A More Classic Look for Chrysler 300

Sunday, January 25, 2015
For 2015, the Chrysler 300 brings some updates for the first time in four years, including refinements to the front and rear fascia harking back to the more classic 1955 and 2005 models, in what the design team calls “heritage styling.”

The upgrade also includes mechanical enhancements, segment-exclusive innovations and more technology, especially inside, while keeping the starting price at $31,395 (plus $995 freight) for the base Limited model, the same as the 2014 model year. With a variety of models to choose from, prices range up to $42,395 for the 300C Platinum model.

The base engine is the Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 with 292 horsepower and 260 foot-pounds of torque. There’s also a 300-horsepower version of this engine with 264 foot-pounds of torque, standard in the 300S model.

Optional is a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 with 363 horsepower and 394 foot-pounds of torque, but the V-6 in my tester provided all the power I needed, and then some, for this big sedan.

New advanced technology includes electric power steering and cast-aluminum axles and housing to reduce weight, energy demand and friction. Chrysler says the 300 is the most-technologically-advanced vehicle in its class.

The new bolder “face of Chrysler” mesh grille, sitting in the more-sculpted front fascia, is one-third larger, and the Chrysler wing has moved down toward the center of the grille. The corner lights have moved from the headlight cluster to the lip of the wheel well. The lower grille is outlined in chrome, which extends to the corners to outline new optional LED fog lights, providing consistent white lighting in the front.

Adaptive forward lighting is available with bi-functional headlights to illuminate curves, while integrated LED daytime running lights form an unmistakable Chrysler “C.”

Strong shoulder and belt lines continue the heritage styling theme and define the connection between the front and rear wheel arches. Chrome window surrounds and available chrome mirrors hint at the interior luxury.

The 300 rides on a choice of seven new wheel designs, ranging from standard 17-inch painted aluminum to wheel-well-filling 20-inch wheels. The rear fascia redesign includes new sculpted LED taillights with an illuminated halo, a more-fluid surface and chrome trim across the middle accenting the more prominent outer bumper edges.

A new lower valance in black, below the rear bumper, visually widens and lifts the rear of the vehicle. The dual round exhaust tips have been replaced by polished rectangular tips placed at the outer edges, for an athletic appearance.

The new Chrysler 300 Limited, the model I tested, has the most standard equipment in the 60-year history of the line. It includes the class-exclusive TorqueFlight eight-speed automatic transmission; leather seating (heated in front); Uconnect with voice command, Bluetooth Streaming Audio, and 8.4-inch touch screen (largest in the segment); SiriusXM radio; six speakers; media hub with SD/USB/AUX ports; dual remote USB charging ports; all-new seven-inch full-color driver-information display, featuring performance and navigation information and vehicle status; class-exclusive rotary transmission shifter; a new three-spoke, leather-wrapped tilt/telescopic steering wheel with larger controls; and available die-cast paddle shifters.

Controls for the driver-information display were on the left spoke of the steering wheel, but were not labeled except for arrows. It took some muddling through to become somewhat familiar with each screen and the information presented on each.

The Chrysler 300 has the distinction of having best-in-class highway fuel economy on the V-6 models at 31 mpg. My tester averaged 27.7 mpg on a long road trip on mostly open highway with cruise control engaged. EPA ratings are 19 city/31 highway with rear-wheel drive (on my tester), and 18/27 with the optional all-wheel drive.

My tester included a Customer Preferred Package for $995, which upgraded the Uconnect system to include GPS navigation with full-color 3D graphics, HD radio, SiriusXM Travel Link and SiriusXM Traffic. Unfortunately, neither audio system included a CD player — going the way of the cassette player?

Uconnect features downloadable apps, voice recognition, voice texting and mobile access, roadside assistance, theft-alarm notification, and the ability to turn the Chrysler 300 into a Wi-Fi hotspot.

The Uconnect/Navigation system included lots of bells and whistles and was overly complex, in my opinion. It was time consuming to click through several steps to program my destination. Once programmed, however, navigation instructions were precise and easy to follow. I didn’t use any of the other features. I did, however, scroll through the menu and open the numerous pages to get a feel for what was available.

More than 80 available safety and security features include new Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus with Full Stop, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, and 911 call/Assist Call.

Standard safety features on my tester included front and rear side-curtain air bags, front seat-mounted side air bags, and a driver’s knee air bag; electronic stability control and roll mitigation; all-speed traction control; tire-pressure monitoring; and security alarm.

My tester had eight-way power front seats with adjustable lumbar support, 60/40 folding rear seat; illuminated front cupholders; automatic headlights; daytime running lights; power/heated exterior mirrors with manual fold-away; keyless entry and start; and low-rolling-resistance tires on the painted 17-inch split five-spoke wheels.

AL TThe Chrysler 300S ($34,895) features unique blacked-out accents, 20-inch Hyper Black wheels, athletically sculpted side sills, unique deck-lid spoiler, and the 300-horsepower engine with Sport driving mode and paddle-shifting.

A new Platinum model ($42,395) comes with quilted Nappa leather, hand-sanded wood, leather-wrapped instrument panel and console, platinum-chrome exterior details and 20-inch wheels.

We had lots of room - best-in-class rear seat and interior space. All of the seats were comfortable, all three rear seats had tether hooks for child safety seats, and amenities were adequate, with cupholders, bottle holder/map pockets, rear air vents, and map lights.

The ride was quiet and smooth, and the drive was confident and effortless, even on the steep, curvy back roads at my destination.

With freight and options, my impressive Chrysler 300 Limited, manufactured in Ontario, delivered for $33,385.