Chrysler 300 Performance and Comfort
Are you the type of car-buyer who loves driving a big, powerful sedan and wants to buy American? If so, give the revamped Chrysler 300 a good look. The prediction here is you will come away impressed.
A flagship car in the Chrysler lineup, the 300 is a full-size sedan that's available in seven trim models, ranging from the base model V6 that costs $27,670 to the performance-heavy SRT8, which has a price tag that rises an extra $20,000. The variety allows for some major decisions when it comes to picking that "just right" model.
2012 Chrysler 300
- Performance: 3.6-liter, V6, 292 horsepower (base model)
- Mileage estimate:14-31 mpg
- Price: $27,670 to $47,670
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/100,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/100,000 miles roadside assistance; 3 years/36,000
Chrysler came out with a major redesign a year ago that resulted in a little larger (2 inches longer and wider) vehicle than its predecessor. It also added comfort improvements, a sleeker exterior, and some additions to the standard equipment.
Even with those fairly significant changes, Chrysler decided to add more for this year's 300, which is manufactured in Canada. It added three different models - the 300 luxury series, the powerful SRT8, and the 300S.
A small touchscreen interface now comes standard on the 2012 base and Limited models. Perhaps more significantly, the V6 engine can be paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission (replacing the five-speed) and all-wheel drive.
The 2012 Chrysler 300 comes standard with rear-wheel drive and features a performance-laden engine - no matter what model is selected. Known for its V8 power, going for the base model (3.6 liter, V6, 292 horsepower, 260 pound-feet of torque) will keep most drivers happy.
However, an upgrade to the 300C and 300S brings superior acceleration thanks to the 5.7-liter, V8 that produces 363 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. The V8 gas mileage (16-25 mpg) isn't as good as the three V6 selections (19-31 mpg), but that thrill of driving a high-performance muscle car is definitely what some car-buyers want when purchasing the 300.
The 300 models are heavy vehicles and typically that means the handling can be problematic. While there are some handling issues with the Chrysler 300, overall it offers a very smooth, quiet and secure ride that won't leave the driver feeling vulnerable. Note, that the one common complaint with the 300s is poor rear visibility due to its thick pillars.
Thanks to last year's major redesign, the 300's interior is much improved. Overall, the cabin is quite roomy and the seating comfortable. Up front, driver and passenger possess ample head and leg room, while even three backseat occupants won't feel squeezed. The trunk is sizable, measuring 16.3 cubic feet.
The interior makeup, featuring a two-tone color schemes, is classy but not quite luxury. There's practically no use of hard plastic and the new 8.4-inch touchscreen is much larger than in the past. The screen is logical in nature and features large buttons.
There are certainly other vehicles to consider in this class, most notably the Cadillac CTS, Buick LaCrosse, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Genesis and Dodge Charger. But the refined Chrysler 300 is certainly a good choice, especially if you want to buy American.