Chrysler 300 SRT: can it scratch our rear-drive V8 itch?

Chrysler 300 SRT

Usually when a long-termer hits its final month we step back, reflect on the time spent together, and ask ourselves whether it’d be worth the dough.

But the question asked by Big Grey here can’t be answered by my subjectivity alone. No, the car touches a much larger, sensitive issue.

By saving the 300 SRT especially for Australia (and the Middle East), after it unplugged the model from North America’s domestic market in 2014, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was making a very clear statement.

Chrysler 300 SRT stuck in middleWhen Ford and Holden pull the pin on our local heroes, Chrysler wants to pick up the scraps. 

It makes sense. The 300 might be assembled in Canada, but its on-paper recipe is one Commodores and Falcons have followed for yonks. Large, comfortable interior, thumping V8 up-front sending power to the rear. So, really, for this last entry the question was not whether I’d buy a Chrysler 300 SRT, but rather, would Ford and Holden loyalists? We polled our Facebookers for an answer.

Prompted by a picture of Big Grey sandwiched by an HSV Clubsport R8 LSA and Ford Falcon XR8 Sprint, we asked our 26,507 followers if they’d consider a 300 SRT once our home-grown heroes exit once and for all.

Some were quick to put forward their new allegiance. One writing: “Eight-speed makes all the difference. Quicker than the 400kW [R8 LSA].” He’s not wrong, either. The SRT proved it has the dragstrip nous earlier this January, just pipping the R8 LSA with 12.6sec versus 12.67sec.

Chrysler 300 SRT interiorAnother punter declared the SRT’s donk would be the clincher. “6.4 litres of pants-moving muscle. Love to have one,” he wrote. We agree it’s a sweet unit; the Hemi sounds like a muzzled NASCAR engine and it’ll be one of the things we miss most about it.

Some pegged their decision on its look, giving it the thumbs up (“Mopar looks better anyway”) or thumbs down (“Ugly and cheap looking. That’s a no from me”).

Defined by that massive front grille, chiselled side profile, and array of chrome touches, Big Grey has a subtle, brooding presence that turns heads surprisingly often.

You could sense commenters didn’t trust the SRT’s handling abilities and had their tongues firmly in cheek making it known, one bloke writing: “Yeah, if I wanted to do land yachting.” And while, yes, the 300’s no ballerina, at two-tonnes it’s surprisingly balanced and friendly on a twisty road, even if it can’t match a Commodore for tactility or talent.

Chrysler 300 SRT wheelStatistically, buyers have been leaving the Falcon and Commodore for a while now. Yet VFACTS sales data reveal they’re not being soaked up by the 300, as the model returns decreasing year-to-date results. Only a few comments touched on why that really might be.

“If it was $20K cheaper in SRT form (not Core), I would have had a look. But instead I’m picking up my XR8 next week,” Glen Sansom wrote. Unfortunately, after jumping from $69K to $75K, the Aussie dollar hasn’t been on the 300 SRT’s side. 

However, Greg Barry put it down to something else – a long-serving loyalty. “I bought a new XR8 last December… I didn’t need a new car, but with Aussie muscle being discontinued I jumped in. The XR8 will be with me for years.”

Chrysler 300 SRT drive modesThere’s a bond between Aussies and the Falcodore that once broken, might make it hard to consider anything similar. But the 300 SRT will be the closest to the real thing.

MONTH FIVE

LIKED: Firing the HEMI V8 into life never gets old
DISLIKED: Giving the keys back to Chrysler
FAVOURITE MOMENT: Convincing MOTOR staffers to act as ‘models’

DETAILS
Fuel This Month: 18.5L/100km  
Average: 16.3L/100km
Distance This Month: 698km  
Total: 13,867km

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