2010 300 New Car Test Drive
The Chrysler 300 is one of the last of the big, powerful, rear-wheel-drive American four-door sedans, a car for the open road and a long highway. It has great styling, impressive handling and, with the available Hemi V8 of 360 horsepower, pavement-eating performance. It's smooth, luxurious, quiet, comfortable, and everything a top-end American four-door sedan should be.
The Chrysler 300 nameplate includes a wide range of engines, trim levels and amenities, from one with a frugal V6 to the powerful SRT8. The base Touring model comes well-equipped for around $27,000. The Touring Signature model adds leather, amenities and a more powerful V6 for a little over $30,000. The 300C offers the powerful Hemi V8, with Chrysler's fuel-saving Multi-Displacement System, and it can be equipped with the kinds of technology and luxury features buyers in this segment demand.
The Chrysler 300 is rear-wheel drive, and we consider that a benefit. Rear-wheel drive adds to the pleasure and excitement of driving this big sedan, and that's partly why luxury sedans and sports cars continue to use it. The 300's traction and stability electronics are well sorted and effective, delivering good all-season performance, and all-wheel drive is an option for those who want enhanced traction for dealing with slippery conditions. With the big-torque Hemi V8, the 300 also offers enough towing capacity to pull a lightweight trailer.
The Chrysler 300 models are comfortable. They're also responsive for large cars. The 300C delivers thrilling acceleration, while the SRT8 offers true high performance in civilized fashion.
Then there's the styling. Inside and out, this car makes no apologies. It won't be mistaken for any other sedan the road. It can be trimmed with chrome, mono-chrome and various wheels to look stately and elegant or downright intimidating.
The Chrysler 300 delivers impressive value, but emphasizing the cost/benefit ratio may minimize its other strengths. The 300 is a highly appealing car, and it has set a benchmark for the industry.
Long-wheelbase models are also available. Aimed primarily at the chauffeur-driven executive class, the long-wheelbase version offers a cavernous back seat with impressive leg room. It's great for tall folks or anyone who likes space and convenience, and it can be equipped with custom features such as writing tables and foot rests.
The changes for 2010 include the availability of Keyless Entry/Keyless Go, which is standard on the 300C; ParkSense rear park assist, also standard on the 300C; the 300 Touring has standard chrome door handles and front and rear fascia accents, and heated chrome mirrors; and standard on all models are side-curtain airbags.
The Chrysler 300 lineup includes eight individual models, with various combinations of two V6 engines, two V8s, and rear drive or all-wheel drive. There are also two trim levels of the long-wheelbase version.
The Chrysler 300 Touring ($27,260) has a 2.7-liter dual-overhead-cam V6 generating 178 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque and matched to a four-speed automatic transmission. It's equipped with cloth upholstery, power driver's seat, cruise control, fog lamps, and chrome-clad aluminum wheels. Options for the Touring include electronic stability control ($1,025).
The 300 Touring Signature ($30,475) upgrades to a 3.5-liter single-overhead-cam V6 making 250 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. It has a four-speed automatic transmission. The Touring Signature adds leather seating, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, automatic headlamps, automatic climate control, the UConnect Multimedia sound system, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels. The all-wheel-drive Touring Signature AWD ($32,640) is identically equipped, except that it has the five-speed automatic transmission. Options for the Touring Signature include a Comfort/Convenience Group ($855), which includes heated front seats, power passenger seat, power adjustable pedals, and express up/down front windows; and a sunroof ($950).
The 300 Limited ($35,110) adds a slightly more responsive suspension, heated front seats, a power passenger seat, power-adjustable pedals, an electronic vehicle information center, universal garage door opener, steering-wheel audio controls, and six-speaker sound system. The Limited AWD ($37,415) is identically equipped, except that it has the five-speed automatic. Options for the Limited include Boston Acoustic speakers ($595), Media center ($900), and California Walnut real wood trim ($560).
The 300C ($38,010) features the 5.7-liter overhead-valve Hemi V8 delivering 360 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque and fitted with the five-speed automatic. It also has a power tilt/telescoping steering column; 160-mph speedometer; remote starting; memory for driver's seat, exterior mirrors, steering column tilt/telescope, and power adjustable pedals; Boston Acoustic sound system with 276 watts; performance brakes; dual exhaust; and rain-sensing wipers. The 300C AWD ($40,050) is equipped the same. Options for the 300C include adaptive cruise control ($595), and the Luxury Equipment Group II ($2,190), which includes the adaptive cruise control, exterior mirrors with supplemental turn signals, heated rear seats, Boston Acoustics sound with seven speakers and 368-watt amplifier, and the California Walnut real wood trim.
The SRT8 ($44,865) features a 425-hp, 6.1-liter Hemi V8 with loads of performance tweaks, 20-inch wheels, and unique design features. Options for the SRT8 include a 13-speaker Kicker SRT audio system ($685), and SRT Option Group II, which includes UConnect Navigation and UConnect Phone. Included as standard equipment with the SRT8 is the SRT Track Experience, a one-day driving experience conducted at various race tracks with instruction from the Richard Petty Racing School.
Safety features include multi-stage front airbags and head-curtain side airbags. An Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Traction Control System (TCS) and anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Brake Assist are standard on all but the Touring model, where they are optional. Other safety-related options include rear obstacle detection, high-intensity discharge headlamps, and all-wheel drive.
The W.P. Chrysler Executive Series, or long-wheelbase option ($10,865), is offered on the 300 Touring and 300C with rear-wheel drive. This package must be ordered from a dealership through the Acubuilt coachworks, which finishes the cars in partnership with Chrysler.