Chrysler's flagship sedan, the 300, boasts a mix of high style, luxurious features and potent powertrains. Offered with standard RWD or optional AWD, the full-size 300 can be had with a thrifty V6 that returns 31 mpg on the highway or a Hemi V8 with 363 horsepower.
For the latest model year, the 300 gets a cleaner-looking front end thanks to revised headlights and a new bumper that does without the current model's chrome trim. Chrysler's trademarked winged emblem moves down into the radiator grille, giving the 300 a more premium look. It also benefits from a revised cockpit.
Like its Dodge Charger platform mate, the latest 300 builds on the strengths of its distinctive predecessor with a more polished cabin and sharper looks.
Outside, the front end tones down the old 300's Bentley influences in favor of something a bit more chiseled and modern. The side sills were also reworked, and there are visible changes to the side window profile. The small triangle at the rear-side window is gone, resulting in an enlarged glass area, but a thin pillar reduces the size of the roll-down portion of the side glass. The rear-end sports LED tail-lights, a reshaped trunk lid, and a reshaped rear bumper with integrated exhaust tips.
The cabin features an upscale ambiance and plenty of space for five passengers. The steering is commanded through an updated three-spoke multi-function wheel, while a new dial replaces the traditional shift lever for the latest model year.
Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system is available at an extra cost on select models. Generally regarded as one of the more user-friendly infotainment setups on the market, Uconnect Access integrates most of the 300's audio, navigation and climate control functions into one unit. An 8.4-inch touchscreen mounted on the dashboard is the central component of the system, but redundant buttons and knobs for climate and audio volume and tuning are also included.
Uconnect Access features a voice command system that allows the driver to place phone calls, use the sound system, input navigation destinations and more without taking his or her hands off the wheel. Other notable aspects of the system include the ability to function as a Wi-Fi hotspot over a 3G network - for an additional monthly fee - and downloadable applications such as Bing search.
Under the Skin
Underpinning the 300 is Chrysler's LY architecture, essentially a heavily reworked version of the outgoing LX chassis, though some components were carried over. In order to improve fuel economy, Chrysler employed a combination of improved aerodynamics, axle ratios and drivetrains for the latest 300. At the heart of the improvements is Chrysler's Pentastar V6 engine.
The 300 comes standard with Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which serves up 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The engine is teamed with a impressive eight-speed automatic supplied by ZF that facilitates good acceleration and noteworthy fuel economy: the benchmark zero-to-60 mph sprint is achieved in the mid-six second range and fuel economy is rated at 19/31 mpg. It should be noted that both figures reflect the standard rear-wheel drive car; the optional all-wheel-drive system slows the acceleration by a few ticks and decreases fuel economy to 18/27 mpg.
Those looking for more V6 power can opt for the 300S model, which includes a slightly uprated version of the Pentastar. Thanks to a cold-air induction kit and a sport exhaust system, the engine is boosted to 300 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque.
The most potent engine for the 300 is a 5.7-liter Hemi. This motor produces an ample 363 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque, enough to push the big sedan from zero-to-60 mph in under six seconds. Output is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic, which holds mileage to 16/26 mpg. The V8 is available as an option on all trim levels except the base Limited.
Trim Level Breakdown
The 300 is available in four trim levels: Limited, S, C and C Platinum.
The Limited comes standard with body-colored door handles, chrome accents on the front fascia, an electric fuel door release with a cap-less fuel filler, a black radiator grille surrounded by bright trim, bi-halogen project headlights, chromed headlight bezels, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, power-adjustable body-colored mirrors, dual-zone A/C, a vinyl-wrapped armrest, a multi-function steering wheel, front reading lights, keyless entry and go, a six-speaker audio system, two USB ports, Bluetooth audio streaming, a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, an acoustic windshield and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Stepping up to the 300S adds black chrome accents on the front fascia, gloss black headlight bezels, LED-illuminated front fog lights, matte carbon hydrographic and piano black trim inside, HomeLink, a remote start, a BeatsAudio 552-watt audio system with ten speakers and a trunk-mounted subwoofer, paddle shifters, a sport-tuned steering and suspension and 20-inch Hyper Black Wheels. Additionally, the 300S packs 300 horsepower thanks to a sport-tuned exhaust system.
The 300C ups the ante with bright door handles, chromed mirrors with an auto-dimming function on the driver's side, turn signals integrated into the door mirrors, a sunroof, Black Olive Ash Burl wood trim on the dash, LED illuminated front footwells, Satin Chrome lower door sills, navigation, a premium 276-watt Alpine sound system with six speakers, twelve-way power-adjustable front seats that are both heated and ventilated, a heated steering wheel, a power backlight sunshade and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Finally, the range-topping 300 Platinum brings platinum chrome door handles, platinum chrome accents on the front fascia, the mirror caps and the radiator grille, hand-sanded natural pore Mocha-finished wood trim, leather upholstery on the floor console, the door panels, the armrest and the dashboard, heated/cooled cupholders, luxury floor mats, power-adjustable pedals with a memory function, a Touring-tuned suspension and 20-inch alloy wheels.
The 300 is available with a long list of option packages that bundle popular features like parking sensors on both ends, SiriusXM satellite radio, a blind spot monitoring system, HID headlights and a 19-speaker 900-watt stereo system. The list of standalone options includes a number of paint colors, a sunroof, leather upholstery, an engine block heater, all-wheel drive (V6-powered models only), different wheel designs and, last but not least, the potent Hemi V8.
The 300 is fitted as standard with dual front, front side and front and rear head airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems, ABS and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The Chrysler 300 faces competition from a range of full-size, semi-premium sedans including the Ford Taurus, the Hyundai Genesis, the Nissan Maxima, the Buick Lacrosse and the Toyota Avalon.