You have to give Chrysler credit. In a world of automotive design where everything seems to blend together, this automaker builds cars that stand out. And the Chrysler 300 is a perfect example. It doesn’t look anything like the competition.
To be honest with you, I haven’t always been a fan of the 300’s looks. But as the body has been refined over time it’s slowly grown on me. Partially because it is so different. It’s a little more block-like with slab sides and a big squared off grill. Interestingly, I think the grill that comes closest to the 300’s looks is the Audi A6. But once you leave the grill, the Audi’s aerodynamic and sleek design, while attractive, looks like a lot of other cars.
I’ve had the opportunity to test two of the 300 models during 2015, the Limited and the 300C Platinum. The sticker on the 300C Platinum model came in at $46,390, while the Limited was a little more restrained at $35,255. While it’s always nice to get the extra features that the Platinum offers, to be honest, I didn’t feel slighted driving the Limited. In fact, my wife commented that she felt the Limited had a nice upscale feel. Some cars just seem too plain without the climbing the options ladder. The 300 isn’t one of those.
All 300s come with the 3.6 liter V6. You have the option of bumping up to the 5.7 liter V8 HEMI (in all but the base model). What’s the difference? The V6 is good for 292 horsepower, while the HEMI will deliver 363. Don’t get me wrong, I love horsepower, but again the less expensive V6 was no slouch. Plenty of cars would love to have that as their base engine. the V6 is good for 19 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, while the HEMI gets 16 mpg/city and 25 mpg/highway.
I took the Limited on a road trip to Las Vegas and enjoyed it the entire way. I was able to get 30 mpg which I found pretty impressive for a car this big. More importantly, it rode like a big highway cruiser which was exactly what I wanted. I was also impressed when I had to pass folks on the two lane highway that the V6 mated to an 8-speed transmission did a great job of moving around traffic.
One of the impressive things about the 300 is that it has a 120 inch wheelbase, which is much longer than its main competitors. However, the longer wheelbase doesn’t mean a longer car. It comes in at 198.2 inches which is shorter than both the Ford Taurus and the Chevrolet Impala. Heck, it’s only three inches longer than the Honda Accord. The longer wheelbase helps make for a more stable ride.
Inside, the 300 has plenty of room. While it doesn’t lead the pack in leg room for the front seat (the Impala let’s long legs live), it does do better in the back seat. In other words, if you need to haul people around, the 300 is a great option. It doesn’t beat the others by a lot, but even an inch or two makes people feel like you actually care if they fit.
I’m a big fan of the Chrysler display and controls. It works well and had no glitches. As with most cars the navigation system is just OK, still not better than my phone. One thing I like is that Chrysler puts the controls for the radio on the back side of the steering wheel. they’re easy to use without having to move your hands and it doesn’t clutter up the front side.
A friend recently asked me if I could recommend a Chrysler 300 as a family car. I quickly said yes, but did voice one small concern. Chrysler has regularly been near the bottom of the J.D. Power & Associates Initial Quality Study. In other words, when the car first arrives it may have some issues. Fortunately, it did appear to get better in 2015, but it’s still something the company needs to address. Having said that, as long as the dealer can fix the issues quickly, the Chrysler 300 is definitely a car worth considering. After all, you get great performance and a car that won’t look like all the others in your neighborhood.