to use it anymore because “that’s mean Daddy”.
You shouldn’t have to use the horn though as the optional ($650) lighting package includes Adaptive Bi-Xenon HID headlamps shine brightly and demand attention. The Pentastar V6 might not be as imposing as the available 5.7L V8 Hemi, but there is a reason this engine is so well respected. With 292 hp at 6,350 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 there is plenty of oomph in this 3.6L six, and it is a very smooth engine when driven in normal conditions.