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.

300 Featured1The 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.

Chrysler 300 - 11A 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.

2012 Chrysler 300Because 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.

2012 Chrysler 300Sniggly 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.

2012 Chrysler 300c Luxury SeriesIn 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.

2012 Chrysler 300The 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.  

 

10 Comments

  1. Ken Wenzel says:

    Love my Dodge Charger R/T, which is a lot like the 300. Have a 2006 300 SRT and it is a great road car. I was wondering if you’ve ever had a chance to test a 2WD &AWD version of the same car, on the same day, at the same location, for 0-60 or 1/4 mile times. I’m curious as to whether the extra traction makes up for the extra weight getting up to speed.
    Another tangent on the body in the trunk; as a retired police officer, I have (in he past) been forced to put unruly prisoners in the trunk when they tried to kick out the back glass in my police car. The new cars have bars across the back side windows. (It seems I wasn’t the only one with the violent prisoner problem!)

    • TV says:

      No, I’ve only driven the 300 AWD recently (with the 8-speed), and not back to back with other configs.

      Hmmmmm, hope you haven’t given Evil Twin any ideas for the back seat test…

  2. 1guyin10 says:

    I wonder what the naysayers will have to say if they roll Fiat and Chrysler together into one US based company, as appears to be the plan.

  3. tom m says:

    I want to like this car. Seems like a lot of value for the money. The problem is you have to take the leap of faith that now they are screwed together well. Most I have seen that are 5 years old and 100,000 miles don’t impress me. Then there is the resale value.

    • 1guyin10 says:

      It is a very different company than it was 5 years ago. If warranty claims are any indication then the current Chryslers are built much better than the old ones. Under Daimler they had a very disfunctional quality organization to say the least. Doug Betts is the Senior VP – Quality at Chrysler now and was previously at Nissan and Toyota before that. Mr. Betts also sits on the Group Executive Board at Fiat, which is the highest decision making board in the company. They have put some real horsepower into their quality efforts and the numbers are looking much better. I used to distrust Chryslers very much, but now I just might give them a shot.

  4. Facepalm says:

    I must admit, I was not expecting a review of a Chrysler product, but sometimes surprises are good things, lol. Loved the video review, the impersonation voice at the end, and of course Evil Twin’s antics.

    The 300 looks nice, but its rump looks a little short compared to its snout, especially so for a large sedan. Nonetheless, it looks way more expensive than it really is. On the road I occasionally mistake them for pricier British cars (from the front, that is).

    As for the trunk part, were you referring to Alex Dykes from The Truth About Cars? I know he has a trunk comfort score for the vehicles he reviews. Another YouTuber who does the trunk shtick is Tony Martin from The Media Mart, who in his recent sedan reviews will crawl out of the trunk after opening it from the inside, or in his hatchback/crossover reviews will flatten the rear seats and then promptly lays down in the cargo hold as if he was going to take a nap, haha.

    I’ve never been sure of whom exactly Chrysler is targeting. They seem to rave about luxury in some of their commercials, but until recently their interiors weren’t all that nice. They don’t seem like a full-fledged luxury brand, or even an upscale brand like Lincoln, but more along the lines of Buick/entry premium (without the elder person stigma), although at times they seem to fall below Buick as well, but never as far down to Chevy or Ford, which is where Dodge occupies. The 200 isn’t all that expensive (not much of a difference compared to the Avenger in terms of pricing), and seems to be more in line price-wise with competitors from Ford and Chevy than from Buick. In fact, the Chrysler and Dodge relationship sort of reminds me of the GMC-Chevy relationship in that GMC and Chrysler seem to place themselves above their more mainstream siblings, but not by much.
    PS, I did some price-crossing on Yahoo Autos and found that an entry 200 is almost 10Gs cheaper than an entry Regal, but an entry 300 is only a few grand less than a base LaCrosse, but also a couple grand more expensive than a base Charger. Odd. It’s like one part of Chrysler tries to be more upscale and another just wants to be a more elegant and classy alternative to Dodge. The 200 & Avenger are also cheaper than their domestic rivals, the Malibu and Fusion, by at least one or two grand.

    • TV says:

      It can be any one of those guys and glad to see you watched to the very end.

      Thanks for all your research Facepalm! Posts like this mean I can do less work.

  5. fatbaldandhappy says:

    The 300 is the only Chrysler I can think of that has remained relevant from one generation to the next. You could say the same for the Caddie CTS (and maybe the Escalade). I personally wouldn’t own one. That rear end looks unfinished to me and I’m not sure I’ll ever be a big sedan kind of guy, but I still appreciate the previous gen elegance and class when I see one. I guess the “excitement” factor just isn’t there for me.

    What did you think of the eight speed transmission? That seems like a nice advantage to have over the competition and even if the numbers don’t say it’s faster- it probably feels faster (and more fun) because of the transmission. My VW GTI DSG taught me how much of a difference a good transmission can make and given a choice between a solid V6 and a modern 8 speed Vs. a hemi and an antiquated 5 speed. I’ll take the former anytime. The extra MPG is just a bonus.

    Oh- and I completely agree with your final point. Chrysler speaks as much Italian as my poor deceased hamster.

    Ciao!

  6. Shabanger says:

    Maybe age is catching up to me, but this new 300 looks like a probable candidate to replace my old Audi A6.

    What is that above the CD player and under the Off/Auto dial @4:45?

    I’m curious now….who does a ‘body in the trunk’ test anyways? If you don’t want to promote your competition by not answering, I understand.

    • TV says:

      If it makes you feel any younger, my 16 year thinks the 300 is cool.

      It’s an SD slot.

      There are actually a few “bodies in trunk” guys. Facepalm’s post conveniently names them.