This week, we’re driving Chrysler’s flagship 2014 Chrysler 300C, delivered in special John Varvatos Luxury Edition AWD trim.
Up front, I’ll admit I’ve never been a big fan of cars that align with fashion designers, which Ford enhanced in the mid-1970s ala its Eddie Bauer Fords and Lincoln Mark Vs that featured four famous fashion designers: Blass, Cartier, Givenchy and Pucci.
These designer cars were indeed nice, and allowed Ford to entice luxury buyers to look closer at its Lincoln offerings. Lincoln’s designer trend, however, dates back even further when in 1969 the big Lincoln Sedan came with a Cartier clocks as standard fare.
Even economy car manufacturer AMC tried to elevate the company in the muscle car and sporty car arena, when they released Levi and Pierre Cardin Javelins and later Levi Jeeps. The worst ever? How about an Oleg Cassini AMC Matador?
Enough, or I’ll run out of room. I’m sure you get the picture.
Today, I do an about face and highly recommend the John Varvatos Chrysler 300C AWD, a car I wouldn’t mind owning myself. This 4×4 luxury sport sedan is high on amenities, and then goes beyond the expected with the addition of the $2,200 optional 5.7 Hemi V8 and five-speed automatic, producing 363 horses and respectable 23-mpg highway EPA numbers. (The rear drive Varvatos Hemi delivers 25 highway). The standard 292-horse 3.6 liter V6 with an eight speed transmission ups the MPG to 23 and 31, so make sure you drive a V6 Varvatos first as it may be more than enough. Me? I’m a high performance lover, so the Hemi is my choice.
Varvatos, by the way, is the noted menswear American contemporary fashion designer who not only lends his name to the 300H, he OKs and designs the numerous style accompaniments and special touches. The result is hands down one of the best looking cars on the road today.
Chrysler’s great looking luxury/sport/performance cars are nothing new, as its line of 300s from back in the 1950s are still regarded as beautiful. Other noteworthy Chryslers include the mid-1970s New Yorkers, early eighties Imperials and the impressive LHS and New Yorkers of the 1990s.
The new Varvatos model comes standard with a platinum chrome mesh grille and door handles, special 20-inch tires and alloy wheels, fog lamps and Varvatos chrome platinum badges. The resulting muscle car performance and ability to stay within the 300C Varvatos opulence requirement is most impressive.
Our tester’s options include a $1,595 dual pane sunroof; $995 customer preferred package with Beats Audio upgrade; $1,995 (highly recommended) Safety Package with blind spot, park assist, adaptive speed, adaptive speed, forward collision, and more; and a recommended $500 Phantom black tri-coat pearl exterior.
Inside, Varvatos interiors are top class thanks to beautiful dark mocha real wood and black luxury leather with perforated insert buckets. The Varvatos logos are stitched to the front buckets in a rich style. Finally, an $895 light group and $995 delivery fee brings the final tally to $52,870 from a Varvatos base of $43,695.
Another 300 series high mark, regardless of rear drive or all wheel drive, is its four wheel independent touring suspension that makes for both sporty handling and a perfect match when weather turns nasty. Overall, when combining the legendary comfort and performance Chrysler 300 nomenclature vehicles, our Varvatos 300C out performs many of the best AWD sedans out there as we found out firsthand thanks to Mother Nature providing lots of snow during our test week.
All 300s receive Five-Star NHTSA safety ratings thanks to all modern safety features coming as standard fare. Your Chrysler dealer will gladly explain everything in person, along with the long list of amenities and standard features.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 120.2 inches, 4,029 lb. curb weight, 19.1 gallon fuel tank, 16.3 cu. ft. of cargo room, 15/23 EPA numbers (19/31 with the V6) and a 1,000 lb. tow capacity.
If you want to drive one of the best looking and performing cars on the road today, don’t hesitate to drive a 2014 Chrysler 300. It’s a worthy contender in the large vehicle class.
Likes: Varvatos trim, AWD, roomy, Hemi performance, 300 legacy.
Dislikes: Fuel mileage suspect, but so was my right foot.
Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist