One year and six months ago,I lost the love of my life when my faithful 1996 Saturn passed away. Instead of jumping into another ?relationship,? I opted to spend a year off-road and take my time choosing a nice, new vehicle. In the months ahead, I?ll be reviewing the cars that are vying to fill the big shoes my Saturn left behind . .
What?s it like to date the hottest guy in high school?
If you?d asked me that anytime up until a month ago, I?d have said I don?t know. As incredible as it may seem now, I wasn?t the sort of girl popular boys sought out during those esteem-bruising years (sometimes referred to by lunatics as ?the best time of your life?).
But I will confess I occasionally wondered about it.
And then abruptly, one day, I found out. Because the Chrysler 300C luxury sedan is the vehicular equivalent of the captain of the high school football team, and I recently got to spend a week with him. Er, it. I meant ?it.?
Everybody knows the 300C. It?s cool. It?s popular. It?s beefy. You take one look at it and your face immediately breaks out in zits, because you want this guy to be the one. Whether he is or not.
There?s no denying this car has allure, because if there?s one thing Chrysler does extremely well, it?s allure. From the Crossfire to the all-new 2014 Dodge Challenger Shaker, Chrysler?s cars have sex appeal.
The 300C is no exception. Its exterior is very easy on the eyes ? with those distinctive lines and that big-boy platinum chrome mesh grille ? and its interior is even more so. Mine had supple, two-toned stitched leather with walnut accents and a satiny steering wheel that felt as if it had been handcrafted from a baby?s bottom. (Memo to self: Find out if that?s even legal.)
There were some boldly seductive touches, too, including heated and chilled beverage holders, a very user-friendly 8.4-inch touch-screen, Harman Kardon audio system, a sunroof, backup camera, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control.
My friend, who has a Toyota, was blown away by all the temptations.
?This makes me want to trade in my car and buy a new one,? she said, snuggling into her heated seat. ?This leather feels amazing!?
?Please stop stroking my boyfriend,? I chided.
So, clearly, this is one of those boyfriends who blinds you with his style. But? but does he have substance? Yes. And no.
For example, there were times when I felt I was getting more talk than action, when the 300C?s reality didn?t quite live up to its reputation.
For all its muscular braggadocio, the 300C doesn?t get up and go with quite as much punch as I?d like. The transmission felt a bit pouty, and though it handled cleanly and smoothly around corners, it wasn?t quite as receptive as I?d hoped.
And while most of the design decisions were spot-on, some were oddly off: the gas-cap release button, for example, perplexed me for quite some time. I hunted for it in vain (while the gas station attendant no doubt mentally prepared himself to call the police and report a stolen vehicle) and finally had to consult the manual, only to find it quite well hidden on the door panel.
As well, the back seat was a bit cramped and claustrophic; there?s plenty of room in this spacious sedan, why not even things out a bit?
In the end, the Chrysler 300C and I got along well enough and I certainly liked the looks of him, but we didn?t have the kind of chemistry one (hopefully) looks for in a deeper union.
As with any relationship, a hot date?s charm eventually fades and you?re left with his character. If he has any. The Chrysler 300C has enough of that to keep me interested for awhile, but for the forever? I think I?m looking for a little more.
Heart Score: 8.1 out of 10
Price: $34,295 base, $49,160 as tested
Marie Sutherland is editor of Wheels.ca. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @WheelsMarie