The Chrysler 300, a car that has provided luxury vehicle design elements and proportions to the masses since 2005, has survived 18 model years with no more than a significant refresh in 2011.
So as the 2018 model steps up to serve a dwindling pool of full-size sedan customers, it does so with great style — even after all these years.
And that is because the hallmarks of this old gal are its rear-wheel-drive ride and handling, spacious rear seat, and incredibly distinctive styling. Clearly, everywhere you go in one of these, you will draw attention.
So what is new for 2018? Chrysler has reshuffled the 300 lineup to make it align better with the brand’s only other offering, the Pacifica minivan. Last year, the trims were Limited, 300S, 300S Alloy, 300C, and 300C Platinum. For 2018, consumers can choose among Touring, Touring L, 300S, Limited, and 300C.
Its conspicuous styling is made even more distinct by available appearance packages and a menacing 300S trim, the model I got to test drive, that comes with blacked-out wheels, smoked headlamps, and a performance-tuned suspension.
The base price of my 300S came to $36,800 including the $1,005 destination charge. But my car topped $48,000 once all optional equipment was added in, part of what is called the “300S Package 26G” on the sticker. The 300S Premium Group includes such features as the Uconnect 4C NAV with an 8.4-inch display, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, and Sirius XM Traffic Plus.
This grouping of options also includes the Beats Audio Group as well as wide range of swanky and smart interior and exterior upgrades: Power tilt, Adaptive Bi-Xenon HID headlamps, the ParkSense system, and other desirables in the SafetyTec Plus Group, as well as a 5.7-literV8 HEMI MDS VVT engine delivering 363 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque.
City conditions prevented me from driving around Miami the car like I stole it, so the brakes performed flawlessly, the pedal firm underfoot yet easy to modulate for smooth, jostle-free stops and seamless travel in heavy traffic. With the optional V-8 engine, every 300 gets an upgraded performance braking system.
The 300S weighs just over 2 tons, and does not really need the V-8 engine, so it’s a little thirsty ‚ with a rating of 19 mpg city and 25 highway.
Though its Bentleyesque proportions haven’t changed over the course of nearly two decades, the Chrysler 300 remains appealing, especially to people seeking an upscale appearance at a discount.
Step into a Chrysler 300 and you’ll notice how easy it is to get into and out of the car. The eight-way power-adjustable front seats are really thrones, sitting up high for a commanding view through the narrow windows. Chrysler uses premium Nappa leather with contrast stitching for the 300S, one of the few genuinely luxurious touches within the cabin.
Controls are logically located and easy to use, and drivers change transmission gears using a rotary dial on the center console instead of a traditional shifter, which is pretty cool.
The Chrysler 300 is definitely an “oldie but goodie.” Regular updates have modernized the car in terms of its infotainment, driver-assistance, and collision-avoidance technologies. Throw upscale styling and genuine value into the equation this Chrysler remains appealing despite its age.
Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.