Long-term report: Our Chrysler 300 SRT has a never-ending problem
Fiat-Chrysler has a notorious reputation when it comes to reliability and build quality. But right off the bat, we’ll be the first ones to say that we highly recommend the Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger twins, and everyone who bought one after reading our reviews are very content. We’ve had our Chrysler 300 SRT for almost 3 years now. The car has been mechanically and electrically reliable for the most part, except for one nagging issue that no amount of warranty work is solving — the same small bits of interior trim keep falling off, again and again, twice every summer.
The trim bits in question are the real carbon-fibre strips on the doors and dashboard. They’re pretty fancy at first glance, but being a Chrysler, FCA probably used the most bargain-basement carbon-fibre they could find. The strips warp and come off, and cannot simply be glued back on so they need to be replaced. This happens twice a year on all the doors, once at the beginning of summer and once at the end of summer. Premium tint and a sunshade don’t stop it. But we hear this isn’t an issue if your Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep is parked indoors most of the time.
Give it a couple of years, and the centre-console materials along the sides of the gear-shifter also warp slightly, the optional leatherette on the dashboard starts becoming unglued, the alcantara door inserts start to come off the foam backing, and the rubber trim along the base of the windshield also warps heavily. We got all of that replaced under warranty this year, and that is after multiple trips to the dealership to get approvals, again and again. They never offer a free courtesy car or a shuttle back home when it finally goes in for the extra work. And you do have to go in between the six-monthly service intervals, because they never hold the ordered parts for you till the next service.
They did one positive thing for us however, after we escalated the issue to FCA Middle East — they got our warranty extended to early 2021 for free, including interior trim. This was at the start of the summer 2019. Mind you, the door trim all came off again at the end of this summer, and we’re still waiting on parts again. It would be great if they could keep these parts in stock so they could just make trim replacement a part of every oil-change service.
This car has been on the market since 2011, and these problems have been reported by owners since then, but clearly this minor supplier issue persists, and something that would’ve been caught if FCA cars underwent proper hot-weather testing. None of our other cars have such a problem (even while our Jaguar and Range Rover had much bigger issues).
Aside from free warranty items, the minor “5K” service earlier in the year cost Dhs 839, including a couple of wipers for about Dhs 140 each.
The later “10K” intermediate service in November cost Dhs 1060, including a car-charger port fuse for Dhs 9. So it’s not too expensive to run these cars.
All things considered, this is a minor issue, and these long-running 300C/Charger/Challengers are known to be mechanically reliable since they’re so old tech. They make great used buys, but this problem is annoying enough to make us reconsider buying any new FCA product. Buy a used one and replace any missing trim with better aftermarket materials.
Original Mileage When Bought: 9,010 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 19,513 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 17.5 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 0
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 1899
Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 6789