Chrysler 300 | Harold Zeigler Newsletter Kalamazoo MI
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Date posted: December 11, 2012

Chrysler 300

Like Cher, the Chrysler 300 just keeps making comebacks. A proud and prestigious vehicle during the 1950s, the 300 fell into anonymity during the ’60s and then disappeared from the automotive landscape for more than 30 years. For the mid-2000s, though, Chrysler introduced its new 300, and it represented a bold new direction for the brand.

The 300 was an immediate hit thanks to its retro-inspired styling, powerful V8 engines, rear-wheel drive and refined road manners. Consumer interest did start to wane after a few years, but Chrysler is going for another comeback this year with a redesigned 300 that features a more powerful base V6 and a higher-quality interior. Overall, we like the 300 and find it to be a solid pick for a new or used large sedan.

Current Chrysler 300
The Chrysler 300 is a large five-passenger sedan with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. It’s been designed to appeal to consumers desiring something with a bit more personality than a regular family sedan or as an alternative to popular Japanese or European entry-luxury sedans. Some of the 300’s underlying mechanicals are derived from Mercedes-Benz technology, and it’s a platform sibling to Dodge’s Challenger and Charger.

The 300’s styling is unmistakably American, though with an added dash of refinement after its 2011 redesign. The large chrome grille, bejeweled headlights, high beltline, bulging fenders and big wheels give it a strong presence on the road. A long 120-inch wheelbase shortens up the front and rear overhangs and opens up plenty of occupant space on the inside. Cabin dimensions are generous in all directions, and the 300 offers more legroom than most of its competitors.

Its overall interior design has been described as simple but elegant. More importantly, that interior is now decked out in high-class materials that are pleasing to behold and touch. Even in its least expensive form, the 300 feels like a luxury car.

There are six trim levels: base, Limited, 300S V6, 300C, 300 S V8 and SRT8. The first three come with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 292 horsepower. The base model comes standard with a five-speed automatic transmission. An eight-speed automatic that’s standard on all other V6 models is optional. The 300C and 300S V8 get a 5.7-liter “Hemi” V8 that produces 363 hp. The SRT8 has a 6.3-liter, 470-hp V8. Rear-wheel drive and a five-speed automatic are standard, and all-wheel drive is optional on all but the base and SRT8.

Standard equipment includes niceties like automatic headlights, keyless ignition/entry, automatic dual-zone climate control, a power driver seat and a small touchscreen interface. Moving up to the Limited or 300C nets you (among other things) a rearview camera, heated front seats, Bluetooth and an upgraded sound system. The S gets unique styling elements, an upgraded electronics interface and a special Beats by Dr. Dre sound system. Many additional features are available to make the 300 just as luxurious and well-equipped as luxury sedans that cost thousands more. This is especially true of the SRT8, which comes standard with just about everything.

On the move, the new 300 glides down the road in a way reminiscent of a big Mercedes-Benz sedan. Its suspension dampens even heavily rutted pavement with sophistication, yet it does so without being overly soft or floaty. Handling and steering are also impressive, and although the V8 engines may be the biggest draw, the V6 is quite strong. The only significant downside to the car is compromised rear visibility.

Source: [Edmunds]

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