By on May 31, 2016

2016 Chrysler 300C Front 3/4, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Greatness isn’t always universal. Being a great sprinter doesn’t make one a great marathoner. In fact, exhibiting greatness in one sense will often make for a fatal flaw in another. If you need any proof of this, simply pick up the closest Greek tragedy and read it.

The same can be be said of rental cars. The qualities that make a car a great rental don’t necessarily translate into a great daily driver. That being said, after four days in Northern California, I’m prepared to remove the Chevy Impala from its lofty perch as the best rental car money can buy (or rent) you.

The 2016 Chrysler 300 C is the best rental car in the world.

I very nearly didn’t get the opportunity to find out. When I arrived at San Jose International late on a Wednesday evening, the Emerald Aisle looked bleak. I strolled up and down the nearly empty garage several times, and had nearly resigned myself to a Camry SE when I saw the Phantom clone turn the corner, freshly washed and ready to return to duty. Ahhh, yes.

The black-on-black 300 was perfect for my weekend assignment, much of which required me to be in the company of people who make more money in a week than a doctor makes in a year. The 300C looks, smells, feels, and — most importantly — drives like big money.

My 300C RWD came configured like most of them are: nearly all features you’d ever want are standard on the C, including heated and ventilated leather seats, a dual-panel moonroof/sunroof, and Uconnect 8.4 touchscreen. The only option that I wanted was sadly missing: the option for the 5.7-liter Hemi V8. However, the standard 292-horsepower Pentastar motor was more than sufficient, as you’ll soon learn.

2016 Chrysler 300C Rear 3/4, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

I asked a lot of my FCA stallion over the course of the weekend, including several hauls up and down the legendary Pacific Coast Highway, with stops in Santa Cruz, Carmel, Monterey, and Half Moon Bay. The 300 demonstrated much of its competence here, providing a pillow-top quality ride to accompany the scenic views. The interior is simply better than it has a right to be, especially considering the age of this platform. Seating is firm and supportive, with enough adjustability built in to suit both my 5’9″ and my brother’s 6’2″ frames. Although the RWD hump in the middle of the cabin reduces the usability of the back seat to two adults and one short-legged child, the leg, shoulder, and head room are fantastic. In fact, should you find yourself toting along a photographer in the back seat, there’s more than enough room for him/her to work, as seen here.

2016 Chrysler 300C Interior Driving, Image: © 2016 Danger Girl/The Truth About Cars

Now, I know what you’re thinking; Bark, are you really doing 111 miles per hour on the 17 Mile Drive in Carmel while listening to “Time For Me To Fly” by REO Speedwagon?

The obvious answer is … maybe.

The real answer, sadly, is no.

I switched the speedometer to kilometers per hour because my father had chastised me for doing 67 on the PCH in another photo that my dear new sister-in-law had posted to The Facebook earlier in the day, so we thought we’d have a little fun with him.

(Note to self: my father’s idea of “fun” and mine differ. Drastically.)

Regardless, this was the 300C’s chance to show that it could really handle the tight turns under power.

Newsflash: it cannot. Not in any way, shape, or form.

In fact, hustling the car through corners at all made my older brother incredibly nervous in the passenger seat, and not without reason. The same suspension that makes the 300C so enjoyable to drive at highway speeds makes it somewhat treacherous in more spirited driving. Any sort of surface change causes the big Chrysler to bounce like Kim Kardashian’s ass in a home video. The Pentastar has no problem pushing the weight of the 300C through apexes, but the combination of good lateral grip and soft suspension makes for unsettling cornering.

2016 Chrysler 300C, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Here’s the part where you have to decide, as a driver and a car owner, which type of driving experience you’d like to have. So many sedans today have ridiculously “sporty” suspensions, with spring rates that border on insanity. Sure, you get a more planted cornering feel, but you get the fillings knocked out of your teeth with every bump in the road the rest of the time. In a world where every car must be subjected to some ridiculous shootout-style comparison test with drivers wearing HANS devices and three-point belts, it’s no wonder that OEMs saddle their mid- and large-sized sedans with suspension geometry more suited for the track than the street.

I delight in the fact that the 300C shuns these judgments, and simply allows itself to excel at the style of driving that most drivers will do nearly 100 percent of the time in such a car. If you want a large, Pentastar-powered sedan with a sporty suspension, I feel confident that your local Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram/Fiat dealer’s salesperson will direct you toward the Charger.

However, if you want a large American car that actually drives like a large American car, well, my friends, the Chrysler 300 C is for you. It’s at the point that I could go into all sorts of numbers and sales data and statistics and comparisons, but let me tell you a tale instead.

I was brutally forced, against my will, to drive the 300C from my accommodations at the Monterey Marriott to Jack and Danger Girl’s Santa Cruz hotel, then on to San Francisco and back on Saturday night. (I was also forced to accept a free NY Strip Steak at Bob’s downtown in the Omni.) Every second that I was sitting at the dinner table, despite being in delightful company (meaning my steak), I was dreading the two-hour drive back. I was exhausted, and I knew how the drive would be downright dangerous in the dark with anything less than my most alert state of mind.

My dear readers, let me tell you this. I needn’t have worried. The 300C is the easiest car in the world to drive. It requires no effort beyond the flick of the occasional wrist. The delightful eight-speed automatic transmission pairs with the Pentastar to smoothly and quietly deliver a stress-free highway drive — and at an observed 32 miles per gallon, too.

I arrived safely and soundly at my destination, delivered the car to the valet, and slipped into silent slumber with a smile on my face.

The only minor annoyance I had with the car was that oncoming drivers kept assuming that I had my brights on. I was flashed at least a dozen times each night, and not in the good way. I suspect that my rental, despite having only a thousand miles on the clock, may have needed some minor headlight adjustment.

So would I want to drive the 300C every day? I don’t know. I probably wouldn’t — or at least not this version of it. I’d want the 5.7-liter V8 at the very least, and I’d be wishing for an SRT-8 trim with the 6.4-liter brute. But the good news? I can actually get the 5.7, and only for about $3,000 more. This rental trim 300C can be had, after incentives, for less than $36,000, and the Hemi still gets you out the door for under $40,000.

Can you think of another car that gets you all of that, and looks this good, for that kind of money? I can’t either.

So, for that reason alone, the 300C is going to find itself on my shopping list in February of next year. And while I may not buy it, if I ever see it on the rental row again, you can be damn sure that I’ll be renting it.

2016 Chrysler 300C, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

[Images: Bark M. and Danger Girl]

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143 Comments on “2016 Chrysler 300C Rental Review – The Best Car Money Can Rent...”


  • avatar
    energetik9

    Having rented both, I concur that the 300 is the better rental of the two. Never been overly thrilled with the infotainment though.

    As a rental and maybe daily driver it works. Good passenger room, good trunk, comfortable. I’ve always felt the 300 is a bit numb though and it seems long overdue for a restyle. The GM is even more numb to me and I am just not a fan of the silly interior lighting or cabin space, and it just feels too big to me. The 300 is not exactly high up on the engagement scale, but that’s just my opinion. It has a little bit of an old school feeling maybe? I prefer this…”So many sedans today have ridiculously “sporty” suspensions, with spring rates that border on insanity.”

  • avatar

    I owned three Chrysler 300.
    A 2006 with the 2.7-L
    A 2006 SRT with the 6.1-L
    A 2012 SRT with the 6.4-L

    The new Pentastar V6 with the 8Speed is a perfect engine for All Wheel Drive or RWD variants – including Chargers – and the 200c and all the other cars they couple this setup in.

    It lacks the noise and hair-trigger jerkiness of the Twin Turbo V6 EGOboost.

    I prefer Naturally Aspirated engines over Twin Turbo – not to mention the Pentastar can take regular unleaded for more savings on fuel not necessarily gained by reducing displacement. Most Twin Turbos demand premium. I prefer a Supercharger to Twin Turbos mostly because of the sound.

    My biggest problem with the redesigned 300 is that the dial transmission switch looks like it doesn’t belong in the car. It doesn’t fit the car’s character. I prefer the shifter from the 5-speed. Simple and works every time without the confusion from the ridiculous ZF monostatic shifter.

    Then there’s the reduction of head room due to a steeper roof rake.

    Then there’s the over flat-ness of the seats.

    The 2006 SRT8’s had the best seats and bolstering.

    To make the 300 competitive they need to increase rear leg space – at least as much as the Hyundai Genesis which damn-near feels like an S-class inside.

    Having owned both SRT and having driven the Pentastar, I must say, there’s no reason for the 5.7-L.

    The Pentastar with 8-speed is so good that the 5.7-L feels superfluous. This car lives in between extremes. Either you get a more average V6 with 8-speed or you bump the power to the max with the SRT.

    This is part of the reason Chrysler cancelled the 5.7-L with AWD. The take rate was lower than 16% and they were selling 10 – 15x as many Chargers and Challengers similarly equipped.

    Add to that, the deck spoiler and new fascia added to the new 300S models and it makes the 2012-2014 SRT models not stand out as well.

    As far as “rentals go”, for comfort front and back I’d have to take a Genesis instead.

    I hate to say that, but I have to.

    I decided to take my 2013 Azera lease back for a Genesis. I’ll be videoing it when I get some time.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Yabbut you never had Jesus for your copilot!

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Having owned 10 different vehicles, and driven another 5 or 6 regularly, my 300 Luxury Series is one of maybe three I could see daily-driving for 10 years. The overall experience is that good. There isn’t any compromise!

      The other two cars I’ve owned that I could drive for 10 years include a 2002 Caddy STS and an Olds Alero (don’t laugh, when these cars were extremely mindful designs for what they promised). The 300 mostly removes the reliability concerns of those two; the Pentastar and the 8-speed are proving to be good long-term bets. People crap on FCA reliability, but by and large the current 300 avoids major problems.

      OK so the Bluetooth module has a habit of crapping out. Buy a set of trim tools and swap out the damn thing yourself. Anyone even considering the “romance” of owning a quirky car should consider the 300 as a damn fine driver if they can troubleshoot a sticking HVAC door.

      HOWEVER – as soon as the warranty runs out, I am thinking of reskinning a set of SRT seat foams to match the interior. The non-SRT seats are indeed overly flat. Yes there is body roll, but it’s entirely predictable, and the worst side effect is sliding all over the non-SRT seats.

      THEN it’s replacing the horrible Beats speakers with anything that has better imaging. The non-Harman Kardon stereos are just horrible. Some people love them… I hate them. Probably because I have had too many good stereos, but the Infinity setup in my old 90’s Avenger was the best audio system I’ve ever had in a car. Even my Honda Fit’s humble system seemed better balanced than my 300’s “Beats Audio”.

      With those two changes my 300 would be perfect, and I wouldn’t sell until it rusts out. (I got a lifetime powertrain warranty with my used purchase)

      It’s just a damn confident automobile with a thoroughly modern ride, all the safety features, a reliable powertrain, and few compromises.

      • 0 avatar

        Have you seen my 300 Vlogs?

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Replacing speakers in luxury and near-luxury cars can be problematic. I just went through this with my MKZ. I had replaced the front door speakers with a component set from Hi-Vi. It was a disaster. The stock speakers are so much more efficient that it was impossible to get a decent balance. Worse, there is a dash center speaker that’s an odd size and almost impossible to easily replace. Finally, the car has active noise-cancellation which got very confused by the less-efficient Hi-Vis and kept cranking up the bass to counter engine noise resulting in a booming resonance. I reluctantly restored the stock speakers.

        Conversely, in my Tacoma, I replace the stock door speakers with a set of Focal components and added a modest 75wpc amp. the results are stunning. The clarity and complete lack of mid-range muddiness is wonderful. Complex music no longer sounds like mush, bass is well-defined and the tweeters reveal every detail without sounding harsh.

        I should have known when Crutchfield had no recommendations for the MKZ.

        It’s ironic that it’s easier to get good sound in cheaper cars.

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          The answer is something like the JL Audio CleanSweep. It removes the factory EQ giving you flat response that can then be tuned properly. Or the JBL MS-8, Rockford 3sixty3, Alpine’s Imprint, etc. These factory systems need DSP processors to sound right, you can’t just replace the speakers or amps. The active noise cancelling in my stock Z with its BOSE (aka BLOWS) was one of the reasons it sounded so bad. As noted the more complex the vehicle the more difficult fixing the sound system is. The days of just updating your deck + 4 (radio plus 4 speakers) are gone.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            It’s a shame, really. The upgraded sound system in the MKZ is a THX system that is flashy but not really audiophile.

            I’m pretty sure that the combination of the DSP monkeying with the speaker response curve combined with the active noise cancellation makes it impossible to have effective ANR when you change out the speakers, no matter what you do. Something has to give.

            If you’re an audiophile, it really sucks because most time spent listening to music is in the car. My home system sounds fantastic, so when I listen to the factory system, it’s a constant reminder of the epic failure of many factory systems.

            One point, the MKZ system does sound a fair bit better than the Bose system in the CTS that the MKZ replaced. That’s a small comfort, at least…

        • 0 avatar
          bryanska

          Thanks for the reply.

          In the forums, some folks are having success just swapping out speakers, since it’s a relatively simple system. The low NVH comes from elsewhere.

          I was shocked at how damn cold everything sounds with this stupid Beats system. Cold and flat. Then i go home and listen to the same music Wharfedales and B&Ws, and get angry! Shame is, the HK systems in the 300s are hard to find.

      • 0 avatar

        Beats Audio equipment is generally dramatically overrated and overpriced. It’s not just my opinion–there’s been studies to the effect. It’s almost like the brand has been sold on its image more than its capability. Huh.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The non-Harman Kardon 300s sound surprisingly good when you tune-out most of the bass. I’d just replace the bass with a piggyback, built-in amp, “bass tube” in the trunk.

        • 0 avatar

          I have had the 19-piece HK in my:
          2012 300SRT
          2014 Jeep SRT
          2016 Hellcat
          2015 Jeep SRT

          They are loud and powerful. They sound fantastic.

          However, strangely, you don’t get the subwoofer unless you have a Beats system.

          The Kicker system from the 2006 SRT 300 was better.

          Personally I’ll take 2 powered 1000-W Kicker L7’s over anything you could offer for Bass in my car.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The available Harmon Kardon system is fantastic. At full volume, the clarity on all levels is a delight. I agree about the Beats system, it left a lot to be desired including bass which the added subwoofer was expected to provide.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Did somebody kidnap BTSR? A long, well-presented and decently critical comment utter lacking in bombast and CAPS. Nicely done.

    • 0 avatar
      Fie on Fiasler

      “The new Pentastar V6 with the 8Speed is a perfect engine for All Wheel Drive or RWD variants – including Chargers – and the 200c and all the other cars they couple this setup in.”

      No 8AT in the 200; only the horrid 9-speed, which firmly places the 200 on my “avoid like the plague” list.

    • 0 avatar

      2006 with the 2.7L?

      I’m sorry.

    • 0 avatar
      maxxcool7421

      You can run 87 in the Ecoboost.

      You can also go to ‘unleashedtuning’ and have the eco boost make more HP and TQ on 87 than the ‘default tune on premium’ and get both more power, and cost less at the pump. Lastly you can tune it for your driving needs so if you want ‘comfort mode’ low TQ shifting and acceleration you can also do that and feel like your driving a couch with 315-awd-WHP and 400-awd-WHP TQ.

      Or dial the injectors way back for a Eco tune for much better gas mileage.. that still make better TQ and HP than EITHER engine (3.6 pent / or ford eco 3.5 base tune).

      I know you hare the ECO line. But you can do a lot more for a lot less with just a tuner than a Na engine that cannot benefit from any level of software-only tuning. Hell look at the 2.7, it makes better stock power than both at its base tune .. yet the engine is rated for much higher density operation.

  • avatar
    kefkafloyd

    They spared every expense!

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Nice review. The 300 comes in a sport model for those who want a more sporty ride.

    This is the best affordable large sedan on the road today. If it were just a little cheaper to compete with the midsize stalwarts, they would sell a boat load.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      NGHH that S model looks incredible, but the non-black interior option is straight from the Pep Boys catalog. It’s a shame they don’t offer a GT model with the S exterior, the Platinum interior, with sports seats and suspension.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    A soft American cruiser?

    (Swoons)

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Regarding high speed handling: the 300 cannot be upset, and the fear you have is unwarranted. Yes, it doesn’t feel natural, but the 300 can handle high speed abrupt lane changes without waking your passenger. The front suspension is old S class, the rest rear suspension is old E class, and the pure composure shines through when you need it. It’s that freaking capable. Nothing upsets this car at speed.

    Of course physics work against it in side to side low speed swerving, but add another 60mph and things stay Sinatra.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Maybe I’m dating myself…but it seems to me that if a Chrysler is going to have a 300 “letter car” badge on it, it damned well better have the big engine and upgraded suspension and brakes.

    In this day and age of adjustable, multi-mode dampers, variable-rate springs, space-age tire technology, etc., it should not be too much of a challenge to enable a 4300-lb., long-wheelbase sedan with relatively high aspect-ratio tires to both handle and ride acceptably well.

    And finally, for a rental, which is basically an unfamiliar vehicle, I would rather have the good visibility of the Impala than the tank-slit windows in the 300.

    I like the 300, but…

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      IMO, the now discontinued 300 SRT8 was a worthy successor to the letter car. A Hellcat equipped 300 would also be a worthy modern letter car. The current 300 with a 5.7 would be more like a (non letter) late ’60s 300 with a 440. It’s still historically accurate, like the SRT they only made the letter cars for a few years and didn’t make very many of them.

      In all trims, this is a pretty decent car. I wonder if it is part of the reason for the 200’s failure in the market place? If you are in the market for a Chrysler sedan, I don’t see why you wouldn’t find the extra money for one of these instead of a 200, unless you really aren’t comfortable driving a large car.

      I’m not in the market for a sedan, but if I were the LX cars would certainly be on my list, and I can see choosing them over a generic Camcord.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I rented an Epsilon Impala a couple months ago and my biggest complaint was visibility. The backlight is a gun slit and the beltline is very high. The 300, while not ideal, is better than the Impala for visibility.

      If you mean the W-Impala, yes, it’s easy to see out, but that just makes it easier to look at every other car on the road and think to yourself “This car is worse than all of them.”

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Chevy had an Impala parked right next to the SS at the auto show a couple of years ago which made for a very unflattering comparison.

        Their $50,000 sports car is open and airy right out of the early 00s, because it is right out of early 00s. The dash is simple. The exterior is invisible from every angle except looking at the brake rotors. Lose the staggered summer tires and the Burgeringring suspension tune, drop the 3.27 axle for something like a 2.65 that can loaf on the highway and you’d have about the perfect family car.

        Meanwhile their $30,000 family car, who am I kidding, their $30,000 UAW retiree and Enterprise car, is overstyled to death inside and out, as tight in the shoulders as a Corolla, and proportioned such that you can barely see out of it.

        How do you get something this simple this wrong?

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          The only issue I have had with Epsilon Impala’s in the visibility thing but that is true with the Taurus and the 300 and the Charger too so its now a rather moot point and an ongoing trend not exclusive to the Chevy. The Epsilon Impala has a larger trunk and more legroom than the 300’s I have rented but the 300 does feel a tad wider which pans out in the ratings 75″ vs 73″ for the Chevy. The Impala actually has more interior volume than the 300 with 123.8″ vs 122.6 but it’s the slightly narrow body that makes it feel a little more snug which never bothered me in the least.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I think I’d get a Genesis G80 instead, but the 300 is quite a bit less expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      I thought about a Genesis long and hard, but really wanted a V8. So I ended up getting a Charger R/T R&T instead. At the NAIAS, the Genesis just did not feel right to me. Finding a 5.0 model was impossible. Also, the local Hyundai Happy Car Store was, uh, difficult to deal with.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Genesises are only recommended, never bought. Seriously, everyone says how great they are on paper, but in the wild they’re rare.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          This is true.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The comparative experience of the Hyundai dealer and actual luxury-brand dealers competing at the Genesis price point is a big part of the reason. The luxury-brand dealer may still take you for a ride, but at least they’ll be assiduously polite and respectful, and make you feel good about yourself, while they do it.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I’m envious of the simple innocence of someone who can be impressed by a Chrysler 300. Oh, to have Fords as one’s frame of reference. Everything else must seem amazing.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      I’m envious of the drugs you get to have on your ward. And the nice, big showers without flow restrictors!

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      This is nothing. You should have seen his reaction when he learned that a metal tube could fly him out to California like a bird.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      well, considering he actually drove one and is telling us about it…

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      For the record, I was also impressed, and that was in a 60 day period where I drove a Ferrari 488 Spider, a McLaren 675LT, a Lexus RC-F, a BMW M2, a C7 Vette, and, of course, my mighty V6 Accord Coupe.

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        I like it too, and I also spend time frequently is expensive cars. For long road trips though I like my BMW 335d more than any of them. The combination of massive torque, great suspension/brakes, and 31 mpg at triple digits has not been equaled by anything else that I know of. Unfortunately BMW does not send them to the states any more.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I’m thinking about pulling the trigger on a BMW M2 in the blue color reviewed (well reviewed) on TTAC the other day.

          My search for a used 2009-2011 Mercedes C63 with low miles is a difficult one b/c they are few and far between.

          I’m almost ready for the solidity, quiet, plushness and relaxation of the 300C, but not just yet; apparently I still need some more excitement, even in my daily driver.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        This almost caused my Porsche-design spectacles to fall off my face. It is an indisputable fact that a car must be designed in Zuffenhausen to have escape contempt. I’m frankly surprised you don’t know that my diesel Cayenne could smoke a 675LT, or even a P1, around a track, particularly if I’m wearing my Porsche-design driving shoes.

        Responding to such drivel takes away valuable time I could otherwise use to spec out my base Macan and yell at Mom to make me another PB&J.

        – Anon Autoblopnik commenter

  • avatar
    omer333

    I’m actually homesick reading this.

  • avatar
    Jaeger

    Yep. I’m sure people who make more money in a week than a doctor makes in a year would be real impressed by this Chrysler. No doubt.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      My personal experience with people who *actually* live on that side of the divide is that they could not possibly care any less what you’re driving. They’ve passed far beyond the point where cars are a status symbol, kind of like how for middle class Westerners, having drinking glasses or a sink isn’t a status symbol. Why would it be? They might *appreciate* cars, but they matter for being cars, not for what they say about the driver. At that level, the drivers speak for themselves.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        @PeriSoft

        +1

        Allow me to piggyback on your post. I’ve heard numerous voices who blame not getting a promotion on not driving the right kind of car.

        Now, there might be certain positions where a certain type of vehicle is preferred. They probably account for a third of one percent of all available positions (and yes, that stat is a WAG, but you get the general idea).

        You’re position at Dunder Mifflin is not one of these positions. Similar to what PeriSoft stated above. Those who sign the backs of checks care. Those who sign the front don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        yep. “Status symbols” are for people who *want* status. People who *have* status don’t need to impress anyone.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    There’s still a fairly sizable market for cars like this. I just wish the “Miata Is Always The Answer Brown Diesel Manual Station Wagon” crowd would realize it and STFU.

    10 times out of 10, if I’m renting a car it’s because I’ve just spent at least several hours on a plane. The last thing I want to drive is something with firm seats, tons of road noise, and a suspension to further jar my nerves.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I can see that viewpoint, especially because generally with rental cars, it’s not that you’ll get something that lets in road noise and drives harshly because it’s a performance car; you’ll get something that has those characteristics because it’s *cheap*. Like a base Elantra. And that’s just never a pleasant experience.

      I’m really not a fan of FCA at all, but of the LX cars, I’d rather have a Charger…which has most of the ride comfort of the 300, but better handling.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    I like the 300 very much, but it’s very common in my neck of the woods. Yes, I am that shallow.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I know it’s silly, but I have a problem with fulfilling the Black Man Driving a “Three-Hunnnedd” stereotype. That, and the fact that I would prefer Ford or GM to FCA.

      Meanwhile, both my white and black friends joke that the car I do own (Golf SportWagen TDI) is unlikely to attract attention from the police because it looks like something a white person would drive and has a dark tint.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        On the flip side, if the cops see through the tint and see a black guy driving a GSW, will they assume it must be stolen? (This question based on a very poor experience the RX300-driving mother of a black friend had some years ago in the wealthy, paranoid suburb of Medina, Washington.)

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Quite possibly. Presumably, one would steal a “flashier” car; the GSW would fall below a thief’s radar. I did have that concern when I had the BMW and was driving through East Texas, though.

      • 0 avatar
        Eyeflyistheeye

        I would say that the best retort to the stereotype is that there was once a black guy from Chicago who drove a 300. He became President.

        I hear you though on stereotypically white cars not attracting attention. I’m Asian/white/black (although I look Latino) who has gotten enough unwanted police attention even though I have a clean record. I drive a Focus hatchback with the sticker of a ridiculously white female singer on the back (whom I love) and my friends usually bag on it for looking like it belongs to a sorority girl.

      • 0 avatar
        Johnster

        A woman I know was so afraid that her son might be stopped for “driving-while-black” and of what might happen to him that, until he got out of college, she made him drive a Volvo 245 station wagon with a large child safety seat strapped in the back seat and “Baby-On-Board” sign in the rear window.

        There was no baby-on-board, no need for a child safety seat and no one in the family had children that young. But until he could buy himself a car of his own, that’s what he had to put up with.

        He didn’t date very much.

        After he graduated from college he bought himself a Toyota Camry. But he has his eye on a BMW 3-Series.

    • 0 avatar
      Shiv91

      Same in mine. 300s are as common as flies here, and are popular among both blacks and whites. Buffalo NY still likes the big American boats, although they’re increasingly being replaced by Silverados, F150 Platinums and Rams as the last of the Panthers and B-bodys rust out.

      It’s been said before, but the 300 is the Panther of the 21st century.

      I would definitely buy one eventually!

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    There’s something to be said for Big,Comfy American Cars.

    There’s a section of rural I-90 in western Minnesota which is so cracked up it looks like a factory’s prototype proving ground. You almost need mouth guards driving on it with any car of enthusiast intention. I have flashbacks sometimes of taking that route in my F-car. Picture thousands of chassis welds , suspension parts, and my vertebrae disks crying in shared agony for fifty miles.

    I went though that section in a pals V6 Lucerne , and whoa. I saw the cracks ,but it was like the car was floating over them.

    For all the sturm and drang about “performance”, I have to grudgingly admit theres more practical use for soft suspension tuning then there is for a track oriented one. I shudder to think of what rolling through there in an Evo would have been like. Or a stanced out 240SX with cut springs……….

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I know this stretch. Or maybe we’re thinking of two different ones.

      • 0 avatar
        AVT

        It’s all the same level of imperfection. I’ve driven this strech a lot in various automobils. Best ride was a trailblazer ext. Soft springs plus long wheelbase plus high profile tires made it decently bearable.

    • 0 avatar
      Shiv91

      That’s one of my favorite things about my Lacrosse. Hardly feel most potholes whereas in my ’01 Sonata it felt like the wheels were going to rip off. A floaty ride is a must for me.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Bark…I disagree.
    I like the car, but not for more than rental.
    When comparing it to the Taurus, this car wins easily 6 vs 6.
    But the SHO is available now for 36K. No way I would take any version of this car over the SHO for 36K.

    Even, IMO, with all the hate given here for the MKS/SHO age old Volvo build, it does give you a solid feel both on slightly aggressive driving and comfortable highway cruise. I guess I am referring to the MKS with ecoboost since that is the car I drive…and it has a better engine and suspension, from what I read. I presume the SHO is every bit as good a driver without the MKS leather and options.

    We are speaking of a price limit of around 36 to 40K.

    I have driven many of these Chrysler/Dodge cars and to me they all were to soft and floaty. They seem slightly better today than they did way back in the earlier ones, but they still make me feel like I am on a boat.

    I do like some small details of the interior, and I like the 6.But the V8 engine is old and drinks fuel like it is still in 1990.

    Reading that Chrysler will now carry on this model through 2020 is depressing ans shows this company is mailing it in over at the R&D building.

    They got nuthin. Hopefully the Pacifica will bring them enough success and cash to do some changes.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Oh my goodness, an actual bona fide car review! I haven’t seen one of these here in quite some time.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I finally got to ride in my buddy’s new 300, although only in the back seat, as we had a carload. His car – actually his wife’s car had the panoramic sunroof/skylight, and my hat did touch the ceiling, so I usually removed it in the car. Hatless, the headroom was fine, and it rode like a champ.

    Why would anyone expect a car like this to handle like a sports car? You don’t buy a car like a 300, Impala or any other large car do drive like that. You own it for easy, smooth cruising. Duh!

    I doubt I would ever buy another Chrysler product, though.

  • avatar
    Fie on Fiasler

    I rented a 2015 300 Limited earlier this month during a trip through the Inland Empire in SoCal. In fact, I specifically asked for the 300 (the “luxury” rental option at Fox Rent-A-Car) to see how it measured up against my daily ride, a Kia Cadenza. Mine was a reasonably well-equipped base car, with UConnect 8.4 and a panoramic sunroof, but no nav or ventilated seats.

    PROS:

    The 300 is simply a GREAT road car. Smooth ride, decent handling for the mission, and quicker to respond to steering and throttle inputs than its somewhat bloated size and, especially, weight would suggest.

    The Pentastar V6 is particularly well-matched to the 8AT, a transmission that might forever dispel lingering snickers over Ultradrive… or the horrid 9AT infesting various other Fiasler products. I never lacked for power, even when climbing Cajon Pass, and with the exception of lack of manual control (see below) I never noticed any errant shift behavior.

    “Maximum Steel” suits the car well, and the paint appeared to be very well applied with shockingly little orange peel. Even with rental-spec 17″ wheels, the 300 has unmistakable presence that extends far beyond “this is all I could get with a 620 beacon score.” Despite more than a decade with the same basic design language, the 300 is still a sharp piece.

    Lots of little touches impressed me, too. The steering wheel was “just right” in size and tactile impressions, and it was covered in good leather. I also liked that the panoramic sunroof retracts inside the car, rather than over the roof, yet there was still plenty of headroom (I’m 5′ 11″.)

    CONS:

    Assembly quality was lacking in typical Chrysler fashion, with ill-fitting dashboard trim (the defroster grid panel near the base of the windshield had come completely detached in front of the driver, causing a very noticeable gap that could not be unseen) and prominent squeaks and rattles broke the otherwise calm ride and tight handling impressions.

    Granted, this was a LA-area rental with 11,000 miles on the clock, but it was still extremely disappointing (and yes, I would unequivocally assert my Kia is much better in this regard. A frickin’ Kia.)

    Interior plastics also seemed very cheap; all hard surfaces are noticeably thin to the touch, while soft dash and door surfaces are covered in a material best described as “grimy,” even when clean. The speedo and tach seem too small and too busy, and the digital fuel and temp indicators are needlessly fussy, but that’s nitpicking.

    More troubling than tiny gauges were the truly miniscule side mirrors; larger glass is badly needed. And while the gear select knob for the 8-speed transmission worked well enough, the lack of any downshift control was very disconcerting when descending a steep mountain grade. (I tried one downshift into “L” at around 45 mph; the car promptly slammed into second gear.) Paddle shifters – only available in V6 cars in “S” trim – are badly needed across the board.

    In summary, the 300 fit me very well, and would have impressed me greatly were it not for the quality glitches. I can see why these remain relatively popular. Having also sampled rental-spec Darts and 200s, I believe it’s not hyperbole to state that the LX cars are unquestionably the best Fiasler automobiles you can buy right now. There’s room for improvement, of course… but mostly I fear to think what Fiat will do to screw them up in the years ahead.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Assembly quality was lacking in typical Chrysler fashion, with ill-fitting dashboard trim (the defroster grid panel near the base of the windshield had come completely detached in front of the driver, ”

      if it was a rental, consider the possibility that someone might have yanked it off. people (especially kids) fuss with stuff like that all of the time.

      • 0 avatar
        Fie on Fiasler

        True, although that’d be a very weird spot for someone to vent their frustrations (and a good reach from the driver’s seat.) Far more likely it popped out on its own.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          Far more likely it was put on by a Tier 1 auto supplier that also supplies whatever precious brand you prefer because of your perceived quality.

          IP’s usually come in one giant piece to the supplier sans the infotainment center stack unless the Tier one does the entire IP ‘solution.’

          JimZ is most likely correct. Unless you found the 6 Sigma unicorn outlier, unto which I must wish you my sincere congratulations on your achievement.

          • 0 avatar
            Fie on Fiasler

            You’re a tad overly-sensitive, tresmonos. Every brand has its quality foibles, but I would absolutely argue that Fiasler traditionally has more than most. It doesn’t matter if the “Tier 1” supplier screwed up, or the CAW/Unifor assemblers; it all points to the badge on the trunklid, and there’s a reason FCA consistently brings up the rear on QA lists.

            BTW, it would seem lots of other people agree with me through their own experiences with the brand.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Just trying to lay out the truth for all to see, Fie on Fiasler. If we were to believe everything you typed out, we wouldn’t get too close to seeing the truth of any matter, would we?

            If I am to use your username as a guide of sorts, your bias is obvious.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            FCA QC has to be letting lots of minor issues slide past, on fleets, if they’re doing their jobs right. Fleet buyers/owners aren’t going to file a complaint nearly as much as retail consumers, on cosmetic issues, if at all.

          • 0 avatar
            Fie on Fiasler

            “If I am to use your username as a guide of sorts, your bias is obvious.”

            Your bias is equally obvious in singling out one particular comment from a generally favorable review of a vehicle that, admittedly, I wasn’t expecting to like as much as I did.

          • 0 avatar
            Zoom

            Far more likely it’s a quality issue, just like the squeaks and rattles on an 11,000 mile car.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Fie,
            I was merely validating JimZ’s hypothesis and educating anyone who comes across the comment. I tend to get compliments for my educational posts. On the other hand, lies you and your opinionated tripe. I’m sorry if you couldn’t read and decipher my motives. I’m also sorry I had to read your opinion over and over again.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Tres, unlike myself, who gives substantive, deep, critical analysis as to why I do or don’t like a vehicle/manufacturer/etc., Fie is clearly trolling if he doesn’t realize that there MAY be a half dozen Tier 1 trim piece manufacturers who supply 70% to 85% of the market.

            In seating, turbochargers and autoglass, that concentration of Tier 1 suppliers is even more narrow (BorgWarner, Honeywell, Bosch & Eaton essentially share the entire turbocharger space).

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          you’re thinking about this as if everyone else is the same as you. stop that.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Your review mirrors mine in many ways but I would also add a surprisingly small trunk to that list, flat hard seats that grow a bit uncomfortable over hours of driving and the rather poor base sound system.

      Legroom in front and back is good but surprisingly an Epsilon Impala I rented prior was better along with a 2015 Sonata and a couple of other mid size entries.

      For a full size car the 300’s 16 cu.ft. trunk is lacking and legroom is more mid size than full.

      The one area this car is a little better than those car’s is it’s slightly greater width. The Mercedes derived suspension is also another of this car’s strong points but sadly would be a negative for me in RWD form living in Upstate, NY Winters meaning that AWD would be a must but that adds even larger 19″ tires that perform very poorly in the snow and foul slippery roads, greater weight and reduced mileage.

      Oh and the headlights do suck on low beam in these cars and I have heard other owners talk about this.

  • avatar
    northshoreman1

    I’ve been thinking of pulling the trigger on a 300C, and as a part of the research, I’ve read somewhere that the “base” 18″ wheels on the C come with a “comfort-tuned” suspension. If you get AWD or the 20″ wheel option (either one), you get a “touring” suspension. The S-trim gives a 3rd suspension option, firmer than “touring”. Having driven base and Touring, the touring is a nice blend for me.
    Gotta give the Chrysler stylists credit–this car, in dark colors, has definite presence, and still gets looks. And the interior is damn nice for the price.

  • avatar
    ajla

    This is an LX car at year 5:

    Youtu.be/L8hX2Ex58os

    Buy a V6 Lincoln.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      exactly.
      Even though I do like this V6 more, especially with the 8 speed. Or maybe it is the 8 speed that is making the 6 better.

      and for the lower price, a SHO at 36K is way better than the V8

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I love this car. I’d probably buy it over a 7 series or S class. Just seems like everything a luxury car should be at a nice price. Shame that people can’t appreciate it’s qualities anymore.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “Always saw you for what you could’ve been
    Ever since you met me
    Like when Chrysler made that one car that looked just like the Bentley”

    Sorry, can’t help it. Every time I see one of these, even though they don’t quite look that way any more.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    But you were playing “Time for Me to Fly” through the speakers.

    I saw that in concert back in 198x, with some regret.

  • avatar
    LD

    In 2013 bought a very lightly used 2013 300 touring with the base 17″ tire package. I would have to say:

    1. The comments on the suspension are spot on. Very comfort tuned and the car leans over alarmingingly on corners. But I appreciate the comfort tuned suspension.

    2. The headlight focus is bad. I had to adjust the headlights much much lower in the low beam. Because with the factory spec, the low beam was high and the high beam illuminated tree tops!!.

    3. The combination of the 3.6 pentastar and the 8 speed auto is fantastic with great fuel economy and no lack of power.

    4. The interior plastics are cheap and hard and the overall fit and finish on the inside is cheap. A Honda Accord is miles ahead of this.

    5. The back seat could definitely use more legroom, maybe another 2-3 inches. But that lack of legroom is a function of the dated platform. With a wheelbase of 120″, the 300 has a longer wheelbase than the Genesis but the Genesis has more legroom because it is a newer rwd platform with more efficient packaging. Of course a FWD platform with a smaller wheelbase such as the Impala blows the Chrysler out for rear legroom.

    • 0 avatar
      lampoil2

      LD checking facts, the current 2016 300 has way more rear seat legroom then a Genesis (5.1 inches) and slightly more then a Impala (.3 inches) so not sure how it blows the 300 out of the water. 300 also has more rear seat headroom and hiproom then the Impala.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Official interior dimensions are notoriously fuzzy and not compatible between automakers. In terms of the real-world experience, I would very much agree that the Impala is more spacious in back than the 300. I (still) haven’t sat in a second-gen Genesis so I can’t comment on its back seat.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          There are SAE standardized methods of measuring rear seat dimensions and most if not all automakers publish them. I’m not saying no one fudges the numbers ever, but there is standardization.

      • 0 avatar
        LD

        As dal20402 said, the real life rear legroom in the back of the Impala/Lucerne/XTS platform is clearly more than the 300. That is really because of the inherently superior packaging characteristics of a fwd platform that comes at the cost of driving dynamics compared to rwd. As a matter of fact, the other day I had gone to my local GM dealer and checked out the new Cadillac CT6 and also looked at a used XTS back to back. What was striking was that the XTS with a 111.7″ wheelbase had slightly better rear legroom than the 122″ wheelbase new CT6.

        • 0 avatar
          lampoil2

          Outside of the center hub for the RWD going down the middle what inherent benefits of FWD are there for rear seat legroom? 300 has a larger wheelbase which typically gives a larger interior but a smaller trunk which it has (compared to Impala for example). In almost every measure 300 has a larger interior, hard to believe they are over 5 inches off compared to a Genesis as well.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “Outside of the center hub for the RWD going down the middle what inherent benefits of FWD are there for rear seat legroom?”

            The engine is almost always placed farther back in RWD products for both weight distribution and styling reasons. And a longitudinal engine is longer front-to-back than a transverse one, amplifying the effect. Moving the engine back pushes the firewall, dash, and front seats back, eating into rear legroom for a car of the same overall length.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        The Impala and Sonata and other mid size FWD cars have more front seat legroom which means you can put the front seats up more thus increasing rear seat legroom so just going by measurements on back seat space in meaningless in this case.

  • avatar
    redapple

    I talked about my Challenger rental 3 hours before this 300 review was posted. The 300 and the Challenger are GREAT cars. $ for $ the best value out there.

    Deadweight talked about 300 s being better than the comparable Caddy. I agree.

    Impala? Nice car. But. FRONT drive driving dynamics. And HORRIBLE visibility. That precludes consideration.

    Agree with BTRS. I prefer naturally aspirated engines. Turbos always seem to average – similar MPG to the engine they supplant (IE V6 or V8s). So whats the point? Oh, I know. Engine self destruction years down the road.

  • avatar

    After reading this article. I totally agree with the statement, “the best rental car in the world”. Chrysler makes great cars. I have driven countless Chrysler’s. The Town & Country, the 200, the 300, and more. What I feel about chrysler is as follows, it comes from personal experience and experiemce in the leasing industry as well. Chrysler’s cars comes loaded with many great features,all for a great cheap price. They are great to rent and to lease. But that’s it. Chrysler is a car that, from my personal opinion, doesn’t last too long.

  • avatar
    stodge

    I have to admit I like the 300 and seriously thought about buying one. I still do whenever I read an article on them. Regarding the suspension and seats… Someone already mentioned the various suspensions on the C, AWD and S models. I’ve driven the S and I think a base model from around the 2012 time. I wonder if the suspension issues mentioned in the article would be solved by the S or AWD suspension. Also, the seats in the S are more supportive, although nowhere near as fitting as say the SRT ones? Still it’s a great car and it’s impressive that is still garners support, despite being an old model. I could totally see a top-specced AWD in my driveway although it’s a larger car than we want at the moment.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I too rent this car whenever possible in the Emerald Isle. For a rental, you get a great interior, great power, & great MPG. I most often use for the trip from St. Louis to Des Moines and back which is 180 miles one way.

    As for the comments on fit and finish. I think it is very disingenuous to rate the fit and finish on a rental car and compare it to your personal car. It is literally amazing what people will do to a rental car for no other reason than they don’t own it and can. But, I will concede that the F&F is not to the same level as some other brands.

    Back to the 300. I did a quick CL sear for 13-15 300 for sale. Low to high end was $15.8 – $25,997. These ex-rentals are a superb value 2nd hand compared to a 2nd hand Lexus/BMW/Mercedes/Infinite you get 85% of the car for 40% of the cost. Sans Lexus, I don’t think the 300 will give you anymore or less repair trouble than the other luxury makes.

  • avatar
    319583076

    I rented a 300 for a 200 mile trip a couple of years ago. It was a comfortable cruiser and I was impressed. But if it’s my $35-40k, I’d find a low-mile CPO E-Class with the equipment I want. I don’t see the value in buying a new 300.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      There really is not a compelling reason to buy a 300 new.

      But, a used one with 25k miles can be had for 22k all day long. That is a good value.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Thats what i have been saying all along. The charger and 300 v6 models are about 2-3000 overpriced from being smash hits.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Real new world prices on 300s are very low, for a LOT of vehicle, in metro Detroit.

      We’re talking $27,000 real world pricing, plus TTL for a base V6 w/excellent ZF-Clone 8-speed (the best automatic in any mainstream daily driver today, IMO) all day long, which already has leather and fairly well equipped.

      We’re talking $31,000 real world pricing, plus TTL to step into a Limited.

      We’re talking MAYBE $34,000 real world pricing, for a Hemi 300C, pretty much loaded with a $44,000 MSRP.

      These cars are sleepers.

      They’re more structurally rigid than most newer platform competitors; they ride plush in a way that the best luxury vehicles do – over any road surface; they have interior decibel readings at 85 mph that are the equal of any German prestige saloon costing 2x to 3x as much; the 2014+ interior was vastly improved in all touch point areas (and many non-touch point ones, as well); they achieve remarkable fuel efficiency, at least with the Pentastar- 8 speed combo; they are solid vehicles, with solid suspension parts and frame rails (ask Jack about the railroad transverse high-speed test that tells the driver what kind of stuff a vehicle is really engineered and made of).

      Ajla has had a bad experience with his Charger, which soured him on FCA quality, and would me, also, as I generally give manufacturers one bite at the quality apple, but I know many people with 300s and the other Dodge and Chrysler products off of this chassis and with this powertrain combo, and these are fairly reliable, durable cars for the most part.

      This is the newer, better, more composed Panther-TownCar, or DTS, or 1/2 price LS430, that is immensely solid, super plush riding, surprisingly fuel efficient, with superb motor and automatic transmissions that are increasingly difficult to find, and that makes the Accord, Camry, Altima, Sonata, and Malibu feel like compact cars in terms of refinement and solidity, that is probably going to be long-term average or slightly above in terms of reliability (as good as anything else but Lexus or Acura, even though Acura can’t compete in terms of comfort), that can be gotten into new for well under 30K, and in many cases, you can ask for and get a 100,000 mile/10 year extended powertrain for no extra charge.

      The CAW crowd at Brampton is a diligent one and does good work in assembling these, and as someone else mentioned, the paint on these is excellent, also.

      And these are the reasons why this is and has been a DeadWeight #1 Sleeper Pick in the Affordable Luxury Sedan segment.

      In many ways, this car is a more softly sprung Mercedes Benz E350 rival than anything else, and despite claims to the contrary, it’s heavily related to the E-Class architecture, which is one of the reason it resists bending,flexing and twisting as well as it does on even the worst rust belt roads.

      That one can get into a well-equipped base model for less the $28,000 or lease it for $188/month with $0 down (I know someone doing this now) makes this the sedan bargain of the decade. It shames any Cadillac in terms of luxury.

      The last thing I’ll write is that the 2014+ model years are the one to get, because the 8-speed auto and improvements to the interior improve this already very good vehicle immensely.

      • 0 avatar
        Acd

        One of the best values in the new car market today and a heck of a nice car to live with day in and day out. If GM or Ford built these instead of FCA they could slap a Cadillac or a Lincoln badge on them and charge thousands more and probably sell more too.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Like stodge and northshoreman I’m very close to signing on the dotted line for a 300C Platinum. I just don’t find any similar car has the presence and solid feel.

    But I can’t decide between the V6 and the V8. My head tells me that when gas prices climb again fuelling the V8 will make me grate my teeth every time. Yet my heart says a V8 powered RWD full size sedan will not come this was again.

    There will only a couple negatives for me: I find the black interior very oppressive and the indigo/linen combo is hard to find in stock; it irks me that such a large car has so much less rear legroom than my 2011 Jetta TDI!

  • avatar
    dal20402

    My rental experiences are very consistent with Bark’s. The car really is wonderful when you’re driving around a place like Houston, where all you have is freeways and wide, arrow-straight roads. (And I seek them out when visiting my Houston in-laws.) It doesn’t love to turn with the base suspension. But the seats are excellent, the leather feels nice, the car is very quiet, and the drive is competent for the most part.

    I’m skeptical of durability. The V6/8 speed powertrain has a pretty good record, but with FCA it’s always the other stuff you worry about. Interior build quality is not particularly encouraging (I really don’t care whether that’s because of FCA itself or poor management of suppliers). I’ve had a couple of Chrysler rental vehicles with chronic uConnect system issues (although not a 300). I wouldn’t buy one with the idea of decade-plus ownership. If I lived in a place without twisty roads, I’d consider one if the idea were to own it for a shorter period of time.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I never have cared for any LX car until the 2011 300 was released. I was very impressed. Even though I am happy with my 2013 200 Limited, I really don’t know why I didn’t buy the 300. The 200 is a really good little car, a great commuter.

    The original LX 300 didn’t play the part very well. I thought it was ugly, and the interior wasn’t anything to write home about. Add to the fact that gangster wannabes bought all of them up and ruined them. You’d be hard pressed to find a first-generation 300 without ridiculously thin tires, chrome appliques everywhere and awful looking grilles.

    The new 300? It’s American luxury at it’s finest. It gives Cadillac and Lincoln a run for the money, and it just looks and feels substantial. Even the new E-Class Mercedes looks inferior with the Kia/Hyundai design theme Mercedes is chasing after (for some very odd reason).

    If I ever do decide to get one, I want the front fascia off of a 2011-14. The 2015 refresh ruined the front fascia.

  • avatar
    DougD

    Yup, totally agree. Not a car I’d buy but very nice for a couple of days.
    On a recent business trip we needed an additional excursion so rented on the spot from the airport. All they had were upgraded vehicles so the lady said “You can get a Range Rover, a BMW or a Mercedes”
    No, none of those words can appear on my expense report later.
    “How about a Chrysler 300?”
    Yes, that word can appear on my expense report.

    I think the high beam flashing was not an adjustment thing, I just think a lot of cars now have too-bright headlights. I rented a Hyundai Tucson for a week recently and was constantly getting flashed while on low beam, including by a Jeep with one of those LED billboard light arrays. Just about burned my eyes out of my head…

  • avatar
    EAF

    Those of you with Pentastar powered vehicles, would you mind speaking on the reliability? Any mechanical failures? Has Chrysler fixed the left head valve seat issues? I’ve worked on very few Pentastars and don’t know many who own one, would just like to hear some first-hand experiences. Thanks!

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      The left head issues are apparently a little random. But not catastrophic or inevitable as much as, say the Northstar’s issues.

      There’s also a tricky solenoid in the dual-rate oil pump that tends to give trouble, requiring an oil pump replacement.

      Some people report weepy thermostat housings right before the thermostat goes.

      Other than that, make sure you use the right oil filter and coolants. There were midyear changes on these.

      If I were buying new, I’d get a MaxCare warranty and forget about it. If I were buying used, I’d get one from a used dealership that gives away lifetime powertrain warranties.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I know the Zone Supervisor for warranty work and dealer compliance in the 3 largest counties in Michigan, I know the head tech at Schuman, and I know 2nd in command tech at service department at Parkway.

      From what they tell me, and the techs do/oversee fleet service on police vehicles for many police departments, the powertrain is holding up fine. Mind you, these are police-package vehicles with extra oil and transmission cooler lines, as well as upgraded, heavier duty suspensions.

      The one thing I’d be anal about – as I would with ANY automatic equipped vehicle – is to really stay on top of transmission preventive maintenance, which would entail a flush and drain with a very high quality trans fluid no later than the 60,000 mile mark (I’d do it at 45k, but that’s just me, given the frequency of issues and costs of repair on slushbox vehicles over the years, from grenading Acuras to many others).

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The valve guide concerns were resolved several years ago. The vehicles that were affected received a 10 year 150,000 mile extended warranty on the left head just in case.

      Overall, a solid engine.

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    Well, alright!

    It’s good to know… if I needed a semi-premium RWD American sedan that is half ghetto legend and the other half wannabe old-money that looks underwhelming… then **POOF**, there it is. I cannot express to you all just how *good* I will sleep tonight knowing this.

    It was a fad car when it came out. Now it’s just the leftovers of the “fad” that it used to be, sans the butterfly doors and “Superman” grill.

    But if I owned one of these, at least me and the kid down the street who shops at Lids would have something in common.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      I know right? And the 50k they sell per year must be to pure idiots. I wonder why the owners all love them, I bet they just haven’t been enlightened yet.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        …and nothing communicates your station in life like driving a ten year old Accord.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Are you hanging your hat on the idea that people buy FCA to communicate their station in life?

          • 0 avatar
            06V66speed

            Lol

            Whoooooa…. easy there, “B & B”.

            Yes, sorry to say… but I’ve noticed here in St. Louis that most folks who drive 300’s here also have a large abundance of tattoos and those large-diameter goofy wheels attached. If that makes you sad and puts your panties up in a bunch, sorry ’bout ya.

            Knock my “10 year old Accord” and my “station in life” (that’s cute). But my ten year old Accord starts every time, so why get rid of it? (I’ve got two other cars, I just like my little old Honda the best :)

            Just sayin’. They’re still kind of “ghetto”, just like always. Lol

            And btw, if any of the dribble that FCA is pumping out of their plants here in the past several years can come anywhere close to how good of a car that my “ten year old Accord” of mine has been and continues to be, I will gladly eat a slice of humble pie. Because frankly, the Chrysler products’ I’ve had (with the exception of my old XJ Cherokee) have been everything from underwhelming to flat out crap.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            It’s hard to beat an Accord (especially manual gearbox) for reliability, short, medium or long-term.

            However, the 300 is not an unreliable vehicle by any standard, and has solidity in underpinnings and its chassis that no Honda product can touch (and I’m a Honda fan, with some exceptions, and not a FCA fan, with some exceptions).

  • avatar
    Jason Lombard

    Spent a week driving one of these all over Central and Southern California this past February. It was a welcome upgrade from the stripper Fusion that I was supposed to get (and they were out of). We averaged 28 mpg over three tanks (fully loaded with four people and luggage), and arrived at each destination feeling refreshed. I was fairly impressed, especially given the fact that it had 16,000 miles on the odometer, likely worth 3x those miles on a personal car. It had no squeaks, no rattles, and as much as it pains me to say it, the Pentastar had plenty of power for moving it down the road in haste. I’d still like to try the 5.7 though…

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    In a traffic choked. super congested city as you find in many 3rd world $hitholes, this is NOT the best car you can rent. Possibly a Mirage or something like it.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    “In a world where every car must be subjected to some ridiculous shootout-style comparison test with drivers wearing HANS devices and three-point belts, it’s no wonder that OEMs saddle their mid- and large-sized sedans with suspension geometry more suited for the track than the street.”

    I tend to think it’s mostly to get a pat on the head from car magazine writers. They usually can’t wait to say a car has too soft a ride for their tastes. It’s sort of the badge of honor to show they’re a REAL car enthusiast because they want a car that has a stiff ride.

    So the OEMs think that feedback is what their customers actually want (they don’t) and the ride keeps getting stiffer and stiffer with lower profile rims so they’ll get better reviews in comparison tests, etc.

    Most actual buyers would rather have a serene ride in a large sedan or SUV as opposed to one that can go through the slalom 2 mph faster.

    • 0 avatar
      Corollaman

      1+

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      I’m in agreement with you, Jacob. Seems too many of the auto testers who write up their reviews are completely out of touch with those of us ordinary, average guys who buy and drive our cars as everyday transportation. But not this one.

      “My friend’s got a Chrysler, I’ve got a Dodge…we’re just ordinary average guys.” Joe Walsh

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    Since I car shop online when I have nothing better to do, I’ve been looking at slightly-used 2nd-gen 300s and they are a pretty good value for the money. The “ghetto” reputation doesn’t bother me in the slightest since it actually has an advantage seeing how I now work in the (extended) neighborhood I grew up in near the LA Forum, and it is luxury without looking like an arrogant prick or an aggressive SoCal social climber.

    However, if I did pull the trigger on one, I’m rebadging it to a Lancia Thema.

    • 0 avatar
      Whatnext

      Speaking of LA, my favourite 300 moment is from a stay at the Omni LA. They used their shuttle car, a black 2nd gen 300, to drop me at Union Station. As we pulled up and got out, a homeless woman on the curb goes “Ooh look at how the rich people live, all fancy”! ;)

  • avatar
    Spartan

    When I was awaiting the arrival of my cars in Hawaii, I had an XTS and a 300C for myself and the wife.

    The XTS was better in every way. The steering was better, the ride was better, the interior was better and the packaging was better.

    The 300 is a great car. However, if I had the choice between it and an Impala / XTS, I’ll happily take the GM cars every time.

    The engine in the 300 was very, very good though. Love that Pentastar V6.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The 300 rides better, is quieter at legal and well over extra-legal speeds, has better torsional rigidity, the 3.6 Pentastar is superior in every way to the GM 3.6 liter (yes, every way), and the GM 6 speed auto transmission is dimwitted compared to the ZF-clone 8 speed transmission.

      That the 300 can be had with AWD and a snorting, barking on command V8 is icing on the cake.

      (The leather quality and stitching/fit-finish is better in the 300, too, by a fairly wide margin.)

      That a new 300 with a better warranty is going to be $18,000 to $28,000 less expensive than the XTS-LaCrosse is icing on the icing.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Last July my wife and I spent a week in NAPA valley. I rented a W body 2014 Impala LTZ and we loved it. I almost choose a 300 but the Impala was fully loaded with leather interior and moon roof. SF airport most of the people rushed to get the Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, and Nissan but I choose the Impala LTZ which was the right choice. I doubt I would have liked it as much if it had been in its regular fleet trim but in the LTZ trim it was a beautiful car. For the same price as a fleet spec Camry or Altima the Impala was a much nicer car. I would actually consider buying an Impala in the LTZ trim.

  • avatar
    baggins

    I love the concept of the large, comfortable American sedan.

    The 300 misses the mark for me in 3 ways

    1) its pretty hard to see out of. I find that uncomfortable
    2) Headroom is not that great. I am 6’4 so not all have this issue
    3) Image is not exactly what I want. People say it doenst matter, but of course it does. As an executive and a mid 40s white male, if I drove a 87 civic, people would think I am eccentric and cheap. If I drove a 2010 civic, people would just think I am cheap. If I drive my wife’s minivan, they think I had kid drop off. If I drove one of these, not sure. A little too urban.

  • avatar
    Nurburgringer

    I likewise loved the 300 I rented in ~2012, can imagine the latest one is better at just about everything.
    But I’ve pretty much sworn off of sedans. Just don’t care enough about style to chose one over a wagon, hatchback, or minivan. Too bad they’d only sell about 10 300C wagons, if they made them.

    After I can no longer justify the repair bills on my ’01 740i (i.e. when the timing chain guides break) will likely get a plug-in Pacifica or something else. Lent Tesla $1000 for a model 3, and who knows may actually go through with it if it blows my mind..

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “The only minor annoyance I had with the car was that oncoming drivers kept assuming that I had my brights on. I was flashed at least a dozen times each night, and not in the good way. I suspect that my rental, despite having only a thousand miles on the clock, may have needed some minor headlight adjustment.”

    I’ve had 2 300s of this generation, a C and an S and frequently experienced the exact same thing. There’s no adjustment issue, it’s that the HIDs are used for both low beam and high beam and are incredibly bright. The only difference between the 2 modes being a shutter that raises to project further.

    The upside is that when you drive hundreds of miles in the unlit woods North of God’s country, the view of the road is fantastic and even keeps wildlife at bay. Probably the best headlights I’ve experienced in a recent car.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Maybe it was just the one I rented…but the 300 had the absolute worst steering of any modern car I have ever driven. ULTRA-light, poor centering, slow to respond and then it over-responded, requiring a correction the other direction, which in turn caused a wobble in that marshmallow suspension. It took huge effort not to weave down the 101. And this was in a nice, very low mile example. A stripper Fusion would have been far more relaxing to drive. Granted, Ford probably does steering better than anyone but BMW these days.

    With its classic styling, quiet interior, gutsy engine, undersized windows and unbelievably bad steering, the 300 reminded me a lot of Mom’s 1968 Lincoln Continental. The Lincoln had a much higher quality interior (real wood, real metal, padded leather and woolly carpet)…but its 460 4bbl/3spd auto combo got 10 mpg, so…advantage Pentastar.

  • avatar
    here4aSammich

    Those “no smoking” stickers on the dash just scream class. I woulda peeled those off before I even left the lot.

  • avatar
    DirtRoads

    I have never driven the 300. I rented a 200 for a week this winter and the worst part of that car was the weird dial transmission.

    If they are going to take away a console shifter, they should put it on the dash like my old ’64 Dodge Coronet 440 had, dammit.


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