There was a time not too long ago when owning a luxury automobile from an American manufacturer, like Cadillac, Chrysler and Lincoln, elevated your social status and gave you a level of comfort never before seen. But in recent decades, European manufacturers have surpassed domestic automakers in terms of design and quality, and have been successful at marketing their brands as the ultimate definition of luxury and performance. After many lessons learned and hard-fought battles, the American luxury car is finally ready to reclaim its place at the top.
A recent independent test by Motor Trend magazine ranked the all-new 2016 Cadillac ATS-V sedan higher than the storied BMW M3, which is quite an accomplishment for the Caddy as the M3 has been the car to beat for many, many years. It’s an indication that the American automakers have been listening to consumers and stepping up their game to earn their way back into the limelight.
I’m reminded just how good domestic luxury cars have gotten thanks to a media event where Chrysler and Dodge brought out their entire lineup for journalists to drive.
As I slid into a 2016 Chrysler 300C Platinum all-wheel drive, I was immediately impressed with the design and construction of the interior. It’s a very plush environment complete with various soft-touch materials, leather and eye-catching finishes. The car’s available technology and convenience features, like an 8.4 inch touchscreen, a rear back-up camera and remote start system, are items typically found on cars with much higher retail prices.
The 300C’s ride quality left nothing to be desired; it was extremely quiet and smooth, but still had plenty of good ol’ American horsepower behind it with an available all-wheel drive system.
What’s great about the Big Three‘s improvements over the years is that while they’ve focused on future-proof designs and innovation, they haven’t forgotten what put them on the map in the first place: overall value. The price for a Mercedes-Benz or BMW can easily be around 50% more expensive than a comparable Chrysler or Cadillac. For example, a similarly spec’ed Mercedes E-Class will run you $75k versus $46k for the Chrysler 300C.
Armed with this information, the question that consumers need to ask themselves is, “why does everyone keep gravitating towards European brands whenever the word luxury comes up?” I think it’s time to give our Detroit steel another chance; you might be pleasantly surprised and your wallet will be much happier.