2018 300 New Car Test Drive
With a heritage dating back to 1955, the Chrysler 300 has long been a rolling legend. The current-generation, full-size four-door sedan was launched as a 2005 model, then mildly reworked for 2011. The 2015 model year brought freshened styling and updated technology, but no major changes since.
New Touring and Touring L trim levels have been added for the 2018 model year. Some trim groups have been revised for 2018. Cloth upholstery is standard on the 2018 Chrysler 300, along with 17-inch wheels. Chrysler's 5.3-liter V8 is now standard in the 2018 Chrysler 300C.
Classic American styling meets traditional rear-wheel drive in the current Chrysler 300, which may have either a fuss-free V6 engine or a powerful, throbbing Hemi V8. Five trim levels are offered: Touring, Touring L, 300S, 300 Limited, and high-performance 300C. All-wheel drive is an option for all except the 300C.
In all 300 sedans except the 300C and 300S, a 3.6-liter V6 develops 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 300-horsepower version of the V6, with a cold-air intake and performance exhaust system, goes into the 300S sedan. Each Chrysler 300 uses an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Stepping up in performance, the 300C unleashes a 5.7-liter V8 that generates 363 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. In addition to V8 performance, including Sport mode and paddle shifters, the 300C delivers a compelling level of luxury appeal. The abundant standard-feature list includes premium audio, ventilated front seats, natural open-pore wood trim, and stitched Nappa leather upholstery. An analog clock sits on the 300C dashboard.
In recent years, crash-test scores for the Chrysler 300 have fallen behind rival sedans. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 model four stars overall, with a four-star rating for some frontal and side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2017 sedan Good ratings in frontal-impact tests, but Marginal in the small-overlap crash. A Superior rating for frontal impact applied only to cars with a safety-feature option group. Headlights were rated Poor.
Safety features also have not kept up with competitors. All Chrysler 300s have a driver's knee airbag, rearview camera, and hill-start assist. An option package combines several elements of modern safety technology. Included are forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control, as well as automatic high-beam headlights.
Chrysler 300 Touring ($28,995) comes with cloth upholstery, 17-inch wheels, power driver's seat, 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth audio, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a rearview camera. Rear-wheel drive is standard. AWD Touring ($31,495) has all-wheel drive.
Touring L ($28,995) gets leather upholstery, heated power front seats, 18-inch wheels. AWD Touring L ($31,495) has all-wheel drive.
300S ($35,795) gets a 300-horsepower version of the V6, with an option for V8 power. A sport-tuned suspension, Sport mode, paddle shifters, black trim, and 20-inch wheels are standard. AWD 300S ($38,295) has all-wheel drive.
Limited ($36,595) comes with perforated leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, Ash Burl wood trim, and 276-watt audio. AWD Limited ($39,095) has all-wheel drive.
300C ($40,995) contains a 5.7-liter V8, perforated and quilted leather, natural-pore wood trim, driver's memory, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and 20-inch wheels. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.).