It’s big, bold and looks like a Bentley. And it’s probably the best deal for a full-size sedan. Chrysler’s 2015 300C has all these attributes and more.
The Chrysler 300 is offered in 300 Limited, 300S, 300C and 300C Platinum that was tested. The models differ mainly in the amount of content and wheel size. The 300 is also available in AWD, which is the preferred option here in the Snowbelt.
Buyers also get the choice of engines. There’s the 3.6L, 292-hp V6 (260 lb/ft of torque) and an 8-speed automatic transmission, or, opt for the 300S with a sport-tuned exhaust and other tricks that bumps output to 300-hp and 264 lb/ft of torque. Then there’s the 5.7L, HEMI V8 (available with all but the base 300), with 363-hp and a potent 394 lb/ft of torque and 8-speed transmission with a rotary shifter knob on the console. Or, it can be shifted with paddle shifters.
Installed in the 300C test car, the HEMI exhibited quick acceleration and gobs of top end power. And a Sport mode tightens things up for sporty performance.
Herein lies the problem. If you like performance, the HEMI only comes in RWD not AWD. With it, EPA mileage estimates are 16 city, 25-highway mpg. The V6, however, is rated at 19/31 mpg. So the choice is performance or winter traction, whichever is more important to you. The 5.7 and AWD were previously available, but were discontinued.
Aside from its exquisite and bold exterior, the 300C Platinum’s interior is equally as eye-grabbing and lavishly furnished. As the test car was painted a metalflake black, where direct sun would make the car glisten, a two-tone black and white leather interior, which followed through to the steering wheel, really strikes the eyes.
The cars’ perforated leather seats fore and aft were super soft and comfy. The fronts were heated and cooled and the rears were heated. Even the steering wheel, which has tilt-telescoping ability, was heated.
All the gauges had ice blue illumination with analog and digital speedometers. A large, 8.4-inch LCD offered all the niceties of GPS nav, rearview camera and Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system that is one of the best on the market, but as such, was recently hacked. Chrysler (FCA), however, has issued a fix. Chrysler’s not alone here, as super (and pricey) electric car Tesla was also hacked.
As the top shelf model, the 300C Platinum came with a host of safety features and goodies such as a panoramic sunroof and rear window sunshade, the latter feature commonly found on Bentley’s.
The back seat is limo-like with easy ingress/egress. But because of the transmission’s tunnel hump, it can only seat two adults in complete comfort.
Trunk space is rated at 16 cubic feet and as such can hold one large and one small roll-a-long luggage bags. Flip the 60/40 rear seat backs and two golf bags can be carried.
Driving wise, the big 300 merely slides down the road and does so ever so quietly on 20-inch Firestone tires. Perhaps this is because when Mercedes owned Chrysler, the suspension was essentially borrowed from a former Benz E-Class sedan. As such, unimproved railroad crossings are mere blips ride wise.
Handling for a large car is impressive. It holds the road aptly with only a tad of body lean.
Perhaps the only flaw is rear visibility, not so much because of the rear headrests, which are of low profile, but because of the high beltline and wide “C” pillars. Otherwise the 300 is one of the best full-size sedans on the market at a reasonable price.
Speaking of which, the test car carried a base price of $42,395 nicely loaded. To that was added the Pearl black paint job ($500), 5.7L HEMI engine and 4-wheel ABS ($3,000), and a delivery of $995 that took the bottom line to $46,890.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the car its top rating of “Good” for moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength in a crash. And it’s tough to beat Chrysler’s generous warranty of 5-year/100K powertrain warranty, 3/36K limited warranty, and 5/100K roadside assistance assurance.