They don’t make them like they used to. Oh wait, yes they do. Don’t tell the Yanks, but the last great American land yacht sets sail from Brampton, Ontario, wearing a Chrysler badge and looking a little bit like a Bentley Flying Spur. Sort of. If you squint.
The 300C is not what you’d call a shy vehicle. It’s enormous, it’s chrome-laden, it’s got a bluff front prow dominated by a gaping grille and blingy polished alloy wheels. These ones rate the full 20-inch, making the 300C the kind of car rappers used to brag about before everybody autotuned to Maybach music.
It’s a big car for a small niche, begging the question, “Why is Ford even half-considering making a Lincoln Continental?” Cadillac already takes the fight directly to the big sedans from BMW and Mercedes, so what’s a Lincoln going to do? The blue-accented paint (Jazz Blue Pearl) of this week’s tester is even a similar shade to Ford’s concept, and while sales of large four-door domestic cars are relatively small in Canada, the 300C has the market cornered.
Slightly updated this year, Chrysler keeps their 300 recipe straightforward. Sport models get the designation 300S. Luxury models get the designation 300C. Base models get a Budget Rental Car sticker on the back.
All cars benefit from reworked front and rear valences, new headlights and a bigger, rounder grille. Mostly, the big Chrysler looks much the same: a little box stacked on top of a big box, with the minimum amount of greenhouse sandwiched between.
For the most part, that’s a good thing. This is an older style of car, meant to appeal to those who might not remember the Chrysler “letter-cars” but certainly remember the panache. Of course it should be big, burly, and showy. Of course parallel parking should feel like a tug boat might be necessary. Of course it should have a honking eight-cylinder engine. Well, “maybe” to that last one; more on that in a bit.
Inside, the 300C matches its large-Marge exterior with plenty of space for driver and passengers. This is the sort of interior the showroom brochure would undoubtedly refer to as “upscale.” It’s certainly nice enough, and the two-tone blue and white leather also feels like a throwback to past times without being dated.
Also on Autos.ca: Test Drive: 2015 Chevrolet Impala LTZ
However, if you sit and start poking and prodding at things, the takeaway impression is that this is a less well-executed effort than the 300’s own stablemate, the Charger. The Dodge, while theoretically less of a luxury proposition, just feels like its ergonomics were more sensibly worked out. The centre armrest on the 300C is too short, and the huge sea of black plastic surrounding the rotary shifter seems like not the best use of space. I don’t need big lateral bolsters for the seats in a car like this, it should be an interior set up for Trans-Canada lounging, and it feels like a few more tweaks are needed to make it a proper road-going rocket-propelled sofa.