Cars

The Chrysler 300 Is Dated but Still Classy

Sedan selection from American automakers has shrunk. While Hyundai, Honda, and Toyota have all updated their lineups, Ford’s lone sedan will be gone by 2021, while Lincoln may stop selling sedans completely. Meanwhile, Cadillac and Chevrolet each offer 2 sedans. However, it’s the Dodge Charger, Dodge’s lone, ancient sedan, that’s seen the most success. The Charger, though, has a more comfort-focused cousin: the Chrysler 300. But has the 300 become a bit long-in-the-tooth?

Chrysler 300 specs and features

2020 Chrysler 300C
2020 Chrysler 300C | Chrysler

The 2020 Chrysler 300 is available in 6 different trims, from the $29,590 Touring to the $41,995 300C. The standard engine is a 292-hp 3.6-liter V6, while a 363-hp 5.7-liter V8 is optional on the $36,965 300S and standard on the 300C. Both engines come exclusively with an 8-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard, although all-wheel drive is optional on V6-equipped cars.

2020 Chrysler 300 interior
2020 Chrysler 300 interior | Chrysler

All Chrysler 300s come standard with an 8.4” infotainment touchscreen, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. However, for advanced driver-assistance features like emergency braking and rear cross-traffic detection, you’ll have to step above the base Touring model and spec the SafetyTec Plus package. Although Car and Driver reports the rear seats don’t fold completely flat, they can split 60/40 to fit larger items in the trunk.

The $38,595 Limited adds heated power-adjustable front seats with lumbar support, along with leather trim and dual-zone automatic climate control. The 300C meanwhile has heated and ventilated front seats, as well as heated rear seats and power-adjustable steering wheel.

Chrysler 300: old-school charm and limitations

The Chrysler 300 is built on the same platform as the Dodge Charger and Challenger, explains Road & Track, which originally dates back to the 90s. The good news about that is, like with the Toyota 4Runner, Chrysler has basically removed most of the 300’s quality issues. Consumer Reports found the Chrysler sedan to have an above-average reliability, and it is a CR-recommended product. However, again like the 4Runner, that old-school approach has its downsides.

The Straight Pipes found the Chrysler 300’s interior to have some issues. Although it has soft-touch material, it looks and feels rather cheap and dated. Motor Trend found the 300’s interior “’ astonishingly dated,’” with quite a few trim pieces feeling cheap and flimsy. Car and Driver reports other cars in this segment have better-looking and more-premium-feeling interiors. In addition, although the optional leather seats are comfortable, they’re not very well-bolstered.

MT did find the 300S handled and braked fairly-well for a car of its size. However, Car and Driver reports the 300S’s has noticeably-stiffer suspension, and its larger wheels deliver harsh impacts on poor roads. And while the steering is light, the driver needs to turn the wheel quite a bit to change direction.

The Straight Pipes, though, did find the Chrysler 300 to be a comfortable, everyday commuter. The ride—apart from the 300S—is comfortable, and the sedan’s design still looks classy.

Alternative choices

2018 Kia Stinger
2018 Kia Stinger | Kia

For those looking for some extra performance, the Kia Stinger GT is a worthwhile alternative. The sports sedan offers a 365-hp 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6, and a more-practical hatchback-style trunk. And in terms of handling, Kelley Blue Book reports the Kia Stinger is definitely a step up from the Chrysler 300.

2020 Kia Cadenza
2020 Kia Cadenza | Kia

For a more luxury-focused alternative, there’s the Kia Cadenza. For 2020, the Cadenza gained a larger infotainment screen, a standard driver-assistance feature suite, and a redesigned exterior. Even the highest trim is a great value at approximately $45,000.

2020 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack overhead
2020 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack overhead | Dodge

Or, if you want to stick with an American sedan, there’s also the Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack. For roughly the same price as the 300C, you can get a similar RWD sedan with a 485-hp 6.4-liter V8. Car and Driver reports it also offers adaptive dampers and Brembo brakes. Although, the Kia Stinger has the better interior.

2021 Toyota Avalon Limited AWD front
2021 Toyota Avalon Limited AWD front | Toyota

If you’re after a comfortable commuter with AWD, there’s also the Toyota Avalon AWD to consider. Although it only comes with a 205-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder, Autoblog reports the sedan is extremely comfortable and stable, even on snowy roads.

Despite its charm, the Chrysler 300 is getting left behind. But, with rumors of an updated Charger swirling, perhaps Chrysler’s last sedan will also see a refresh to keep it competitive.

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