For whatever reason, the Chrysler 300 is a car that upon its unveiling has been subject to a great deal of customization. This is most likely due to the fact that it was designed to look (or try to look) like a much more expensive car than it really is. Being relatively inexpensive frees up more cash to add other toys like huge rims, stereos and suicide doors. For those not interested in such things, Chrysler would love to remind everyone that even without alterations the 300 is a pretty good car.
A member of the large sedan segment, the Chrysler 300 is a large five-passenger sedan with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. To Chrysler’s credit, the 300 has a distinctive design with a large chrome grille, double lens headlights and bulging fenders that is a nice counter-balance to the usual offerings from other makers, either domestic or foreign. There are five styles of the Chrysler 300 to choose from: base, Touring, Limited, “C” (labeled the 300C) and the 300C SRT8. The 300C and SRT8 versions are the performance-oriented models. The main difference between the two is that the SRT8 version has been tuned and equipped for maximum performance. For rear-drive Touring and 300C models, Chrysler also offers the W.P. Chrysler Executive Series. This model rides on a 6-inch-longer wheelbase and provides additional legroom for rear-seat passengers. For power, the base 300 employs a 178-horsepower 2.7-liter V6 connected to a four-speed automatic transmission. Touring and Limited have a 3.5-liter, 250-hp V6 and a five-speed automatic. The top-shelf 300C and 300C SRT8 feature a V8 engine. The 300C’s makes 340 hp and the SRT8 cranks out 425 hp. This top-performance model reaches 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. For those concerned by the hit at the gas pump for such power the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine is equipped with a Multi-displacement System (MDS). MDS seamlessly turns off the fuel consumption in four cylinders when V8 power is not needed, improving fuel economy as much as 20 percent. Still, at best according to the EPA, the 300 returns between 17 and 25 mpg. The SRT8 also features a stiffer suspension setup, more powerful brakes and a larger wheel and tire package. Most 300s are rear-drive, but Chrysler does offer all-wheel-drive versions of the Limited and 300C.
The interior of the Chrysler 300 was updated for 2008 and features a new instrument panel and center console design, highlighted with silver bezels. Soft-touch surfaces on arm rests and door panels, and a newly designed and relocated cruise control stalk, have been added to improve comfort. The 300 can also be ordered with adaptive cruise control, Sirius Satellite Radio, a DVD-based Navigation System, a 20 gigabyte MyGIG hard drive for storing music, a rear-seat entertainment system, Sirius back-seat TV, and the UConnect hands-free cellphone system. Negatives are mostly limited to the V6 versions that seem underwhelming in comparison to the V8 and poor visibility that is the result of the high beltline of the vehicle. Starting at around $27,000, the 300’s price climbs northward towards 50 grand depending on options.