The Chrysler 300, the "baby Bentley" that has proved appealing to everyone from rappers to grandmothers and helped the automaker revive its U.S. business, has been named Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year.
The 300, which hit showrooms in April, beat out 23 other new or significantly revised models, including the revamped Ford Mustang, the Buick LaCrosse and the gas-electric version of the Honda Accord.
"The Chrysler 300 is an extremely compelling combination of power, responsiveness, room and refinement," said Angus MacKenzie, Motor Trend's editor in chief. He called the car "a home run on significance, a slam-dunk on value and clearly superior to its rivals in every way."
The car sells for $23,000 to $38,000 and features a long nose, a short rear and a large, distinctive grille similar to a Bentley's. It has rear-wheel drive and an optional V8 Hemi engine.
In the 300's first six months on sale, the Chrysler Group, a division of DaimlerChrysler, sold about 82,000 of the cars in the United States. Through October, Chrysler Group's U.S. sales were up 2.7 percent from a year ago.
Last year's Car of the Year was the Toyota Prius, the world's first commercially mass-produced hybrid car. Last month, Motor Trend named Land Rover's LR3 as its sport utility vehicle the year. The top truck will be named next month.