What it is: The 300 is Chrysler’s popular full-size luxury sedan which was released as a 2011 model, although a face-lift was instituted with the 2015 model.
The biggest new features are a restyled front and rear fascia with a new chrome grill, a standard 8-speed automatic transmission, and revised infotainment systems.
For 2016, the 300 is available in five different trims, with the 300S trim falling right in the middle. Chrysler did take the strange move of calling the base trim “Limited” so don’t get confused when checking out the vehicles. The Limited model is equipped well for a base model with 18-inch wheels, satellite radio, some chrome trim, and a 292-horsepower V6 engine. What I do appreciate is that there are still plenty of packages and options you can add to the base trim, but if you want the Hemi V8 engine then you’ll have to go all the way up to the 300S trim that I tested.
The 300S trim carries a $3,335 premium over the Limited trim and gives you an eight horsepower increase up to 300 horsepower, paddle shifters, heated power-controlled seats with leather trimming (I was a big fan of these) and a performance suspension. You also get 20-inch black wheels, a back-up camera and the upgraded stereo package by BeatsAudio that features 10 speakers and a subwoofer; quite a lot of value for the money. The 300S trim also lets you add some nicer packages, such as Adaptive Cruise Control with brake assist ($2,995), Adaptive Bi-Xenon HID headlamps ($895) and a premium group package that adds navigation, sunroof, blind spot detection, park assist and more for ($3,295).
The driving experience is very good, with a smooth ride on the highway. While the 300-horsepower V6 pumps out plenty of oomph, the optional 5.7-liter V8 painted a smile across my face when the 363-horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque is applied to the pavement. The 8-speed automatic is wonderful, and is smooth between (frequent) shifts. My only real issue with the 300 is the dashboard of the car feels a little cheap and looks a little ugly for a car that costs this much. This is more due to it being released years ago, and the soft surfaces like the seating materials (leather comes standard!) is great, but it would be hard for me to get over that dash.
The back seat is huge, the trunk is cavernous and there is more power than most people would even feel comfortable with, and my test model was still priced under $40,000. Can’t ask for too much more than that.
Price: $32,260 base price. $35,595 for 300S. $39,560 as-tested.
Upsides: Lots of performance and luxury for the buck.
Downsides: Model starting to look long in the tooth compared to newly released competitors.
Wrap-up: I think that the 300 is still one of the best options in this price range, and delivers a car with more room and more options available than its competitors. The base model is still a good buy, but I think the 300S is the sweet spot. Chrysler was smart sending me the test model that they did because I think that it’s the savviest choice available (300S with the Hemi). I wish that the options and packages were a little cheaper, so if you wanted a fully loaded 300, then you might shop around more to find a more competitive offering.