2013 Chrysler 300 AWD HD Video Review
It pays to dress for success. That applies to corporate ladder climbers or the sheetmetal draped over a car’s chassis. Chrysler’s 300 is no slacker in a T-shirt. It’s sheetmetal is a crisp double-breasted suit in a world full of safe navy blue blazers. The hint-of-gangster silhouette makes one wonder why little brother 200 is still in the mailroom wearing JC Penny chinos.
The AWD badge? It’s more than a stylish pocket square. It’ll get you into work on snowy days, something the boss will notice. All-wheel drive is a huge perk and I suspect few shoppers know that 300 has the option. If you want it in this class you’re pretty much shopping American nameplates like sister Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, and Buick LaCrosse. After that, you’re stepping up to the luxury marks.
Automatic Traction- Don’t look for buttons, switches or dials, the all-wheel drive system is completely automatic and seamless in operation. 300 gets an active transfer case (a segment exclusive), the front axel disconnects for better fuel economy when all-wheel drive isn’t needed. It means the sporty rear-wheel drive dynamic remains, the font wheels never get more than 40 percent of the power.
A few days of rain during my week with 300 proved that it’s remarkably secure and stable in slippery conditions. Deep snow might trip it up, it does not have the ground clearance of a sport ute. Traction has its price, ranging from 2,500 bucks to five grand, depending on model.
Yes, There’s A Hemi But… A 363 horsepower Hemi V8 is available in this rig but, honestly, my tester scoots along just fine with the 292 horse 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. Know that 300S gets a bump up to 300 ponies with engine tuning.
It’s bolted to a ZF eight-speed gearbox with snappy shifts and a joystick controller that takes some getting used to. It has no manual mode, Chrysler says research shows owners don’t use it. Get it by ordering steering wheel paddle shifters on spendier models. FYI, go with the Hemi and it comes with a five-speed transmission.
With a 7.5 second 0-60 time, the V6 should satisfy all but the most power hungry executives. Chrysler crows best in-class all-wheel drive fuel economy, 18 city, 27 highway. FYI, rear drive 300s score 19/31.
Because of its size it would be easy to think 300 is soft, floaty and ponderous (you know, like your supervisor). It’s not. The ride is firmer than you’d imagine, corners are taken with a flat attitude. Think luxury ride with a dollop of sport. The driving dynamic feels European.
Fiscal Responsibility- For a change, Chrysler has dropped off a fairly base model car. Still the cabin is upscale with standard leather chairs and jewel-like gauges bathed in ice-blue light. The soft touch instrument panel has an interesting dual grain finish. Cast metal door releases feel substantial. Real wood trim is available, the plastic bark is good enough to fool the boss. Overall the cabin is nice enough to make her wonder if you’re embezzling.
Sniggly stuff? Deliberate action is needed to close the lower console door and the center console slot is a hair too small for an iPhone. Good luck with a Samsung Galaxy phablet . Gun slit windows affect visibility but hey, that’s they are the fashion these days. One that started 10 years ago by 300 mind you.
Strictly Business- Being a no nonsense kind of guy I really appreciate the elegance of simplicity the Uconnect user interface provides. The 8.4-inch touch-screen is easy to read and the presentation has a natural flow about it. Hook up your electronics via USB or Bluetooth. In-coming text messages can be read by the system, you can respond back using voice commands. A backup camera and cross path detection are helpful in this car. Blind spot warning is available.
In the back the outboard passengers should find the seating very comfortable. Head, knee, leg and foot room are generous. Middle passengers must deal with a prominent driveshaft tunnel. The usual door and seatback storage nooks are here. Clients have adjustable ventilation and a power port to charge phones. Sunglasses and drinks can be stored in the foldable armrest. Heated seats in back are available but not on my tester.
The trunk gets a spare, the battery is tucked next to it. Covered hinge arms stop scrunching, there’s a place to hang shopping bags. The cargo space is usable and roomy enough, 300 scores an average seven packs in the TP trunk test. Got a long presentation easel to carry? The rear seats split and fold.
No Need For A Raise- 300’s strong elegant design might polarize but there’s no argument that its is easy on the bottom line. With destination and without incentives, all-wheel drive models start at around 36 grand, which is the car I’m driving.
That’s a couple thousand bucks more than Taurus (which has few features), about a grand less than LaCrosse. It’s easily 14 large lower than the base six-cylinder Audi A6 if you want to go there. And why not? Being successful in business means practicing fiscal responsibility. Chrysler 300 gives rising executives the traction to do it without feeling like that cheapskate in accounting.
ALL STILL PHOTOS PROVIDED BY CHRYSLER. ALL VIDEO SHOT BY TOM.