You can argue that the art of driving is disappearing from today’s world. Whether it be autonomous cars or Uber or millennials more worried about their smartphones than actually wanting to drive, gone are the days of the Sunday drive. In this way, the Chrysler 300 is sort of a dying breed.
It’s a cruising car. Big, supple, luxurious, quiet and powerful. The superlatives are many for this full-size sedan. While very little is changed for the 2016 model year, very little needed to be improved for the 300.
So much is offered in the 300’s large frame, including a powerful V6 or optional V8 engine, but it also comes with a quiet ride, comfortable seats and handsome looks. It even has all-wheel drive, all with a starting price of around $32,000. Before I start sounding like a PR rep for FCA (read some of my other reviews and you’ll realize I’m not) let’s look at some of the changes for this model year.
The base trim receives a new suspension which helps to smooth out the bumps in the road and make this even more of a comfort cruiser. Also, Chrysler offers 90th anniversary badging onto the 300. It’s Chrysler’s 90th, not the 300’s, by the way. In addition to the badging, the $3,000 package adds an 8.4″ touchscreen media and navigation system, HomeLink connectivity, and a dual-pane sunroof.
The 300 is stout and distinctive. It’s definitely the most elegant looking vehicle offered in the entire FCA family. Its big grille has the Chrysler wings emblem sprawled out proudly. Throughout the years, the 300 has evolved with more refined touches, and at this point in the sedan’s life, it’s perhaps the most handsome, with a perfect looking grille, right sized halogen headlights, and sharp styling on the hood. The 300 looks great after all these years and has continued to improve with age.
On profile, the 19-inch polished aluminum wheels keep the 300 at a good height from the ground. Indentations over the wheel well seem out of the place with the rest of the styling and would be an area of improvement for the 300. The backside is more reserved, but hints at the power of the 300 with a dual exhaust and small spoiler built into the trunk lid.
One of the best aspects of the 300’s powerplant is the options that are available. You can have a 300 with a powerful V8 and rear wheel drive, or you can have one that’s more fuel efficient with a V6. A 3.6-liter V6 engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission is standard along with rear wheel drive. My tester had the 292 horsepower V6, along with the optional all-wheel drive.
Off the line, the 300 was superior. It’s not a burnout car, but it’s certainly muscular and shows how sharing technology with the likes of Dodge can improve the ability of this cruiser. Rarely do we see cars that are perfectly powered, but with the V6 engine, it strikes the balance of power, fuel efficiency and performance. One complaint is that the transmission doesn’t perform as well as expected, allowing for quirky shifts and withholding of power in some gears.
The Chrysler 300 is whisper quiet inside. Thanks to the higher end materials and sound-deadening technology, there is practically no road noise that pervades the interior. This is a rarity for the FCA product line.
The 300 is a throwback to the older days when most cars on the road were big. However today’s 300 isn’t remotely comparable to the the “boat” your grandpa drove. It handles amazingly well for a vehicle that is almost 200 inches long and weighs more than 4,200 pounds. It’s quite agile. That’s part of the charm of this full-size sedan. Yes, it’s big, which is beneficial on the interior, but it’s spry enough to not let that size hinder the driving performance.
Inside, the 300 shows why it’s Chrysler’s flagship sedan. It brings comfort, luxury and cabin space that can rival European luxury sedans. It all starts with soft materials and touch points. Stitched leather seats provide comfort. The height of the car and angle of the seat provides a great vantage point from the front. However, large C-pillars and a smaller rear window, create some rear driving obstruction. Thank goodness for blind spot monitors. The back seat is big with enough room for three adults. Legroom is vast and headroom is just as good. Due to the aforementioned flared-out wheel wells, cargo space is limited. There’s 16.3 cubic feet in the trunk, which is disappointing for a car this size.
Chrysler’s UConnect infotainment systems is one of the most intuitive ones in the industry. In the 300, there’s an 8.4-inch touchscreen that is bright and responsive. There’s a well-organized mix of buttons on the center stack (hurray for buttons!) It pairs easily with Bluetooth devices, and offers hands-free texting including a do not disturb option. My tester came with an advanced Harman-Kardon sound system with Beats audio integration. There’s a Wi-Fi hotspot option as well that is integrated into the UConnect system. There is only one USB connection, which is not enough in today’s mobile device-filled world.
The 300 Limited has a starting price of $34,515. My tester, with extras, including the 90th Anniversary package, had a final MSRP of $38,505. This is still a low price when compared to other non-luxury full-size sedans (though there are very competitors in this segment). But the 300 is really incomparable to any other car on the road in performance, interior space and looks.
Chrysler’s full-size sedan has an EPA rating of 18 mpg/city and 27 mpg/highway. This is average fuel economy, but when you consider it has all-wheel drive and weighs more than two tons, it’s actually pretty efficient. In a week’s worth of driving, I averaged 21.8 mpg.
If you long for quiet Sunday drives to clear your head, or just packing the family up for a drive in the country, these things are amazing in the Chrysler 300 thanks to its spacious cabin, a powerful engine and a handsome exterior. My fingers are crossed that Chrysler will continue to support the 300, as well as improve upon it. It would be bad for the consumer and the auto industry, if the 300 went the same way as the smaller and much-less impressive Chrysler 200.
Source:: 95 Octane