"Imported from Detroit" the ad says with Iggy Pop in the background for some reason. One of the bad boys of the punk era hocking a Charger based upscale model for a company that hasn't had a relevant product since the 90's when they introduced the Viper. Actually it's fitting since Iggy hasn't been relevant since the 80's! Also who the hell is John Varvatos and why should we care about having a car edition of him? Does anyone out there even know who this guy is? Or why he has his own Limited Edition 300? Wait one second as I go to the Googles…………….so according to the ever knowing Wikipedia, he is a sort of fashion designer who used to work for big style company's, then got his own place, and now works as a TV judge for NBC's Fashion Star whatever that is? Oh that was cancelled, oh well at least he has his own 300 right? Well back to the car, so the 2014 Chrysler 300 is essentially the same 300 they have been making since it first came out, sure it has a new body, but everything below the exterior is pretty much the same. So will this re-skinned Charger be the bane of Mercedes and BMW's existence in that it will show that there can be such a thing as affordable luxury, made here in 'Murica? Well……
The interior is a mish mash of things that Chrysler middle men think we common folk associate with luxury, but done on a budget so low that it shames most duct tape fix-it jobs. The interiors fit and finish is just awful, especially for a car that starts at $45,000! The interior plastics are just bad and all the trim pieces make this car feel super cheap. The faux polished aluminum, which is actually just painted plastic, is one of the worst features on this car. It's on the dash around the center console, on the steering wheel, and it looks like it's from a 2006 Town and Country. It's also around the gear selector console, however the actually gear knob is bright chrome which just confuses your eyes. Then you have the "wood". Now in other upscale cars, you would imagine the wood being soft and warm. But as this car is actually a cheap upscale car, emphasis cheap, the wood looks and feels like someone had forgotten to order the wood, so they went down to the local Home Depot and picked up some fake wood linoleum and just stuck it on the car. So in this interior you have; fake chrome, fake aluminum, fake wood, and some terrible plastic bits glaring at you throughout your commute.
(This couldn't be more fake if it was actually designed by plastic surgeons!)
Then you get to the seating arrangement. The front seats, which I will give some credit to are nice and plush, both very comfortable and I can see that going on a long trip would be nice in them. However, if this car has one major flaw to it, at least in my opinion, it would be headroom. Now I know what some of you will say. You are a giant! There's enough headroom for me because I'm not abnormally tall! Kill the monster! Well here's my answer to you. Too bad, I'm doing this review so the headroom is a major factor. And guess what, it sucks in this car. In the front seats, I just barely have enough room so that my hair doesn't touch the ceiling. But the back is much worse and here is my gripe about this car. It is essentially a box. There really is no sloping roof. No change in anything from the front or the back, but somehow this car has 8 less inches of headroom in the rear seats. How does this happen. This car is essentially a car designed by an 8yr old. It has a boxy front and rear, and in the middle is just another box. There really is no design to this car at all, so why is there so much less headroom?
(Done by the greatest of kindergartners!)
The tech portion of this car is actually decent. The NAV system is easy to read, and all of the knobs and gauges are at an appropriate distance for the user. I do like the addition of the integrated clock in the dash, but I fear that it too will suffer from the apparent cheapness of the rest of this car. I know it's meant to bring a touch of elegance to this car, but the people that are going to buy this car, if indeed there are any, aren't cross shopping other cars with an analog clock, like a Rolls, or Bentley's. They are cross shopping used Mercedes or Audi's. It just seems like it will be one more thing to break on this car. One cool feature I did like was the backlighting on the gauges in front of the driver. The ambient cool blue lighting is a nice touch, and actually comes out from two places on the gauges. The light comes out from within the gauge right by the needle, and then comes out behind the numbers indicated for a real Tron like effect.
(Head along PCH and make a left to….the Grid)
This car is a sort of enigma to me. I have no idea who the buyer for this car would be? Fashion people who like Varvatos? No, they would probably be in Fiat 500's. People that like American muscle cars, but have a family? No, they are going to buy the cheaper Chargers. Maybe people that want luxury? No again, they are going to buy equally priced German cars and get more for their money. Imported from Detroit also makes no sense to me as a marketing campaign. Sure you trying to show people that your product is just as good as Ze Germans, but in all reality it's not. And telling people that its upscale luxury, is going to give them an impression of this car that will completely fall apart when you actually sit in it. In the end I know Chrysler is desperate for another hit, something that will show the world they can be a competitive company once again. But I don't think that this silly edition is going to be their savior, or even something they should be proud of. In the end, it just another 300 with some rather tacky sparkly bits. Something that's definitely not "making it work".
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Also check out my article on TheSmokingTire about a Rally Legend.