A pet peeve of a great many gearheads is the trend of gauge attrition. Temperature, oil pressure, and battery voltage gauges are all but extinct, replaced by idiot lights– except in the Chrysler 300 SRT8.
Can you live without the gauges many of us grew up with? Sure, and that’s a proven fact because we’ve largely had no choice but to accept their elimination. But in some vehicles, I’d honestly rather have the gauges than the ubiquitous array of warning lights.
Take, for example, a truck. When used as a truck was intended to be used– you know, hauling a ton of mulch, pulling a trailer full of motorycles, snaking your buddy’s car out of the ditch during bad weather– things like coolant temperature and oil pressure gauges can be a good way to keep an eye on how well the truck is taking the task at hand. If you’re the observant type, you will know the truck’s normal operating ranges and can notice when there may be an issue well before a warning light would illuminate.
The same is true of a sportscar like our 2013 Chrysler 300 SRT8 tester. When you drive a
sportscar like sportscars are intended to be driven– heavy on the throttle, clipping the apex at every turn, shifting gears at the redline all day long– those same gauges can come in handy for the exact same reason.
The 300 SRT8 doesn’t have all these gauges mounted on the dash– though there is a coolant temperature gauge inset in the RPM gauge binnacle. Instead, the gauges are found within the SRT menu in the Chrysler’s Uconnect touchscreen. By touching the “SRT & More” button along the bottom of the screen, you are greeted by a splash screen with a column of buttons along the left side. There, you’ll find two gauge view options. The first brings up a triple-gauge array featuring, from left, oil temperature, oil pressure, and battery voltage displays. That last one came in handy when we took the 300 SRT8 to a drive-in movie, where it sat with the ignition on but the engine off for extended periods of time. The second gauge array features six pods: coolant temperature, oil temperature, oil pressure, transmission temperature, intake air temperature, and battery voltage.
Count me as one who is glad to see such an informative selection of gauges, even if they’re
not “real” gauges, per se. I’ll take a digital approximation of these auxiliary gauges any day over a complete and utter lack of the information they provide.
Disclaimer: Chrysler provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas.