Crisp driving characteristics, smart styling and luxurious cabin appointments combine with attractive price points to make the 300 series sedans a best-seller for the Chrysler brand.
1. Three engines are offered for 2010: a 178-hp 2.7L V6, a 250-hp 3.5L V6 and a 360-hp 5.7L V8.
2. All but the base Touring model are available with AWD.
3. Fuel economy ranges from 18/26-mpg (city/hwy) to 16/23-mpg for the 5.7L AWD.
4. Keyless Entry and KeylessGo are both standard on 300C models for 2010.
5. A more powerful and efficient V6 is due out soon.
Cast low to the ground with sharp-edged lines strafing across an exaggerated hood, the 300 features a stub-nosed prow with a massive chrome egg-crate grille. Slab-sided flanks meet up with muscular bulges around the wheelwells where large multi-spoke wheels gleam in chrome.
POWER FOR EVERY TYPE OF DRIVER
Three different engines are available to power Chrysler’s largest sedan through trims tagged as 300 Touring, Executive, Signature, S and flagship 300C.
The 2010 300 Touring edition packs a fuel-thrifty but anemic 178-hp 2.7-liter V6 engine which earns EPA fuel economy scores of 18/26-mpg (city/highway) – numbers that are actually surprisingly good considering the 4-speed automatic transmission.
The 2010 300 Executive, Signature and S employ a 250-hp V6 which is available in either a rear-drive or all-wheel drive configuration. The 2010 300C Executive and C-AWD edition caps the series packing a legendary HEMI V8 rippling with power.
With a RWD 300 the transmission remains Chrysler’s four-speed automatic, but for the AWD 300 Signature Series there’s an electronic automatic five-speed transmission in place and it adds Chrysler’s AutoStick for shift-it-yourself control like a manual. Chrysler rates all 3.5s at 17/25-mpg (RWD) and 17/23-mpg (AWD).
For the 300C, the HEMI 5.7-liter V8 makes 360 hp at 5150 rpm and 389 ft-lbs of torque at 4250 rpm through that electronic automatic five-speed with the AutoStick. And the HEMI V8 comes with a multi-displacement system (MDS) that can switch seamlessly and transparently to fuel-saving four-cylinder mode when all of that horsepower is not needed to romp. As a result, fuel economy for the big V8 is rated at 16/25-mpg (RWD) and 16/23-mpg (AWD).
ALL SEASON PERFORMANCE AND STYLE
Chrysler’s AWD device, using an active transfer case plus front-axle disconnect, divides the engine’s power between the front and rear axles to maintain tire grip on slippery pavement. But when AWD traction is not needed, the intelligent system automatically disconnects the front axle, thus reverting to RWD mode in order to conserve fuel.
Measures for passenger safety in the 300 include smart multi-stage air bags up front plus side curtain-style air bags for all outboard seats. And the car contains active safety systems to help avoid an accident, including ABS, all-speed traction control (ASTC), emergency brake assist (EBA) and electronic stability control (ESP).
And the car contains active safety systems to help avoid an accident, including ABS, all-speed traction control (ASTC), emergency brake assist (EBA) and electronic stability control (ESP).
STEP INSIDE TO COMFORTABLE SURROUNDINGS
Chrysler organizes the passenger compartment of 300 series sedans around a cab-rearward concept, whereby the bulk of the cabin’s volume occurs behind the windshield pillars in boxy and vertically-oriented quarters. It’s not only spacious but comparable to room in vintage limo-style livery from the likes of, say, Rolls-Royce. Plus, with the length between front and rear wheels extending for ten feet, there’s vast space inside for riders.
Layout of the cabin poses two large bucket seats up front with a bench in back broad enough for three but with indented sections for two. The car seems to hunker low against the pavement with a ground clearance of less than six inches while all chairs in the cabin rise high so it’s easy to slip laterally into a seat to climb aboard. Once inside, space for heads and legs is superior, and passengers on the rear bench may sit with crossed legs and still find room to stretch.
Up front, the driver of a 300 sedan fits in a comfortable bucket seat that adjusts under power and adds lumbar back support. Electroluminescent instruments in the dashboard cluster include large round analog gauges with bright white faces and chrome rims. And in a vertically-flush stack of controls at the center of the dash there’s a round analog clock up top with controls below for climate and audio equipment plus the optional navigation system.
A floor-mounted center console contains the transmission’s lever in a shifter gate ringed by chrome.
NEW TRIM LEVELS FOR 2010
The new-for-2010 300 Touring edition provides a number of upscale enhancements, including foglamps and bright touches of chrome on mirrors and door handles, plus 17-inch machined aluminum wheels capped by 215/65/17 all-season tires. The cloth-trimmed driver’s bucket has eight-way power controls and standard cabin content ranges from an air conditioner to front map lamps, a tilting/telescoping steering column, auto-dimming mirror, cruise control and a four-speaker audio kit with AM/FM/CD/MP3.
The 2010 300 Touring AWD and Signature edition adds 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels with 225/60/18 all-season touring tires, leather upholstery on the seats and a leather wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob, a dual-control automatic climate system, eight-way power for the front passenger seat, cabin LED accent lights on console cupholders and door map pockets, an electronic vehicle information system, and a six-speaker audio package with Uconnect hands-free phone communications plus a 30-gigabyte hard drive.
The 2010 300C Executive edition piles on premium gear like leather seats with suede inserts, cabin trimmed in poplar burl wood, Keyless Entry/Keyless Go and a Boston Acoustics 5.1 surround sound audio system with 276-watt digital signal processor.
Chrysler’s MSRP chart for the 2010 300 series begins below $28,010 for the 300 Touring RWD and climbs to $49,795 for the top line 300C Walter P. Chrysler Executive Series.
New trim levels for 2010 don’t do much to improve Chrysler’s 300 full-sized sedan, however, the rear-drive layout, spacious cabin and big bold looks continue to please crowds (and automotive journalists).
Despite the car’s size and limited-gear transmissions, fuel economy isn’t all that bad. It can always get better though and Chrysler is set to make a big change next year with a new Pentastar V6 with added power and improved fuel economy. So if you can wait another year, we’d suggest it. And with the 300’s seemingly timeless design, it’ll still look just as fresh in 12 months time.