By on December 11, 2014

300ccover

Hey! You! Over there in the corner! I see you looking at that leather-interior Accord or Camry or Altima or Fusion or whatever. How’d you like to buy a lot more car for just a little more money?

COTASamsung 002

The four-cylinder Honda Accord EX-L is $28,420. It’s a hell of a car and it has a remarkably complete set of virtues. A Camry XLE with a moonrood is $30,060. That, too, is a solid automobile. I could go on, but you see the point, right? A four-cylinder family car with most of the options will run you between twenty-eight and thirty-two grand, depending on what badge you want on the nose and what you need in the way of particular equipment. You can also plump for a six-cylinder or turbocharged four-cylinder engine in nearly all the segment contenders, but most people don’t bother to do so. The modern big-stroke four-bangers (hee hee) offer enough power for daily use and they make up a majority of purchases that is both considerable and continuing to grow.

For $33,645, you can have the Chrysler 300 pictured above, complete with panoramic two-row sunroof. That’s before the deals and the discounting and the rebates for this and that. We all know that you’ll get a better price at a Chrysler dealer than you will at a Honda shop, although the days when our very own Steve Lynch reigned sort-of-supreme over Honda dealer allocation and ADP stickers were SuperGlued to the window of every Accord hatchback are long gone. I paid under invoice for my Accord V6 and I think you probably should as well. But Honda will never do the kind of rebates and incentives that are just part of business as usual under the Pentastar.

I had the good fortune to rent this nearly-new, extremely low-mileage 300 for a recent trip to Oklahoma. Back and forth I went from Tulsa to Oklahoma City, driving a mix of 75mph toll roads and unimproved dirt tracks. I’m very well acqainted with the five-speed old-school Pentastar Charger, but this was my first chance to sample the eight-speed automatic and the V6 together, not to mention the wide range of interior and exterior upgrades that differentiate the Charger and 300 in this soon-to-be-replaced generation. (Derek’s driving the new one even as we speak.)

COTASamsung 006

As much as I loved the Pentastar Charger, I have to admit that I have always found the tiny uConnect screen and the acres of vaguely/variously dark plastic to be a real letdown. For that reason alone, I’d take a 300 with my own money over the Dodge. Every surface you see and touch is improved, from the decent leather in the seats to the cheerful luminescent gauges. While the shifter takes some getting used to — am I in Park? If so, why? How do I get out? Why can’t I get back in? — it’s a much more upscale-feeling affair than the old five-speed gate, which felt and looked like something that didn’t quite make the cut for the pre-facelift Avenger.

There’s also a real improvement in acceleration and responsiveness with the extra three cogs between engine and rear wheels. This now feels like a quick car and I have no doubt that it will dust all the four-cylinder family sedans out there. How it would fare against a Camry V6 is a different matter; this is, after all, a larger and heavier automobile than any of the FWD competition. Still, it’s no trouble to run up to eighty or so out of a toll booth in a hurry, something you’ll do fairly often in the Southwest.

Once at speed, two things about the 300 immediately stand out vis-a-vis both the Charger and the competition:

* The lack of road noise, which is wonderful.
* The stereo system, which is very good for the class.

There’s a “Beats” audio upgrade available for this car but surely only the most boom-bastic of pimp-juices will require it. Really, this has to be the best standard-equipment offering in the class. For all the hype about the ELS system in the Acura TLX, most of that hype being well-deserved, this is just as good, and it has the advantage of operating in a quiet, more soothing automobile. The rest of the uConnect system is just as good as it’s always been, by the way.

Dynamically, the 300 is absolutely perfect for American freeways. Although it’s probably the spiritual successor of the M-body Gran Fury and Diplomat, it rolls down the road with a stateliness more reminiscent of the last truly full-sized New Yorkers. Yet there’s still a suggestion of the Daimler contributions beneath; when I had to dodge a blown retread on fairly short notice, the change of direction was prompt and easily handled without flashing the ESC or plowing the nose. Control efforts are light, reassuring, and well-matched.

While this 300 continues to share many components with the egg-crate-grille 2005 model, there’s simply nothing to indicate that to the driver except the annoyingly small windows. It’s faster, quieter, better-behaved, more comfortable, better-built, and far better in all the little details. Now, as then, it continues to have no direct competition. Everybody else is offering a front-wheel-drive platform or a much smaller footprint for the same money. In fact, they usually offer both. Probably the competitor offering the nearest match in terms of general virtues is Lexus with the ES350, but I find that the Camry/Avalon origins of that vehicle are too indifferently disguised in the current model.

In a perfect world, everybody who was going to buy a cheap Bimmer or Audi would try this Chrysler out. They’d see that it offers the same rock-solid feel, comparable interior materials, and acceptable performance, all in a platform that more closely resembles the next size up of the sausage by dint of being a distant cousin to an old E-Class. No, the 300 isn’t perfect. It has cliff-face interior panels and about as much window area as a 688-class submarine. It weighs more than it should and offers less rear-seat room than you expect. The “five-meter car” justification for having the short trunk on the Chrysler compared to the Dodge should have been jettisoned when the 300’s pretensions to Euro-market relevance hit the recycle bin seven years ago. Surely the next platform for this car will offer the same quiet ride and bump resistance through the miracle of a modern unibody, not a Lena Dunham level of interior panel padding.

When all is said and done, however, the 300’s biggest enemy is the HEMI-engined 300. The omnipresence in the media of that automobile, particularly in dearly-departed SRT-8 form, made the Pentastar look like a weak sister or a bargain-basement choice instead of the perfectly decent automobile it truly is. Yeah, the V-8 is well worth the additional money, but that doesn’t mean that the six is a bad deal. If you’re planning on buying a $45,000 mid-luxury car, there are more modern, more dynamically capable, and more feature-laden choices available than the loaded 300C. At thirty-three grand, however, wouldn’t you really rather have a… Chrysler?

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139 Comments on “Review: 2014 Chrysler 300 V6...”


  • avatar
    theupperonepercent

    The new 300c with V6 and 8*speed makes the 5.7-L V8 unecessary.

    It is far less-sluggish than the old 2.7-Liter, but mid-range, it lacks passing power against other V6’s on the road.

    It’s still a great daily driver- especially with th optional AWD.

    Shame on Chrysler for not building an AWD car with the 8*speed and the 5.7-L or 6.4-L.

    It would have been perfect for a redesigned Dodge Magnum.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Ooh, Nice! In about 18mos. I can get a slightly used creampuff 300 for about $17,900, the V8 for about $23,900. I’m a patient man, I think I’ll wait

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Depreciation is definitely your friend…if you buy used.
      Does the powertrain warranty transfer? I’d be a bit nervous if not.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Yes, the 5/100 powertrain warranty follows the vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        indi500fan, Don’t be nervous. Every year, Chrysler sends the current registered owner a card to offer them an extended warranty for after the factory warranty has expires.

        I bought one halfway into year three of owning our 2012 Grand Cherokee. This was driven by the realization that we’d pass that Grand Cherokee down to our grand daughter at some point because her 2011 Elantra had beaucoup miles on it already.

        It wasn’t cheap. For what I chose, it was $780 for a two-year extension of the factory warranty, and the extension was issued by Fiatsler, not some third-rate romance kinda outfit, like the ones who declared bankruptcy in the past and left the buyers of those warranties dangling in the breeze.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Yeah the depreciation on these is monstrous…I’m tempted by the new 300C Platinum in AWD with the pimped out interior but looking at how much of a hit you take on the value with year old John Varvatos 300’s definitely gives you pause. Chrysler’s legendary reliability ratings don’t really help it’s case either.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatic

        I don’t think the depreciation is too bad. Any of the 300’s from 2012 with V6 Limited (I want heated seats and the ZF transmission) near me are over $20,000 (unless they are former rentals). Yes not Toyota levels of depreciation but losing less than 1/3 (assuming they sold for $30,000)is not bad for three year old cars with around 30,000 miles.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    ” While the shifter takes some getting used to — am I in Park? If so, why? How do I get out? Why can’t I get back in? ”

    X2 on the shifter. Thankfully for ’15, it’s gone in favor of a properly gated unit.

    You didn’t mention what you logged for fuel economy, but I’ve found the Pentastar/8 speed combo to be outstanding. On an awesomely scenic and twisty roaded road trip from Calgary, AB to Kelowna, BC I averaged 35mpg in one of these. An honest to God 350 miles on half a tank of fuel. It’s not like I was driving Miss Daisy either, there were stints where I was keeping up with the 100mph Ram pickup drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      I hestitated to ask, but I was wondering the MPG of this beastie. 35 is quite remarkable considering it’s heft and size. If I were suddenly to gain addtional income and my present car was at a point where I just didn’t feel like throwing more money into it, I would seriously consider a look at the 300 six-pot. I like the accoutrements and dare I say it? formerly Lincolnesque feel of the interior and the ride, perfect for long, North American highways.

      Considering Lie2me’s very valid point, I may forgo this opportunity to get a $33K car rebated to me to maybe $29K with some really crazy trade-in value for my car and possibly some added goodies just being a swell guy for buying a Chrysler. Or maybe I’ll look at that off-lease Jag.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      I’d also be interested in Jack’s real mpg. The photo shows 26mpg, which IIRC is less than the 5 speed base pentastar charger reviewed a while back.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Nick 2012, I drive I-44 in Oklahoma fairly frequently and traffic flows at about 85 mph in the left lane. Aerodynamic drag makes a large difference in highway fuel economy at that speed. Noticeably worse when you’re driving into the wind.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      I’m pretty sure the 2015 300 gets a 200-style dial shifter, not a gated one.

  • avatar

    Rarely you see a redesigned car turn out better than the original. This one is no exception. The original 300C was a strong Detroit-flavored automotive statement. After it had to please Lancia buyers as well, the design became watered down to an uninteresting mix of styles.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I agree, with every facelift and tweak it becomes less interesting

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I feel the opposite. The 2nd generation cars did away with some of the brash, blockish styling to give them a much more stately look. Taste is subjective I suppose.

    • 0 avatar
      theupperonepercent

      The original 300 and Charger could have been named anything and they’d still sell. Very big cars for big people and big families. Unfortunately for the first generation, the Hemi engines were the best engines. The 2.7-L and 3.5-L were terrible engines hooked to the standard 5-speed which although was a good transmission (at the time) wasn’t very good without the Hemi engines.

      The interiors back then were “acceptable” in 2005, but quickly distasteful as time rolled on. The navigation systems were great and the optional technology features made it a good car.

      The new 300 and Charger are at the top of their game for their price ranges. Especially to the audience they cater to.

      BTW – where is Bigtruckseriesreview?

      He should be all over these comments with his loud, raucous comments.

      He had a nice one.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “The 2.7-L and 3.5-L were terrible engines hooked to the standard 5-speed which although was a good transmission (at the time) wasn’t very good without the Hemi engines.”

        The vast majority of first gen V6 cars had 4 speed Chrysler transmissions instead of the 5 speed Mercedes gearbox. AWD V6 cars had the 5 speed, though.

      • 0 avatar
        Compaq Deskpro

        I don’t know what happened to him, he still puts up stuff onto his Youtube, so he isn’t dead.

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        theupperonepercent,

        While I agree with you that the 2.7 had no place in this vehicle, I have to wonder what your objection to the 3.5L is. I had a 3.5L Magnum which I greatly liked, and my father has a 3.5L 300 which drives great and has been reliable as the morning dawn.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    Chrysler products have always presented themselves as a good value relative to their competition (real or perceived). In the past, however, they just didn’t seem to age well (paint fade, loose trim, poor fit and finish). Obviously much of that is due to owner neglect, but I still think spending $1,000 more for the Accord is the better choice if you’re someone who keeps their cars for ten years plus like me.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Aging Chrysler/Dodge cars just have a disposable, BHPH, rent-a-wheel feel to them, even if garage kept in cherry condition and low miles. Anyone wish for a 10 year old, cream puff Stratus, Sebring, Charger, Avenger, 200/300 or Intrepid? They’re not viewed as total junk, but I feel I would regret the purchase in short order. Even if it ran prefect and held together nicely.

      These are fairly tempting when new, but I know I would get bored with it quick enough. If equipped with a Hemi, sort of a different story.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        “Aging Chrysler/Dodge cars just have a disposable, BHPH, rent-a-wheel feel to them, even if garage kept in cherry condition and low miles.”

        That’s hilarious coming from someone who’s a GM fanboy such as yourself.

        I’m not being the least bit sarcastic, or, in my mind, exaggerating whatsoever.

        GM vehicles age as well as Mitsubishi Diamond-Star vehicles do.

        As for the 300, GM doesn’t have a vehicle in its entire stable that’s nearly as good for even 20% more – I’d go further and suggest that the 300 is a better Cadillac, at 30k, than any Cadillac GM offers at ANY price.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Not only am I not a fan of GM, there’s not many modern American D3 cars I would buy/own, and none of which don’t have V8s. Anything else would have to be a Honda, Nissan or Toyota with a manual trans.

          If I’ve defended GM in the past, it was from trolling comments from somewhere.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            You know what?

            I misspoke, because I saw “Mike” and mistakenly assumed it was FreedMike making the claim about Chrysler you did.

            It would have been incredibly hypocritical (and ironic) of FreedMike to claim what you did about Chrysler vehicles, given his deep passion with/over GM Garbage.

            But you don’t share such a cognitive dissonance.

            So, I apologize.

            (I stand by my claim that the Chrysler 300 is superior to anything Cadillac puts out, and that the majority of GM vehicles are garbage).

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            “Anything else would have to be a Honda, Nissan or Toyota with a manual trans.”

            What does that leave you with? Civics and lower trimmed Accords? Does the Corolla still offer a manual? Does the Sentra still exist?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            I could live with a Mazda too. Scion? And base strippers are what I’m into anyways. Manual climate, manual windows/locks, manual seats, manual mirrors, manual headlights… Just less crap to break. But there has to be plenty of manual trans cars left to pick from.

        • 0 avatar
          mikeg216

          My dsm lancer sold quicker then my 2006 rental tan Chevrolet “classic” aka crap box fleet Malibu.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            Well there are a lot of stupid people at auctions or buying cars these days. I know because we used to practically live at them and run our own dealership. And many folks honestly believe that regardless of brand if it’s Asian it has to be better automatically. There is nothing crappier than a late model Mitsubishi product!

  • avatar
    319583076

    I can vouch for this car as well, I rented one to cover a 400 mile round trip that was mostly interstate and found it to be an excellent vehicle for that mission. Smooth, quiet, comfortable, plenty of power, and fantastic MPG for such a large vehicle at 75-80 mph. I can’t speak for the ownership experience, but I was very impressed with the pentastar V6 and 8-speed transmission. I did have some initial issues finding the correct gear, but by the end of my 2nd day with the 300, I adapted.

    The new 300 has elevated Chrysler products from a non-starter to a contender for my next vehicle purchase.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Haven’t driven the 2015, but as these are common in car rental fleets, I’ve driven previous versions. Glad to see the UConnect is improved. I always thought it to be OK. They always struck me as a good daily driver and a better choice than many of the rental fleet staples.

  • avatar
    John

    Would I go Chrysler over Honda or Toyota? Heh, heh – people funny boy. Tried that once – never again.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    I think I may like one of these. It’s seems very, dare I say it? Lincoln-esque in the regard of the Mark VII of yore. Large feeling, yet still somewhat compact. Responsive, though the Conty had the 5.0L V8, and creature comfortable with a quiet, quality interior and decent sound system (by the standards of the time). Style, sure and a decent price, but most importantly that North American quality of floating along a lonely stretch of open highway without feeling like I’m riding in a Samsung appliance.

    Or maybe I’m just waxing poetic.

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete

      Chrysler, to me, seems to churn out cars that are really close to being stunning, and then make an odd choice that turns me off.

      For example, I’d probably prefer the 300s with sporty suspension, sport settings on the transmission, and more highly bolstered seats. But the interiors are dull coal-mine black, have tacky logos stitched on the seats, and the exterior has boring black-out trim (and black-out wheels) that only looks right if you have a butch Hemi.

      The 300c doesn’t have the sporty suspension, but it looks much nicer with the chrome exterior. The interior is lighter and airier (good thing), but sometimes goes over the top and looks a little Liberace. If they could meet somewhere in the middle, they’d have a fine car (although the lumpy dashboard looks more fitting in 2000 Lexus LS400).

      And then there is the overall exterior shape. From some angles it looks stunning. From others, it looks awkward and too tall. Strangely, a 2014 Mercedes E-class reminds me a lot of the 300. But the 300 needs 4 inches removed from its beltline, the tires need to be 2 inches smaller in overall diameter, and the trunk needs to be six inches longer (“five-meter car” problem).

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        I logged in 7 months after you made this comment, just to agree.

        My 2013 Luxury Series has an interior that is truly top-drawer. But I wish, WISH it came with the sport suspension. Such a waste that you can’t get an “everything model”. The 200 has the same problem.

  • avatar

    This is a car that I’d be happy to have as a rental or as temporary transportation, but I wouldn’t own it.

    And next time you come to Oklahoma City, drive something really loud and attention-grabbing so we can spot you. Another one of those lime-green S5’s would do. Or maybe a Phaeton. I’m pretty sure I could count on two fingers the number of Phaetons that are roaming around in the OKC/Edmond area, one of which belongs to Kevin Durant.

    • 0 avatar
      madman2k

      Priuses are almost as rare.
      I moved to Midwest City from San Diego and went from being in a car that’s like half the cars in any given traffic jam (and very anonymous) to being in a car that’s like 1 in 100 vehicles. Chevy trucks seem to be the most anonymous thing to drive here.

      • 0 avatar

        No kidding. When every third fool and his mother drives a lifted F-150 or Silverado (with off-road wheels that extend past the fenders by 6 inches on each side) and takes joy in bullying small, fuel-efficient cars, it’s almost dangerous to drive a Prius. It gets even worse in “crimson-blooded” Norman.

    • 0 avatar
      reclusive_in_nature

      Swing by Norman, Oklahoma too!

      Btw- I couldn’t help but notice Oklahoma was referred to as being in the Southwest in the review. That’s actually a point of contention for many here in the Sooner state.

      Some say the Southwest, others the South, and some, like myself, think of it as the Plains.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        It’s the Plains. Throughout the history of America, Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Territory have always been pivotal to the development and expansion of the West, the South and the Southwest, even before the Great Land Rush.

  • avatar
    Shane Rimmer

    I know it’s sort of tangential to the topic, but I learned the folly of buying a midsize sedan with a transverse mounted V6. Go ahead and buy one if you don’t do any of your own maintenance beyond oil changes and don’t mind through the nose for spark plug jobs, but don’t go near them if you like working on your own car. A transverse mounted, inline, engine can be a pain to work on, but they are nowhere near as bad as any V-style engines in the same configuration.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      All 300 engines are longitudinal mounted. RWD is standard, AWD is available.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Shane Rimmer, you make good points but what I have found is that more and more people no longer perform their own maintenance, AND that fewer of them are keeping their vehicles past the factory warranty expiration date.

      We see this in increased Leasing, more people trading every three to five years and fewer people keeping their cars until the wheels fall off.

      My guess would be that the complexity of cars these days makes it prohibitive to do your own diagnostics, maintenance and repair. Just to do a diagnostic you need to invest in all sorts of electronics to decipher the OBD-II codes. And then you may have to worry about proprietary parts like the dozens of computers found throughout modern-day vehicles.

      Cars aren’t what they used to be. A friend of mine who sells Fiatsler products told me that our 2012 Grand Cherokee has 63 individual computers in it, all networked together.

      That could be a good thing but it also binds the buyer to the manufacturer for swapping spit and those long hot showers, in case any of the components or subcomponents should need to be replaced. They don’t fix them at the dealer level, but just swap them out with a new or factory-refurbished one.

      The caveat IMO is to buy a new vehicle with the best sustained track record. I found that to be Toyota products for my wants and needs. Others may have found Honda more to their liking. I don’t know anyone who believes that Fiatsler has cornered the market on dependability or reliability.

      So, buyers of used anything, caveat emptor.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        HDC,

        If anything, OBD2 cars are way easier to fix than anything post-1970 and pre-OBD. Readers cost less than what you would pay for a good wrench, and you can type whatever code you get into a search engine (along with the model/year) and get a full diagnosis, repair videos, links to parts, etc. That’s a good part of the reason why cars are lasting a lot longer.

        I know what you mean about people trading-in every 3 years but those same people used to trade-in their cars every year when I was a kid, cause that’s how long the warranty ran.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I’m very much pro OBD. In my pre-OBD Audi, it was a really tough time trying to figure out the issues. In my post-OBD, the computer told me every time.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          hh, I didn’t know that.

          But I resolved in 2008 that I was going to quit tooling and wrenching on my own cars, partly because of age and partly because I no longer bend well and can barely slither under a vehicle in my driveway.

          I did recently help a buddy with a Silverado that had the weirdest problems.

          We took his Silverado to our Autozone with me driving behind him in case the Silverado stalled out, and had the Autozone guys hook it up to their portable diagnostic OBD II reader (for free).

          Turned out to be the Throttle-position sensor.

          Later we found out that O’Reilly’s has the same freebie service but that their sensor was much cheaper, made in China, vs Autozone’s made in Mexico by Bosch.

          Right now our 2008 Highlander is the only vehicle without warranty coverage. So I have to sweat that one because my 17-yo grand daughter is using it as her daily driver.

          I bought a two-year extended warranty on the 2012 Grand Cherokee my 23-yo granddaughter is driving.

          If anything goes wrong, I’ll call the Jeep dealer and have them haul it away if we can’t drive to the dealership.

          Works for me.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Shane Rimmer, it’s pretty common for an OHC 24 valve V6 to have the spark plug on the top of the cylinder instead of the side. Cheap and easy to replace those spark plugs once or twice in the life of the engine. I had one car with a Ford Vulcan push rod 60 degree V6 with spark plugs on the side. A little more difficult to get at, but that engine was very compact, leaving lots of room for tools.

      • 0 avatar
        Shane Rimmer

        I’d rather have them on the side. At least that way, I have a chance to reach them with swivel sockets and extensions even if I do have to contort my body into very weird positions. The ones I’ve had experience with where the plugs are on top of the cylinders, though, have all had at least one bank blocked by the intake plenum.

        The trade-offs in power versus the packaging compromises that are often required to squeeze a V-style engine into a cramped transverse configuration just aren’t worth it for me from a maintenance vantage point. I really enjoyed the VQ35 in my Altima, but I didn’t enjoy working on it at all. My wife’s CR-V with an inline 4 is a breeze to maintain and the longitudinally mounted V8 in my Titan hasn’t given me any issues yet.

        Really, though, I guess I am just lamenting ever more cramped engine compartments and bemoaning the increasing number of maintenance tasks that are not easily accomplished without removing a significant amount of things if they are possible at all without removing the engine.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      The nice thing about buying an Accord (vs. a Chrysler product) is how rarely they actually need service.

      OK, maybe it’s more difficult to change spark plugs. I’ll remember that for the once/decade I need to pay someone to do that?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    A little more money, and all the costs of owning a Chrysler.

    No, thank you.

  • avatar
    turf3

    I worked for 20 years at an automotive component supplier, Tier 1, and one of our major customers was Xler. In my experience the products tended to be cheap, tinny, poorly made pieces of garbage. The “engineers” working on the mechanical designs and their managers tended to add complexity and cute ideas, but without paying attention to the fundamentals. (A few examples: the molded plastic fuel rails on the LH that would split and spray high pressure gasoline all over the engine; the Stratus/Cirrus V6 with the engine mashed so tight against the rear surface of the radiator that it overheated even at highway speeds; the aforementioned Stratus/Cirrus that had such overwhelming thermal management problems that they even had to put a cooler for the POWER STEERING FLUID, fr cryin out loud, and I can go on and on.) Why, even way back in the Sixties they were trying to apply cute engineering solutions to problems that didn’t exist, when they implemented the left hand threads on the lug nuts on the left hand side of the car. No one ever asked whether there was an issue with lug nuts unscrewing (there wasn’t).

    Is there any evidence that something fundamental has changed at Xler, or can we still expect cool-looking designs that start falling apart almost immediately and then rattle, bang, and leak their way to oblivion in short order?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Power steering coolers are found on many different lines aside from Chrysler. Also, left hand threaded lug nuts were an industry fad in the early 60’s, not just a Chrysler phenomenon. I had a buddy who broke all 10 studs on the left side of his ’63 Pontiac Tempest trying to loosen the lug nuts. He just couldn’t figure out why they were so damned tight.

  • avatar
    Occam

    “Lena Dunham level of interior panel padding.”

    I’m only familiar with her exterior panel padding. That sentence takes my minds eye to places it does not want to go.

    I can’t see myself buying one personally, but the 300 really seems like everything an American sedan should be. It seems like it would be the perfect car for a long highway trip on the interstate. I’m not sure I get the point of rear wheel drive on a cushy boulevard cruiser, except that it would be able to tow things.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Moderator, please resurrect my first comment, hastily eaten. Thanks!

  • avatar
    Andy

    Better than the Lacrosse?

    I think the Chrysler is cooler, but the Buick seems to be highly regarded, and they apparently have pretty impressive resale value.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      An interesting question. The Buick being FWD based, and around the same size. But the Buick costs more, and I know has GM a higher tendency to nickel-dime you for options (as I learned when pricing a Regal, and then later a Terrain).

      The new Lacrosse is certainly not cool though, and it looks darn close to an SUV, so tall and high off the ground.

  • avatar
    340-4

    I bought a ’14 Charger AWD, 3.6 8A.

    12k miles – and flawless.

    32 mpg on the highway in 2wd mode.

    Count me as a very satisfied customer.

    I won’t go into any anecdotal discussions beyond that. If people want to judge a car from previous generations or from the fact that old people are confused by touchscreen technology, so be it.

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      No, those of us who oppose touchscreens in automobiles are not “confused” by them. We are those who believe that when you are piloting a 4000 lb. device at 60+ mph, you need to have your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel. That means that controls need to be accessible and operable by touch alone, without removing your concentration from what is going on up ahead. Touchscreens inherently violate that rule of ergonomics.

      Touchscreen at the ATM? No problem. Touchscreen in car? Accident waiting to happen.

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        Many vehicles with touchscreens, such as the featured 300, have redundant controls either on the steering wheel or on ergonomically placed locations on the dash or center console, precisely for the reason you’re presenting. So, no real need to takes your eyes off the road when in motion, unless you really, really want to use the touchscreen.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      You can pick 2WD mode in the 300? On the dash, or what? That’s very surprising.

  • avatar
    omer333

    I test-drove a Charger SXT with the V6 and 8-speed automatic and thought it was an amazing powertrain. You do not feel the shifts.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    ” You do not feel the shifts.”

    You would if you go up a mountain. Often the 8-speed will downshift two or more gears when under load going uphill.

    There are three 2014 V6/8-speed Grand Cherokees that are owned by my wife’s sisters, and all three GCs exhibit that trait.

    • 0 avatar
      omer333

      I didn’t notice anything on some of the hills around Monterey.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Monterey, California? I had in mind US82 going up the mountain towards Cloudcroft NM, roughly from elevation 4800ft to elevation 9000ft.

        As I understand it, it is a firmware problem. When the transmission’s shift computer decides it’s time to downshift, it signals the engine-speed computer to briefly throttle back when the gear shift takes place, then re-engage.

        It is during this brief exchange that the drive-train “slop” can be felt and often heard as a “clunk”.

        Now, there are currently three different “tunes” out that can be flashed into the firmware EEPROM of older GCs by the dealership.

        Maybe your experience was with the latest and greatest tune/firmware. The 2014 GCs I referred to were purchased in March/April of 2013 — yes, 2013, when the 2014 first went on sale.

        • 0 avatar
          omer333

          Yes, Monterey, California. From the local Dodge dealer, I went south on Hwy 1 in the direction of Carmel-Pebble Beach, the freeway does a pretty steep incline that starts just past the exit for the Aquarium and Naval Post-Graduate School. It’s gradual, but you really have to give it the beans or downshift to maintain speed.

          I drove the Charger in May of 2013, so I couldn’t explain the difference between that car and the Jeeps. Unless it’s gearing.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            It could very well have been the latest and the greatest update to the firmware that made the shifting so smooth.

            I haven’t checked with my sisters-in-law lately but if the occasion presents itself, I’ll ask them about it.

            One lives in Wyoming, a second near Littleton, CO, in Jefferson County, and the third in Southern Idaho.

            Don’t get to see much of them unless they’re here to see their parents. Last time was mid September this year.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “I drove the Charger in May of 2013, so I couldn’t explain the difference between that car and the Jeeps. Unless it’s gearing.”

            The Grand Cherokees and LX/LD cars have different transmission calibrations, so they may perform differently under the same conditions.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          Watchout for massive cloven-hoofed beasts driving up US82 into Cloudcroft!

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            319583076, yes, one day, around 3pm, coming down US82, around Karr Canyon, a fully-grown Buck with big antlers, came out from the bush, ran alongside my truck for a little while, and then abruptly cut across the road right in front of me, before disappearing into the drop-off into the valley on the other s!de of the highway.

            Scared the hell out of Kitty in the passenger seat because she saw the running beast before I did.

            I can honestly tell you, the Tundra has excellent brakes, even going downhill, loaded.

            But all that shifting weight in the bed put some dents in the front of the bed, I garontee ya’.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            319583076, yes, one day, around 3pm, coming down US82, around Karr Canyon, a fully-grown Buck with big antlers, came out from the bush, ran alongs!de my truck for a little while, and then abruptly cut across the road right in front of me, before disappearing into the drop-off into the valley on the other s!de of the highway.

            Scared the hell out of Kitty in the passenger seat because she saw the running beast before I did.

            I can honestly tell you, the Tundra has excellent brakes, even going downhill, loaded.

            But all that shifting weight in the bed put some dents in the front of the bed, I garontee ya’.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            I was a passenger riding up into Cloudcroft about midnight in the late fall/early winter and the number of Elk and Deer I saw was incredible! The largest Elk would have easily totalled the pickup I was in and presumably killed both of us had we run into any. Luckily, we didn’t. They were everywhere except for the road surface and they didn’t seem to mind us cruising along among them.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Yeah, it’s a pretty common sight, usually around feeding time, and there are signs posted everywhere to be watchful of animals crossing the road.

            And sometimes, cattle get loose too. And bears. And horses.

            It’s a zoo out here.

            But we are all aware of it. It’s the out-of-staters that are surprised.

            Rural living.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I like the 300. I like that Chrysler refined and honed the general recipe of the last generation into the product that it is today. But:

    “It has cliff-face interior panels and about as much window area as a 688-class submarine. It weighs more than it should and offers less rear-seat room than you expect.”

    Those could be real problems for me. Perhaps not enough to drive me away, but poor visibility and interior packaging can be hard to overlook.

    Then there’s the styling. It’s a beautiful car. But between the imperial brashness of the new ones and the donking-out of the old ones, I’m not sure exactly what image these cars convey, but I do know I don’t fit it.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The solution is a higher up model called the Imperial, which keeps the donky 300s separate in the mind of consumers. But they won’t make it.

      • 0 avatar
        fr88

        They won’t make an Imperial because Fiatsler has Maserati in their portfolio to offer to upscale buyers. Too bad. With the loss of the Town Car and Fleetwood, there are no American RWD luxury cars in today’s showrooms. An Imperial on a stretched version of the next-generation 300/Charger RWD chassis could fill a profitable niche in the market that has been gathering dust since 2011 when the last Town Car rolled off the line. If the new RWD Cadillac CT6 is as half-hearted and anonymous as its name, it would not likely be a serious competitor. And that little fwd Lincoln MKS toad doesn’t even play in the same ballpark.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Oh that makes sense, I do forget about the aspirations in sales for Maserati sometimes.

          But with respect, the MKS is NOT small!

          And thinking of the livery niche, they don’t need the Imperial there really either, because the regular 300 is filling that spot, along with the Escalade.

        • 0 avatar
          hybridkiller

          “With the loss of the Town Car and Fleetwood, there are no American RWD luxury cars in today’s showrooms.”

          CTS. Since 2003.

        • 0 avatar
          spreadsheet monkey

          I like the positioning of this article, just below Murilee’s Junkyard ’91 Imperial. The cars are even the same colour. Big fan of the 300, and it’s a shame that we only get the diesel engines in the UK, not even the Pentastar V6.

          Obviously the 300 had far more design effort invested in it than the K car based Imperial, but in twenty years time will we view the blue instrument lighting and tiny greenhouse of this car in the same light as the ’91 Imperial’s whorehouse red interior?

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            @krhodes1

            Dude, chill – it wasn’t an endorsement, I was simply correcting fr88’s factually incorrect statement.

            Y’all need to give the Cadillac hate a rest for like 5 minutes…

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @hybridkiller

            I don’t hate Cadillacs. I think they are actually amazingly decent product considering GMs past. But the CTS and ATS are American BMWs, not traditional American luxury barges. And neither is quite worth the asking price. Which works out OK, the General discounts them like crazy.

            The XTS though – blech. A traditional American luxury barge whacked with the ugly stick.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          In my opinion, a key differentiator for the 300 vs. the Charger should be a slightly longer wheelbase. It could give it extra interior space desired by livery services and those seeking an especially accomodating back seat.

          Chrysler really has an opportunity to soak up every last fleet sale from Ford. I know, I know, everyone hates fleet sales, but sometimes a sale is a sale.

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            @krhodes1

            Agreed on the XTS, kill it with fire afaic.

            And not to re-litigate the whole Cadillac debate, but at the risk of beating the dead horse one more time, I think the view that they have forfeited their true heritage is a bit of wanting to have it both ways. One man’s “traditional strength” is another man’s “stuck in the past”. The only real remaining market for land yachts is S Class / 7 Series / Bentley / RR – and as the most vehement Cadillac critics have rightly pointed out, they can’t compete in that stratosphere and still be profitable – they simply don’t have the cachet to sell six figure automobiles.
            Styling OTOH is pretty subjective, but as long as European (read: German) brands dominate the luxury market, Cadillac has to steal at least a little piece of that market share – they can’t create it out of thin air.
            Is it a mistake to not boldly – and not without significant risk – differentiate themselves from those other luxury brands? Time will tell, but regardless, job one is rehabilitating a badly damaged reputation by building the best engineered cars they can – and that will take considerable time.

            Apologies for going so heinously OT.

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            @krhodes1

            I have to agree on the XTS, kill it with fire afaic.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I have no problems seeing out of a Charger or 300. I don’t need to see the bottom of the car next to me to know it’s there. I’m just thankful that the car designers finally stopped making oversized windows that destroyed a lot of decent looking cars’ looks in the past. Any windows that extended down below the natural beltline, looked like crap, IMHO. Now if the “whale shark/electric razor look would just die.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I’ve never had a problem with visibility in these cars either. The backup camera is a welcome option when reversing, but out on the road the mirrors are sufficient. I’m glad that my Challenger has blind spot and cross path detection, however. Otherwise, backing out of parking spots and certain lane changes would sometimes require some faith.

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        “Any windows that extended down below the natural beltline, looked like crap, IMHO”

        1990 Chevy Lumina comes to mind.

  • avatar
    stodge

    I hope to test drive a 300 AWD soon. It’s a bit bigger than I want but it’s comfortable, safe and well specced. The V6 + 8spd sounds like a good combination. I prefer a relaxed drive compared to a hyper-active vehicle as most of my driving is daily commuting with the occasional road trip.

    Your comment about the stereo was interesting – the Beats system gets panned in the 300S from what I’ve read but I haven’t read any comments about the base stereo. Who makes it?

  • avatar
    carguy

    Your conclusion is spot on Jack. The 300 V6 is sensational value in the $30-35K range but seems to be completely ignored in automotive press top 10 lists.

    Where the 300 ceases to make any sense to me is the more expensive V8 trims which offer only little more performance, a great noise but also cliff-face depreciation, steep gas consumption and even more weight. The old SRT was fun and fast but was totally out of its league when compared to the other $50K competition.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    I love these, and one will probably be my next car. I don’t know if it will be stripped down cop car edition, showroom floor factory warranty edition, or 2006 model with dubs ghetto edition, but I will own one.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If I lived in Texas or Oklahoma, I think I’d probably have bought one of these. Although they don’t make the model I’d really want, which would be a 300C (not an expensive SRT) with the 6.4/8-speed combination.

    But in a place where there are small parking spots, narrow streets, and curvy mountainous roads, they’re just too big, heavy, and unwieldy. Looking at direct competition, this has 300 pounds and several inches on a Chevy SS but the interior is actually smaller. The difference in space efficiency between this and an Accord is even more startling.

  • avatar
    Occam

    Here’s a fun question: Why on earth does a car that is styled intentionally to not look sporty, but rather stately and dignified, have a console autobox shifter? It looks so strangely out of place inside. This car is begging for a column shifter and a wide open floorboard. The console shifter just looks strange and awkward in here (and fake, like a flight-controller for a flight simulator).

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Like others have said, this is a good car to drive, but not to own. The tranny is a ZF, I trust that, and both engines are good. It’s everything else that will diarrhea itself.

    Chrysler product= Chrysler reliability.

    I do like this car, but if it were my money, I’d take an Avalon.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      If I were in the market for a large sedan, Avalon would be my first choice. Friends from church recently traded an old, old Buick for a 2014 Avalon XLE. Not the top line trim, but still very nice.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      To my surprise, Car and Driver gave the Avalon first place in a fairly recent comparison, placing the 8-speed Pentastar 300 and Charger in 4th and 3rd. Being 600 pounds lighter, it also was quicker than the Mopars in every acceleration category despite being down on hp and gear count. That Toyota 3.5 is aging rather well.

      The Avalon lacks the styling character of the 300 & Charger, but if their personality isn’t a big priority, the Avalon looks like the way to go. Far more appealing than any of its progenitors.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Why was the Charger in the comparison? It isn’t in the same class as the Avalon.

        • 0 avatar
          Occam

          The charger runs 26K-43K. The Avalon is $31-$39K

          Both are full size sedans from mainstream, non-luxury, non-premium marques. It seems entirely probably that someone who wanted a large, comfortable freeway cruiser would cross-shop them, but it’s nice the Chrysler and Dodge versions are differentiated in style.

    • 0 avatar
      PentastarPride

      Toyota isn’t always the pinnacle of reliability. I think it’s funny how people make decisions based on cars that were made 15-20 years ago.

      Sure, Toyota may have had a few models that made it to 250k with ease several years back, but what’s to say whatever they have *now* will do the same? I’m sure that the current lineup shares *nothing* in common with anything that was produced 15-20 years ago.

      I have a feeling that sooner or later all of the people who made the “safe choice” to buy a Toyota or Lexus (because Consumer Reports told them so) will be in for a sore disappointment. You never know. It happens with every manufacturer, Chrysler included.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Not a big fan of the blue-hue IP, but man this is a gorgeous car. Perfect color to highlight the chrome.

  • avatar
    pb35

    I’ve had my 2012 Charger R/T for 2.5 years now and I’m ready to trade it..for an SRT 392. Sadly, the Hellcat is overkill for my 13 mi. commute. Kidding aside, I do love the car and it has stayed screwed together though I have had some teething pains with the brakes. The Brembos on the SRT should solve that.

    I would recommend one of these to anyone that is in the market for a full-size family sedan. My twins Recaro carseats fit in the back with plenty of room to spare.

  • avatar
    ErRoc

    Before the girlfriend and I met halfway on our 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye, we had a 2011 Elantra and a 2012 300S.

    Everyone that shared a ride in the Chrysler loved it. Some people thought the S was over the top with its Beats by Dre system (ONLY sounds good with Rap music… nothing else), huge wheels and blacked-out everything. I still miss that car, though the Dart is much better for navigating a downtown core which we do on the daily.

    The thing that blew me away was the fuel econonmy… the average on our Dart in 50/50 driving is about 8.0L/100kms while the much more powerful and larger 300 still managed to get a 9.5 average. On trips of highway only driving between cities it was common to get in the mid 6 l/100km range. Incredible when you think about the size of the car and that it has 300 HP.

    Feel free to inbox with questions re: my ownership experience if you are looking for an honest opinion.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    You moderators need to feed this forum, it keeps eating my comments.

  • avatar
    Ian

    Having just purchased a new 2014 300s AWD, I couldn’t agree more, this car is brilliant. Having cross-shopped literally dozens of vehicles in the last year & a half, this was the clear winner.
    I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t more positive press on this car. This filled my wants and needs, and exceeding them by a good deal. The $6,000+ in incentives were icing on the cake.

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    These are excellent cars. But the depreciation is like stubbing a cold toe on a steel bed frame. As mentioned above, buy one used. I use cargurus to do a quick market analysis.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Depreciation is typically measured against MSRP. Which means that heavily discounted vehicles, like nearly any from FCA, have terrible resale value. That doesn’t mean that only the stupid buy them new. It just means only the stupid buy them new at MSRP.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    “Annoyingly small windows”. That’s a huge deal in this part of the market. But yeah, I noticed the value.

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    I can’t wait for the direct injection vvt.. Hemi

  • avatar
    don1967

    “When all is said and done, however, the 300’s biggest enemy is the HEMI-engined 300.”

    Amen. In a world of Faux Badass cars, the Chrysler 300 Hemi’s strong suit is that it is Heisenberg Badass.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The current 300 is a 3-4″ trunk stretch, 2″ belt line lowering, 2015 Charger style shifter and bodyside molding or waistline narrowing away from perfect. Oh and Chrysler please expand that sweet blue interior you offered on the 2014 300C

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