2014 300 New Car Test Drive
The Chrysler 300 is a full-size four-door sedan that comes in a variety of models to suit an owner's preference for style or performance, or to provide a specific set of features. Whether V6 or V8 and regardless of model, the Chrysler 300 is a roomy, comfortable, quiet cruiser.
Chrysler 300 comes with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Apart from its corporate relative, the Dodge Charger, the Chrysler 300 is the only rear-wheel-drive sedan we can think of that you can get for less than $35,000. Most are front-wheel drive.
Chrysler 300 carries over unchanged for 2014. It was last re-engineered and restyled for 2011. Several models joined the lineup for 2012, a sporty Chrysler 300S, the Chrysler 300C Luxury Series, and the high-performance Chrysler 300 SRT. Chrysler added a pair of special John Varvatos Collection versions of the 300C during the 2013 model year: a Luxury Edition and a Limited Edition. Both incorporate distinctive styling elements based upon the famed fashion/lifestyle designer's work. Each is available fort 2014.
The Chrysler 300S features 20-inch wheels and a firmer suspension. The John Varvatos Limited Edition features a monochromatic black exterior, with a titanium-finish grille surround, enlarged air vents, and special titanium/chrome-finish Chrysler winged badges. The Luxury Edition can be finished in black or Dark Mocha.
Chrysler's standard V6 engine develops 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, while the 300S version gets a boost to 300 hp and 264 pound-feet. All Chrysler 300 V6 models use an 8-speed automatic transmission from ZF that performs so effectively, it makes the Hemi V8-powered car nearly irrelevant. With this transmission and rear-wheel drive, the V6 sedan gets an EPA-estimated 19/31 mpg City/Highway.
The available 5.7-liter Hemi V8 produces 363 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. A 5-speed automatic transmission mates with each V8 model. Fuel economy is EPA-estimated at 16/25 mpg City/Highway (15/23 mpg with all-wheel drive).
With a brand history dating back to 1955, the Chrysler 300 has all the heritage traits of an American luxury sedan such as room, comfort, endless features and amenities, power, and a degree of presence. Yet, it also has good road manners, and stops and changes directions as well as it forges ahead. Chrysler's largest sedan also has a distinctive look that's ever harder to find in this era of economy-driven aerodynamics, pedestrian impact standards, and corporate styling. Options for the 2014 Chrysler 300 include a panoramic dual-pane sunroof.
For the all-out performance fan, the 2014 Chrysler 300 SRT model packs a 470-horsepower, 6.4-liter V8 (only a Corvette ZO6's is larger), along with Brembo brakes and cast or forged alloy 20-inch wheels. Available Bilstein adaptive dampers are similar to those Maserati uses. Needless to say, SRT is quick; but the SRT also delivers good bang for the buck. Previously called SRT8, the 300 SRT comes in two trim levels: Core and Premium.
Consideration for the Chrysler 300 covers a wide spectrum, including the Cadillac CTS, Lincoln MKS, Lexus GS, Hyundai Genesis, Volvo S60, BMW 3 Series (by price) or 5 Series (by size), and Mercedes C and E classes for the same criteria. A 300C AWD can compete with Ford Taurus SHO.
Starting at $44,495 for the Core model, the 2014 Chrysler 300 SRT could be considered a cost-effective sports sedan alternative to Cadillac CTS-V, BMW M and Mercedes-Benz E-Class AMG. A Hyundai Genesis R-Spec is similarly priced, but we don't consider it a performance match.
Chrysler's optional navigation system is the best we've ever seen, with a large, 8.4-inch screen that's easily understood at a glance and easy to operate. We highly recommend opting for it.
The 2014 Chrysler 300 ($30,545) and 300 AWD ($33,045) come standard with a 292-hp 3.6-liter V6 and 8-speed automatic transmission, leather-trimmed cloth upholstery, heated front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, multi-function tilt/telescoping steering wheel, driver information center, keyless entry, power windows/locks/heated mirrors, cruise control, UConnect 8.4 with 8.4-inch touch screen and AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA Sirius audio with SD card and USB inputs, 12-way power driver seat, 60/40 split-fold rear seat, and 17-inch cast aluminum wheels.
(All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
Chrysler 300S comes with a choice of 300-hp V6 and 8-speed automatic and rear-drive ($33,545) or AWD ($36,045); or 363-hp V8 with 5-speed automatic and RWD ($35,745) or AWD ($38,245). S denotes body-color trim with gloss-black chromed grille and headlight trim, matte carbon hydrographic cabin trim, 300S logo on seats, and the 552-watt 12-channel Beats By Dr. Dre sound system. Sport mode on the V6's transmission yieds quicker shifts at higher revs. In the 300S, Chrysler's V6 produces 300 horsepower (8 more than usual). With V6, the touring-tuned suspension includes 20-inch wheels; the 300S V8 gets a performance-tuned suspension and larger brake discs. The Hemi V8 features Fuel Saver technology, which eliminates half the cylinders during gentle cruising.
Chrysler 300C V6 ($36,545) and 300C V6 AWD ($39,045) come with the V6 engine and 8-speed automatic; Chrysler 300C V8 ($38,745) and 300C V8 AWD ($41,245) contain a 363-hp 5.7-liter V8, 5-speed automatic and bigger brakes. Standard equipment includes heated/cooled front seats with memory, heated rear seats, leather/wood steering wheel with memory, LED ambient lighting, heated/cooled cupholders, SiriusXM Travel Link and Travel, Alpine 276-watt premium audio, and 18-inch wheels.
Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited V6 or Luxury V6 ($41,045) and 300C John Varvatos Limited V6 or Luxury V6 AWD ($43,545) get the V6 engine and 8-speed automatic; Chrysler 300C John Varvators Limited V8 or Luxury V8 ($43,245) and 300C John Varvatos Limited V8 or Luxury V8 AWD ($45,745) contain the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and 5-speed automatic. Both models have distinctive styling touches. Finished in monochromatic black, the Limited Edition features a titanium-finish grille surround, larger air vents, and special Chrysler winged badges. The Luxury Edition may be finished either in black or Dark Mocha. Special John Varvatos interior features include abundant leather, such as a leather-wrapped instrument panel and cluster brow with French seam accent stitching.
Options depend on the model. Available for any Chrysler 300 are Ivory Pearl paint ($500) and an engine-block heater ($95). The UConnect 8.4N system ($995) includes Garmin navigation, Sirius Travel Link with Real Time Traffic and SiriusXM satellite radio. Also available: premium audio systems, SafetyTec package ($1,995), panoramlc dual-pane sunroof ($1,495), plus 19- and 20-inch wheels.
Chrysler 300 SRT Core ($44,495) and 300 SRT Premium ($48,495) come with a 470-hp 6.4-liter V8, 5-speed automatic with Auto Stick, 20-inch cast aluminum wheels, Bilstein damping, and unique suspension and stability control calibration, brakes and tires. It also includes sport seats with suede inserts, SRT-specific instrumentation and driver information, and a one-day driving experience on track with professional driver instruction. SRT Premium adds HID headlamps, SRT leather-wrapped steering wheel with memory, auto-dim driver's mirror, ventilated front seats, heated front/rear seats, carbon-fiber finish rear door panels, overhead console with Home Link, remote start, Alpine premium audio, and UConnecdt 8.4N with Garmin navigation. Most 300-line features are standard on either or both SRT models, though there are some options, including three-season Goodyear performance tires ($150). Each SRT carries a $1,030 federal Gas Guzzler Tax.
Safety equipment on the Chrysler 300 includes front, front side, driver knee, and side curtain air bags; electronic stability control with Brake Assist; and a tire-pressure monitoring system. All models except the base 300 have a rear backup camera. The optional SafetyTec package groups several safety features together, including forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with Rear Cross Path detection, and front/rear park assist. Optional all-wheel drive improves stability in slippery conditions.