by Roger Biermann
The Chrysler 300 is a full-size luxury sedan, standing out with its bold and somewhat stately appearance. The 300 has a choice of two gasoline engines, a 3.6-liter V6 producing 292-300 horsepower, or Chrysler’s 363hp, 5.7-liter HEMI V8, which makes use of cylinder deactivation under low throttle loads to conserve fuel. Both engine choices come mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and are available with rear-wheel drive as standard with the V6 also getting all-wheel drive as an option. Pricing ranges from $29,220 to $41,695, giving the 300 some stiff competition from the likes of the Dodge Charger, which offers a genuine muscle car image, and the Nissan Maxima, which has a sporty and modern appearance in contrast with the Chrysler 300’s retro styling.
This generation of the Chrysler was introduced originally in 2011, and since then has received updates to quality and technology. However, for 2019, the car is the same as it was in 2018, except for a new wheel color option called ‘Black Noise,’ available on the 300 S trim.
The Chrysler 300 has always been a handsome vehicle, with all the styling cues of a luxury American limousine. The headlights are bi-xenon units with incorporated LED DRL’s, with default chrome detailing. The S model switches chrome for black, also adding a black grille and black window surrounds. The wheel options range from 17 to 20 inches, dependant on spec, and all AWD models come with 19 inch wheels as standard.
The Chrysler 300 is a hefty vehicle, with the lightest variant coming in at 4,013 lbs, and the heaviest model, equipped with the V8, weighing in at 4,380 lbs. The wheelbase is 120.2 inches with an overall length of 198.6 inches. The squat look is emphasized by a width of 75 inches, but with a height of 59.2 inches, the car looks sleeker in profile than its size may suggest. The wheel sizes vary between 17 and 20-inches, depending on trim and drivetrain.
The Chrysler 300 is available in eight different color options, with the colors being available across all spec levels at no additional cost. The color palette comprises Silver Mist, Granite Crystal, Bright White, Ceramic Grey, Maximum Steel, Ocean Blue, Velvet Red, and Gloss Black. The vehicle’s image is not really well suited to bright colors, so the colors it does offer can seem subdued, with the darker tones matching the sinister styling. The color that best suits the car is called Maximum Steel, a dark gray with blue undertones. This color works well with the chrome trimmings offered on the 300, but also adds to the sinister look when paired with the 300S which has a blacked out grille and accents.
While most full-size sedans convert to front-wheel based drivetrains with all-wheel drive as an option, the Chrysler 300 retains a rear-wheel drive platform to the benefit of its performance. The quickest trim available, after the SRT’s departure several years ago, is the 300S with the 5.7-liter V8 equipped, combining a stiffer suspension tune and 363-horsepower V8 for a 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds. Despite the V6 derivative being available with all-wheel drive, even in the 300-hp S guise, it’s only capable of managing a 0-60 mph time of 6.8 seconds, limited by its hefty weight. With the demise of the Chevrolet SS, only the Charger and 300 remain as rear-wheel drive, V8 offerings in the full-size arena.
The Chrysler is offered with a choice of two engines, a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, and a 5.7-liter Hemi V8, both of which are paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Rear wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available on V6 derivatives. The 3.6-liter V6 produces 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque in standard guise, with the 300S upping the power to 300 hp. Available on the 300S and standard on the 300C is a 5.7-liter V8 which produces 363 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque.
The V6 is strong but struggles a little with the weight of the Chrysler 300, particularly from a standstill. The V8, however, offers plenty of power to deliver adequate acceleration from a standstill, while overtaking prowess is particularly robust too. While it may be thirstier than the smaller engine, the V8 has an abundance of character and is unique in the segment, making it a worthwhile pick. The eight-speed ZF transmission, regardless of the engine it’s paired with, slips seamlessly from gear to gear but doesn’t respond as quickly as this same unit in other more German applications. Still, it suits the comfort bias of the Chrysler 300.
While the Chrysler 300 has ‘S’ trim lines and is set up to be firmer than it was before, a sports sedan this is not. The S model adds suspension with a sportier setup which improves handling and counters the wallowiness of the standard model, however, this still remains a relatively unsporting car.
The Chrysler 300 comes with adaptive steering, which provides light steering at low speeds and heavier steering at higher speeds. The system is intended to make tasks such as parking easier, without losing a sense of control at highway speeds. The system does, however, lack any real sense of feel - again belying the sporty inferences of the S denomination. The stiffer suspension prevents excessive body roll but doesn’t eradicate it altogether, and there’s still a fair amount when cornering. Because of 300’s weight, the tires run out of grip when pressed, contradicting any sporting connotations of the S moniker. However, the sportier suspension of the 300S improves ride comfort, dealing with large bumps better while managing secondary imperfections more smoothly too.
Overall, the 300 is smooth but uninspiring. However, to the 300’s credit, as one of the only remaining rear-wheel drive vehicles in this class, there is the ability to steer with the throttle, provided you’re willing to overcome the limits of adhesion, which gives the 300 a sense of dynamism others lack.
The 300’s 3.6-liter V6 is the more economical of the two available engines with EPA-rated mileage estimates of 19/30/23 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. It boasts a theoretical range of 425 miles in mixed driving situations with an 18.5-gallon gas tank in rear-wheel drive configuration. Equipping all-wheel drive reduces the city and highway figures to 18- and 27 mpg respectively.
The 5.7-liter V8 is, as expected, heavier on fuel, with the figures of 16/25/19 mpg on city/highway/combined cycles. Under partial throttle, or at freeway cruising speeds and other low load situations, the V8 deactivates four of its eight cylinders in an effort to save fuel and reduce emissions.
The Chrysler 300 is a big car from the outside, and it translates to a roomy and spacious interior. It’s an aging interior but retains high levels of quality and refinement. Depending on the spec level of the car, the interior can be upholstered in either cloth or various types of leather finishes, and while they may not be up to the standards set by German luxury sedans, or even offerings from Cadillac and Lexus, the levels of fit and finish are decent enough. Despite the aged appearance of the interior, the technology is of an impressive standard. Chrysler has equipped the 300 with a modern infotainment interface and high levels of functionality, while optional driver aids function as well as the most contemporary models. The interior provides lots of refinement and relatively high levels of sound deadening, contributing to the grand tourer feel, while the cabin is roomy and comfortable enough to cater to the comfort and luxury needs of most buyers at this level.
The Chrysler 300 seats a maximum of five people in roomy accommodation. Front seat headroom is generous for both occupants, while legroom is decent despite the broad transmission tunnel. The rear seats are equally as generous on the headroom front, while the broad hip and shoulder points cater to three adults across. Legroom is better suited in the back to two adults, however, as the driveshaft tunnel protrudes into the cabin substantially, resulting in splayed legs for those seated in the middle. The outboard seats have plenty of legroom, however, and can cater to adults over six feet tall in some comfort. The 300 features two full sets of LATCH anchors in the rear seats, ensuring it’s possible to equip a couple of child safety seats.
The front seats are eight-way power adjustable, with four-way lumbar support adjustment. Couple that with a tilting and telescoping steering wheel (electrically powered in Limited and C specs) and it’s easy to find a good driving position. Forward visibility is decent, but the high beltline and narrow rear windscreen limit rearward visibility.
The Chrysler 300 comes with various finishes for the seat and interior materials. The base touring package comes with cloth-upholstered interior that can be had in either black or linen colored cloth. The 300L comes as standard with Nappa leather trim on the seats. The next step us is the 300S, equipping sports seats in Nappa Leather but with embroidered logos on the seats. These can also be specced with perforated Alcantara inserts. The 300 Limited and 300C come with premium Nappa leather with perforated inserts.
The 300 Touring and 300L come with inserts on the dash and doors with a charcoal wood hydrographic finish, while the 300S gets piano black/satin chrome finishes inside. The 300 Limited comes with real olive ash burlwood inserts and the 300C comes standard with piano black bezels.
The 2019 Chrysler 300 is formatted as a classic sedan, and so has limited versatility when it comes to loading capacity. With 16.3 cubic feet of storage space in the trunk, it’s more than capable of carrying luggage for a family vacation or a week’s worth of groceries for a family of four. To add to this, the rear seats have 60/40 split folding functionality which increases loading space for longer items. However, the high trunk lip makes loading heavy and awkwardly shaped cargo quite difficult, which is a sacrifice made at the altar of style. Cargo volume is on par for the segment, with rivals like the Toyota Avalon boasting a trunk capacity of 16.1 cubic feet.
Interior storage is decent, but not exceptional for the class, with numerous cupholders front and rear, a tray ahead of the rotary shift knob, and door pockets large enough to fit most bottles. The bin beneath the center armrest is wide and has plenty of space for storage of wallets and smartphones.
The hallmark feature of the Chrysler 300 interior, since the first iteration of the vehicle, is an analog clock on the dashboard. However, the rest of the interior is far from analog. With the leather seats optioned, front seats are given heating as standard and are eight-way power adjustable, and the rearview mirror has auto-dimming capabilities. The 300 also comes as standard with a reverse camera which is displayed on the infotainment screen, a tire pressure monitoring system, and dual-zone climate control, while there’s an optional dual-pane panoramic sunroof available on the Touring L trim and higher models. The SafetyTec package is also an option, and that adds in forward collision warning, front and rear parking sensors and lane keep assist with lane departure warning. A 4G LTE WiFi hotspot is available across the range.
All trim levels of the Chrysler 300 come standard with the Uconnect infotainment system. It boasts an 8.4-inch touchscreen display and comes with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality embedded. The Uconnect system is Bluetooth enabled, with Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free, as well as FM/AM radio function and SiriusXM Radio. Six speakers are standard on all trims with a nine-speaker premium setup optional on the 300 S. There’s an available Harman Kardon premium sound system which comes with 19 speakers, a subwoofer and a 900-watt amplifier. Navigation is also available when the 300 is equipped with the upgraded Uconnect 4C NAV system, which includes traffic information.
After being on the market since 2011, Chrysler has ironed out most of the problems with the 300 and over the last four years, very few problems have presented themselves. There were recalls earlier in the vehicle’s lifespan, but in recent years the 300 has behaved itself. J.D. Power scored the 300 at 82 out of 100 in its overall reliability rating, above the class average and with particularly high mechanical reliability noted.
The Chrysler 300 comes standard with a three year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty.
The Chrysler 300 scored an overall four stars in the NHTSA safety ratings, losing marks in the Frontal Crash and Rollover tests. The IIHS praised the Front Crash Prevention as superior with optional equipment but marked the headlights down with a worst available rating of ‘Poor’. Due to the old platform, the 300 is built on, it also scored poorly on the small front overlap tests.
The 2019 Chrysler 300 comes standard with the equipment we’ve become accustomed to seeing on all new car models. There is ABS, traction control, a full suite of airbags and various other standard safety systems. There is also a standard reverse camera, which comes with all trim levels. There are more comprehensive safety features but they are optional on even the top trim lines. The available SafetyTec package includes advanced brake assist, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, full speed forward collision warning with active braking, adaptive cruise control, and front and rear park assist.
The 300 is an aging sedan, but one that trades on stylish appeal and an abundance of interior comfort. The suspension tends to be overly soft, with not even the firmer setup on the S living up to its sporty name. Both available engines provide a good amount of grunt for a vehicle this size, and the rear-wheel drive nature is appreciated in a segment in which most have transitioned to front-wheel drive. Of the two engines, though, the V8 is more characterful and is definitely the recommended pick.
Despite Chrysler updating the tech to modern standards, the interior shows its age. The touchscreen infotainment system offers a wide range of features while remaining quick and intuitive. The 300 can be had with a decent array of advanced safety features, but they’re only optional, where rivals offer them as standard. The abundance of interior space and its lounge-like appeal is where the 300 shines.
The Chrysler 300 is a good full-size sedan but ultimately feels its age. There are newer rivals which are more efficient and more tech-laden. If you’re after the theater of a rear-wheel drive V8, the 300 is still a solid choice, but for more contemporary traits a Genesis G80 ticks all the luxury and performance boxes.
The base model Chrysler 300 is the V6 Touring and the pricing starts at $29,220. The range-topping model is the 300C which is equipped with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 and starts at $41,700. Between them is the Touring L, with a base MSRP of $32,865; the 300 S with a starting price of $36,395; and the 300 Limited which comes in at $38,245. The prices listed here are excluding licensing, registration, taxes and a $1,495 destination fee.
The 2019 Chrysler 300 consists of five different models: the 300 Touring, 300 Touring L, 300S, 300 Limited and the 300C.
All trims but the 300C feature a 3.6-liter V6 as standard and with the option of either RWD or AWD. The 300C comes as standard with the 363-hp 5.7-liter V8 and RWD, with the engine also being an option on the 300S.
The 300 Touring, although forming the base of the range, still gets keyless entry, a rearview camera, the Uconnect infotainment system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The aircon is a dual-zone climate control unit, while the wheels are 17-inches in size, and the interior has cloth upholstery.
The next model up is the 300 Touring L, which adds heated front seats and Nappa leather. The car is set up with a comfort suspension and rides on 18-inch wheels. The Driver Convenience package is available from this model onwards.
The 300S gets the choice between an uprated 300-hp V6 and the V8 Hemi engine, but also equips 20-inch alloy wheels, black LED taillights, a sport-tuned suspension, remote start, and sports seats.
The 300 Limited follows this, adding a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and ventilated front seats with driver’s memory function.
The range topper is the 300C, which comes standard with the 5.7-liter V8, also adding 20-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, heated and cooled cupholders, and an upgraded steering wheel.
|300 Touring||3.6-liter V6 Gas||8-Speed Automatic||Rear Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive||$28,867||$29,220|
|300 Touring L||3.6-liter V6 Gas||8-Speed Automatic||Rear Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive||$28,867||$29,220|
|300S||3.6-liter V6 Gas||8-Speed Automatic||Rear Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive||$35,248||$36,395|
|300 Limited||3.6-liter V6 Gas||8-Speed Automatic||Rear Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive||$36,967||$38,245|
|300C||5.7-liter V8 Gas||8-Speed Automatic||Rear Wheel Drive||$40,177||$41,695|
The Chrysler 300 comes pretty comprehensively specced from even the base touring model, yet there are some worthwhile options for the car. The SafetyTec Plus Group package costs $1,695, and is available only on the 300C, 300S, and 300 Limited trims, comprising advanced brake assist, rain sensing wipers, LaneSense lane departure warning, lane keep assist, auto high beam headlamp control, full speed forward collision warning with active braking, and adaptive cruise control.
There are also exterior packages, one such being the Sport Appearance package at a cost of $1,295. This package includes 20-inch Black Noise wheels, blacked out light surrounds, grille surround, and black LED rear lights. The other package is the Chrome Appearance Package, which also costs $1,295 and includes a set of 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, chrome mirror caps, platinum grille and surrounds and heated rearview mirrors.
The Driver Convenience pack costs $995 and includes comfort suspension, front LED fog lamps, remote start system, and universal garage door opener.
The pick of the bunch in terms of value and available options is the Chrysler 300S with pricing starting at $36,395, which puts it in the middle of the model range. The standard 3.6-liter V6 gains an additional 8 hp pushing power up to 300 hp, while the 300S is also available with the 363-hp V8. Further adding to the ‘S’ moniker of this model, the vehicle gets the sport-tuned suspension to improve the car's handling dynamics. The standard equipment includes Nappa leather sports bucket seats and also remote start with keyless entry. The available options are as comprehensive for this package as the top of the line models, with the SafetyTec Plus being available and worth the extra payout in our opinion. This trim level represents the best point between budget and equipment and is definitely the first one we would have a look at. The 300S also comes standard with the 20-inch ‘Black Noise’ wheels, black exterior detailing such as light surrounds, and a black grille with black chrome surround.
The Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger are natural competitors, riding on the same FCA group platform. However, while these two cars may share a platform, they are aimed at different types of buyers. The 300 and Charger both have similar front legroom and headroom, with only slightly less headroom in the rear for the Dodge Charger. The interior quality in the Charger is of a lesser standard, with the 300 boasting a higher quality fit and finish.
Both cars come equipped with either V6 or V8 motors, which are shared between the two brands, but in the Chrysler 300, the V8 develops 363 hp, while in the Dodge Charger it produces 370 hp. The performance is highly comparable as a result, so deciding on which to buy depends on what you’re looking for in a car; for luxury, it‘s the Chrysler 300 which is much softer and more luxurious, while for a more performance-focused package it would be the Dodge Charger. The 5.7-liter V8 is the top of the line performance variant for the Chrysler 300, while in the Charger it is only the middle of the performance range, with the 485-hp SRT and 707-hp Hellcat sitting above it, giving the Dodge the performance edge.
Both the 300 and Altima occupy the same full-size sedan segment, going about it in an entirely different manner. The Altima only offers four-cylinder motors for 2019, with a base NA 2.5-liter and a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder that produces 237 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. The Altima also weighs almost 600 lbs less than the Chrysler 300, making it more competitive against the heavy 300 despite the V6’s power advantage of 292 hp.
The biggest selling point for the Altima is the pricing with the Altima Edition One, the top-spec model, starting at $35,750, which is comparable to the Chrysler 300S with the V6 and RWD. A look at the spec sheet shows that it comes as a fully specced car, which includes driver aids such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist as standard, and those functions aren’t even standard fitment on the top of the range Chrysler 300C. The Altima offers an abundance of space and comfort, along with high safety standards, making it a better objective pick against the 300.