OPINION: Is Chrysler’s 300 SRT our new V8 hero?

OPINION: Is Chrysler’s 300 SRT Aussie enough?

On a trip to the US, I was recently introduced to a distant in-law.

Now, on paper, this bloke and I shouldn’t have hit it off. See, he’s a church-goin’, God-fearin’, Trump-fancier and by any of those measures, I should have been waiting outside in the car.

But damned if I could help myself but like the geezer. In fact, it was impossible not to like him. He was good company and we parted mates. And I reckon if he was a car, he’d be the long-term Chrysler SRT.

Chrysler 300 SRT rearSee, the big 300 doesn’t tick too many boxes for me, either, on the surface. It’s huge and heavy and it’s needlessly equipped; I don’t need a driver’s chair that slides back to the B-pillar every time I key off, and I loathe radar cruise-control (although it also works normally, thank goodness).

It’s a bit too, you know, obvious and even though the new interior is better than ever, it still looks a bit kitsch to me. But, same thing: Damned if I didn’t find it impossible to dislike.

The engine is a peach, sounds good and makes for super safe overtaking. I also managed to squeak less than nine litres per 100 on a cruisy stretch of highway. The only thing that grates (literally as it turns out) about the driveline is the cylinder deactivation that dumps four pots on a light, steady throttle to save a litre or two.

Chrysler 300 SRT sideIn Holdens I’ve driven previously, this is a seamless process, but in the Chrysler, you can physically feel the actual instant the four pots go AWOL. The exhaust note turns all farty and there’s a small vibe that comes up through the seat. The solution is to switch the tranny to Sport (which locks out the deactivation) but then the box seems a bit nervous to me.

But I’m tipping if the car was mine, I’d find a nerd with a laptop who could disable the four-cylinder mode for me. And who knows, with Holden and Ford about to stop building big V8 sedans, maybe the 300 SRT is where big oafs like me will be heading. Could be worse.

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