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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Matchbox 2015 Chrysler 300S

In 2016 Matchbox had a few good examples of new castings that were late, questionable in the beginning, and turned out far better than expected at the end.  The Range Rover Evoque was one, the Ram 1500 police will be reviewed soon, and this Chrysler 300 sedan.  After all Greenlight did a fantastic job with the 2013 Chrysler 300, so how can Matchbox improve on that?  A 2015 freshening and some old-school Matchbox detailing.

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In 2015 the Chrysler LX cars got a mid-cycle refresh with the Challenger getting the vast improvements with updated exterior lighting and a long-overdue interior makeover.  The Charger loses the large front grille for a smaller one with rounded corners borrowed from the Dodge Dart.  The Chrysler 300, being successful already, got the mildest changes.  The lighting was updated at the rear with LED N-shaped running lights, new grille and lower bumper from the departed SRT model, and a new 3-spoke steering wheel.  Replacing the SRT model is the S trim that is available in V6 or V8 models with body-colored exterior and bolstered sport seats.  Powertrains included the 3.6L Pentastar V6 and 5.7L Hemi V8, both with same horsepower as 2014 and now both offered only with the eight-speed automatic transmission.  All-wheel drive is also offered.

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To start off the new Matchbox 300 casting is the S trim in the gorgeous metallic red color that brings in mind the metallic red color found on the 1980's Matchbox European castings.  The front has projector headlights with LED running lights inside of the lamps, silver grille with Chrysler badge (note the Chrysler badge outlining the mesh grille pattern), and lower bumper with quad foglights (I added those details).  The sides are typical sedan profile, but the 300 is noticeably shorter than the Charger Pursuit casting, and that is noticeable in the handling where the 300 felt faster with better reflexes.  The multi-spoke wheels are a perfect fit for this car.  The rear has detailed Chrysler badge, center brake light, and 300 badge on the trunklid, while the taillights have the LED outline pattern.  What I don't get is chrome trim on the bumper of a monochromatic S package.  Also I don't get the exhaust where the actual tip tends to jump out of the oval exhaust tips.  Weird, but just a minor hiccup.

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The base shows off some drivetrain details and a strange X-brace design.  The interior is nicely done with seating for five (you can only get four in the Greenlight version as the rear armrest was in the down position), a detailed center console with a rotary knob for the 8-speed transmission, three-spoke steering wheel, digital gauges, and a center stack with touch screen, HVAC controls, and an analog clock.  Matchbox did a fantastic job on a casting that I thought wouldn't turn out as good as I expected, nor did I expect a $1 car to top a $3 car in details.  Now that's classic Matchbox detailing for ya!

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Update 9/4: the Matchbox Chrysler 300 continues on for 2017 in a nice pearl white color, emphasizing luxury more than sport as in the 2016 version.

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