2014 Chrysler 300- The Lights Are Still On In Detroit

CAM00612[1] Being the smallest of the Detroit “Big Three”, Chrysler has often been regarded as the runt of the litter.  Compared to GM and Ford, the Pentastar brand has the least global influence, fewest models, and the most shallow pockets.  However, being the most diminutive of the American brands means that Chrysler has to be a determined warrior and more creative to make itself heard.  Even though headlines may focus on the turbulent relationship with Daimler or the troubling times that led to a government bailout, Chrysler has had its fair share of success stories to make the company viable throughout the years.  Three decades ago, the brand essentially created a whole new segment, called the minivan, that was revolutionary at the time and has since been copied by car makers around the globe.  The LH full-size sedans, the Dodge Intrepid, Eagle Vision, and Chrysler Concorde, set the standard for “cab-forward design” twenty years ago by utilizing as much interior space as possible and pushing the wheels to the car’s corners long before it was mimicked by others.  Ten years ago, the LH series had ran their course and were ready for retirement.  Instead of doing a mild touchup or going for a more European derived style, as was becoming the trend in Detroit, Chrysler did not shy away from risk and introduced a new series of wagons and sedans that not only grasped good ol’ fashioned American style, but smothered themselves in it like cheese and bacon over french fries.  The 2005 Chrysler 300 and it’s Dodge Magnum and Charger counterparts, introduced at the New York Auto in ’04, basked in the glory of everything American; big, bold, crude, rear-wheel drive, large engines, and exhibiting a chiseled, masculine, retro style that looked like nothing else on the road.  In the true Yankee sense, the 300 had also claimed itself some badass notoriety, being featured in rap videos and serving as Walter White’s ride on “Breaking Bad” once he became a feared and successful meth dealer.  Under the new leadership from Fiat, Chrysler redid the 300 for 2011 to keep things fresh, but sensibly didn’t stray too far from the original formula that made the car an overnight sensation.  Now a decade later, is the 300 still worthy of all the hype?

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2013 Mercedes C250- The Diet Coke Of Luxury Cars

CAM00498 Once upon a time, the cheapest and easiest ticket into the prestige of owning a Mercedes-Benz was by purchasing a C-Class.  Mercedes had always anticipated swaying young professionals into the Benz family with its “entry-level” sedans, coupes, and wagons that were introduced in 1994 as the replacements of the tired, old 190 Series.  As those youthful buyers became more successful, they would remain loyal to the brand and move upwards to an E-Class and eventually, an S-Class.  Or so Mercedes had always hoped.  Times are much different now post-recession, and with the release of the European B-Class based $29,990 2014 Mercedes CLA, the regular C-Class is no longer the most frugal Mercedes one can buy in the U.S.  However, many will argue that unlike the CLA, the C-Class remains a true Mercedes inside and out.  Plus with its longtime countryman rival, the BMW 3-Series, being recently redesigned, it was time to see if the C-Class was still worthy of displaying the German marque’s three-pointed star.

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