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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2018 Chrysler 300S AWD

      This old full-size sedan

    Is it possible to teach an old car new tricks? That’s the question Chrysler believes it has answered with the 2018 300. The current-generation model has been with since 2012, though the platform it uses goes back to nineties. Chrysler has been making various improvements to it with an updated look, new transmission, and revised trims. Spending a week with the 2018 300S, I found there were a number of things that make it a worthy contender. But there were some issues that made me leery of fully recommending this model.

    • Somehow, the Chrysler 300’s design just gets better with age. The boxy shape of the body is complemented by a large mesh grille, slim headlights, and a clean looking rear. The S trim adds a hint of aggression with side skirts, rear spoiler, and multi-spoke 20-inch wheels.
    • The green color and bronze trim pieces on this vehicle received a number of comments from the peanut gallery during my week. They ranged from what 1940’s army base did the 300 come from to some comparing it to appliances from the late sixties to early seventies. While I do applaud the chutzpah of the person who decided to go with this combination, I think the bronze accents are a bit much. Thankfully, they are an option and one I recommend skipping.
    • Inside, the 300 isn’t aging so well. Most of the interior is fitted with cheap and somewhat flimsy plastics, very disappointing on a vehicle with a nearly $50,000 price tag. The soft-touch plastic used on the dashboard looks somewhat out of place with its textured pattern.
    • For 2018, the 300 gets the new UConnect 4 system. The key changes are updated graphics and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Thankfully, the updated UConnect system retains the logical layout with large touchscreen buttons and menu structure that we like so much.
    • Our 300S tester came equipped with the base 3.6L V6 engine. Unlike most 300s equipped with this engine, the S gets slightly more power (300 horsepower and 284 pound-feet vs. 292 and 280). This is paired with an eight-speed automatic and optional all-wheel drive. Rear-wheel drive comes standard.
    • Despite the small boost in power, the V6 in the 300S feels similar to other 300s and Dodge Charger/Challengers we have driven. On paper, the V6 is somewhat slow to the competition with a 0-60 time of over six seconds. But on the road, it doesn’t show any sign of sluggishness. There is enough power for most driving situations such as making a pass or leaving a stoplight. This is likely helped by the eight-speed automatic which provides quick and smooth shifts.
    • Fuel economy is slightly disappointing if you opt for the AWD with EPA figures of 18 City/27 Highway/21 Combined. My average for the week landed around 20.4 mpg on a 50/50 mix of city and highway driving.
    • S models differ from other 300s in the suspension. Chrysler uses a stiffer setup on the S to improve handling. It does show a marked improvement with less body lean and the chassis is willing to play. But it isn’t a vehicle you want to push around as the 300’s weight is very noticeable when cornering.
    • The stiffer suspension will mean a slightly rougher ride. The 20-inch wheels that come standard on the S doesn’t help matters.
    • As I mentioned earlier, this particular 300S is quite expensive with an as-tested price of $49,660 with destination. It isn’t worth the money considering you can get into a well-optioned Buick LaCrosse or Kia Cadenza for similar prices and feel you got your money’s worth. Also, Dodge offers the Charger R/T Scat Pack and Daytona 392 with 6.4L V8 that provide more performance for less money.

    Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the 300S AWD, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2018
    Make: Chrysler
    Model: 300
    Trim: S AWD
    Engine: 3.6L DOHC 24-Valve V6
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 300 @ 6,350
    Torque @ RPM: 264 @ 4,800
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/27/21
    Curb Weight: 4,267 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario
    Base Price: $38,295
    As Tested Price: $49,660 (Includes $1,095 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    300S Premium Group - $3,495
    300S Premium Group 2 - $1,895
    SafetyTec Plus Group - $1,695
    S Model Appearance Group - $1,495
    Beats Audio Group - $995
    300S Alloy Package - $695



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    I dig that green. It doesn't work on this as well but it's one cool color. 

    It'd be perfect on their Jeep lineup. 

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    2 hours ago, thedriver said:

    The platform dates back to 2005. Please stop the old false info that it is just a mercedes e class.

    Actually the W211 Mercedes-benz platform is from 2002 to 2009, Chrysler was allowed to use it starting in 2005. The W211 is an enhanced version of their W210 platform that was all new starting in 1995. So this family platform ended in 2009 as it was replaced by the global W212 platform at MB. Chrysler continues to use it so if you look at the whole family, then you have 1995 to current on a W210, enhanced platform called W211 when given to chrysler.

    Pretty old platform no matter what.

    I agree with @ccap41 Green with bronze wheels is a lovely color.

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    Falsehoods repeated without research.

    Though Chrysler had chosen rear wheel drive before the merger, hooking up with Mercedes provided existing technologies and parts, including the A580 electronic automatic, and Mercedes stability control, steering, rear suspensions, electronics, and seats; the traction and stabilitycontrol systems, axles, wireharnesses, five speed automatic transmissions, steering columns, and some other components were shared with Mercedes(Wolfgang Bernhard claimed 20% of the Magnum’s components were shared with Mercedes).

    WA580 - NAG1 automatic transmission

    AutoWeek’s Mark Vaughn quoted chief engineer Burke Brown as saying that while Mercedes provided many components, “few parts are straight out the Benz bin.” He cited the front suspension as having a lower roll center and wider track, for example.

    And for that matter, they have gone to great lengths to replace all the MB parts after Daimler got rid of them.

    Edited by thedriver

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    19 minutes ago, thedriver said:

    Falsehoods repeated without research.

    Though Chrysler had chosen rear wheel drive before the merger, hooking up with Mercedes provided existing technologies and parts, including the A580 electronic automatic, and Mercedes stability control, steering, rear suspensions, electronics, and seats; the traction and stabilitycontrol systems, axles, wireharnesses, five speed automatic transmissions, steering columns, and some other components were shared with Mercedes(Wolfgang Bernhard claimed 20% of the Magnum’s components were shared with Mercedes).

    WA580 - NAG1 automatic transmission

    AutoWeek’s Mark Vaughn quoted chief engineer Burke Brown as saying that while Mercedes provided many components, “few parts are straight out the Benz bin.” He cited the front suspension as having a lower roll center and wider track, for example.

    And for that matter, they have gone to great lengths to replace all the MB parts after Daimler got rid of them.

    @Drew Dowdell Please comment as well.

    In regards to your falsehoods comment, nothing but actual research. Yes there is Wiki which also says this is a stretched widened version of the W211 platform from MB that is an enhanced W210 version. Then there is all the reviews from 2005 where Chrysler is quoted as staying they were given the MB E-Class platform and stretched it, widened it and made it better than the current W211 E-Class platform and reviews show that the 300 did handle better.

    I do see stories that say Chrysler has been replacing Benz parts as they continue to improve the 300 platform. Yet it seems to me that the begining of the auto started with benz.

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    There is almost no Benz left in this car, if any. 

    I had one of these as a rental for my trip to Detroit for NAIAS, though mine was RWD rather than AWD. It is a fantastic roadtrip car. I don't know what kind of wheel bearing they are using but the 300C/S rolls better than nearly anything out there.. and I say that in while in the past week I've been at the helm of CT6/LS/G80. 80mph is way too easy.

    It's comfortable. It's big. It handles well. It goes fast. It has road presence.  It is everything a big American sedan should be.

    On top of that, it is efficient and the infotainment system works well. My long distance trips at the aforementioned 80 mph have yielded 27mpg.  Ya'll keep it under 70mph and you can get it over 30 on RWD models. 

    If there is any letdown it is in the quality of materials in the interior.  The S and the C Limited do fix some of that, but not all. 

    This is one of my favorite vehicles on the market right now.... not because it is the best at any one thing, but because of the blend of things it does so well.  I would absolutely drive the one pictured above and be very happy with it. 

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    Though I like how the driver rips stuff right off allpar ( common theme I've seen in uses like this)-but bottom line-he is pretty much right. Many of the things things used in the FCA products were pretty much "modded" and borrowed" tech from Benz. There was no way Benz was going to give up the good stuff to what they thought was the "weaker" company.

     

    Many forget how Benz was more in it for the money rather than FCA's product line.....still the worse marriage I've seen-worse than Fiat and GM.....I've haven't forgot the stories of my friends who worked there.

     

    Back to the subject at hand- it's hard to put lipstick on an old dated pig, but regardless-I still like them-and would pick one up in a heartbeat....

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    4 minutes ago, daves87rs said:

    Though I like how the driver rips stuff right off allpar ( common theme I've seen in uses like this)-but bottom line-he is pretty much right. Many of the things things used in the FCA products were pretty much "modded" and borrowed" tech from Benz. There was no way Benz was going to give up the good stuff to what they thought was the "weaker" company.

     

    Many forget how Benz was more in it for the money rather than FCA's product line.....still the worse marriage I've seen-worse than Fiat and GM.....I've haven't forgot the stories of my friends who worked there.

     

    Back to the subject at hand- it's hard to put lipstick on an old dated pig, but regardless-I still like them-and would pick one up in a heartbeat....

    It wasn't FCA at the time and none of those parts are still in use today.  The suspension has been completely revised since the first generation. Transmission, engines, rear-diff are all replaced. Even the stupid MB cruise control lever was replaced after the first gen. 

    There might be some random power window motor still shared, but parts like that get shared among manufacturers all the time.  We don't call the Escalade based on an F-150 just because they share a transmission. 

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    35 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    It wasn't FCA at the time and none of those parts are still in use today.  The suspension has been completely revised since the first generation. Transmission, engines, rear-diff are all replaced. Even the stupid MB cruise control lever was replaced after the first gen. 

    There might be some random power window motor still shared, but parts like that get shared among manufacturers all the time.  We don't call the Escalade based on an F-150 just because they share a transmission. 

    True, pretty much all the parts that they used (or kinda shared) were gone after the first few years.....as they updated them pretty quick. 

    Yes, I know that they were not FCA back then......I just hate using the "D" word.....😜🙂

    • Haha 1

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    1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    There is almost no Benz left in this car, if any. 

    I had one of these as a rental for my trip to Detroit for NAIAS, though mine was RWD rather than AWD. It is a fantastic roadtrip car. I don't know what kind of wheel bearing they are using but the 300C/S rolls better than nearly anything out there.. and I say that in while in the past week I've been at the helm of CT6/LS/G80. 80mph is way too easy.

    It's comfortable. It's big. It handles well. It goes fast. It has road presence.  It is everything a big American sedan should be.

    On top of that, it is efficient and the infotainment system works well. My long distance trips at the aforementioned 80 mph have yielded 27mpg.  Ya'll keep it under 70mph and you can get it over 30 on RWD models. 

    If there is any letdown it is in the quality of materials in the interior.  The S and the C Limited do fix some of that, but not all. 

    This is one of my favorite vehicles on the market right now.... not because it is the best at any one thing, but because of the blend of things it does so well.  I would absolutely drive the one pictured above and be very happy with it. 

    AND what exactly does GM build like this any time in the last few years....is 

    what

    m sayin

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    59 minutes ago, regfootball said:

    AND what exactly does GM build like this any time in the last few years....is 

    what

    m sayin

    CT6, second gen Lacrosse.

    It doesn’t have to be RWD to get the nod.

    The only one at Ford I would give such a trophy to is the latest Explorer, Navigator too if we’re not considering budget.  None of their cars though.

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    7 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    There is almost no Benz left in this car, if any. 

    I had one of these as a rental for my trip to Detroit for NAIAS, though mine was RWD rather than AWD. It is a fantastic roadtrip car. I don't know what kind of wheel bearing they are using but the 300C/S rolls better than nearly anything out there.. and I say that in while in the past week I've been at the helm of CT6/LS/G80. 80mph is way too easy.

    It's comfortable. It's big. It handles well. It goes fast. It has road presence.  It is everything a big American sedan should be.

    On top of that, it is efficient and the infotainment system works well. My long distance trips at the aforementioned 80 mph have yielded 27mpg.  Ya'll keep it under 70mph and you can get it over 30 on RWD models. 

    If there is any letdown it is in the quality of materials in the interior.  The S and the C Limited do fix some of that, but not all. 

    This is one of my favorite vehicles on the market right now.... not because it is the best at any one thing, but because of the blend of things it does so well.  I would absolutely drive the one pictured above and be very happy with it. 

    I pretty much agree with everything you said here...

    Feel the same way about the Charger too.....

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    I like that color.  There was one at the Cleveland Auto Show on display in this color.   The Challenger looks great in this color also...would love to see a GC in this color. 

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    Benz never "gave" anything to Chrysler; pieces/components were SOLD to ChryCo, and in some instances mandated that they be used to boot. I have seen ex-insiders claim the prices were "full development cost" and royalties were also charged for components MB was moving to the next generation of (were worthless to MB).

    ChryCo was already moving to the RWD LX platform before the take over; the FWD LH platform was engineered to support RWD. MB also had all their US/Germany conference calls billed to Chrysler.

    Daimler raped & pillaged Chrysler.

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    I love Chrysler Corp's use of retro colors, and this one is a knockout, and when sprayed on a beautiful car like the 300, it really is the total package.  I do love the Dodge Challenger in this color... I'm dreaming of a Challenger in this color with matching interior... and a black vinyl top!

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    Another recent Mopar color I like is a dark red I've seen on the Challenger and Charger. Octane Red.    jOs0GlE.jpg

     

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    6 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    I love Chrysler Corp's use of retro colors, and this one is a knockout, and when sprayed on a beautiful car like the 300, it really is the total package.  I do love the Dodge Challenger in this color... I'm dreaming of a Challenger in this color with matching interior... and a black vinyl top!

    Weekend play toy and cruising or replacement for the current auto?

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    Look. I had a 2013 and sold it to my Brother in Law as I bought a 740 IL. I still miss the thing. Furthermore, I swear that this thing is faster than over six seconds on the 0-60. It also is very happy with regular unleaded gas. The engine is SO SMOOTH. I am ticked that they dropped the transmission slapstick for that round dial selector. Yes, the interior is a bit cheap. My biggest gripe about this story lies in the price. It may have a "As Tested" price of around 50, BUT do they ever discount this thing. I'll bet that your actual cost is closer to 40.

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    Guest potluck

    Posted

    that is very..... green

    but they are the best rental car for your money

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      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/35/30
      Curb Weight: 3,098 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Salamanca, Mexico
      Base Price: $24,945
      As Tested Price: $28,035 (Includes $890.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Equipment Package - $1,600.00
      Soul Red Metallic Paint - $300.00
      Scuff Plates/Door Sill Trim Plate - $125.00
      Rear Bumper Guard - $100.00
      Cargo Mat - $75.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      It feels weird to be writing a review of the previous-generation Mazda3 when the new model is currently sitting out front at dealers. But I find this situation to be unique because I had the chance to explore a 2019 Mazda3 to get some first impressions while working on a review of the 2018 model. This gives me a chance to compare the two in certain aspects, along with pondering the question of whether or not the previous model is still a good buy.
      Despite the new model taking the styling up another level, the outgoing model is still a looker. From the bold front end with a large grille and slightly angled headlights, to sculpting running along the sides, the 2018 3 still stands out in the compact crowd. The older design also allows for slightly better rear headroom and a larger area of glass for improved visibility.  But the new 3 holds a significant edge over the old model when it comes to the interior. The modern design and use of high-quality materials really help boost Mazda’s ambitions of becoming something more premium. But the 2018 model I found to have a slightly easier center stack layout and more interior room. One item I didn’t get the chance to play within the 2019 Mazda3 is the infotainment system. Aside from boasting a larger screen, Mazda has also dropped the touchscreen functionality. The latter has been a big issue on some of the recent Mazda vehicles I have driven, including the 2018 3. It is difficult to figure out which parts of the screen are touch-enabled and which aren’t. The system is also beginning to show its age somewhat as the system showed some slowdown in certain areas such as connecting to my phone via Bluetooth. Under the hood of the 2018 model is either a 2.0L or 2.5L SkyActiv-G four-cylinder. My tester had the latter which produces 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet. This engine can also be found under 2019 Mazda3, albeit slightly tweaked - 186 for both horsepower and torque. I find the Mazda3 to be the best application for the 2.5 engine. The lighter weight of the vehicle allows the 2.5 to provide a smooth and quick acceleration for most situations you find yourself in. However, the 2.5 feels like it is running out of breath when going above 70 mph, making passing and merging onto a highway slightly difficult. Where the 3 really shines is down a twisty road. Very few vehicles can match the sharp handling characteristics on offer. The suspension keeps the vehicle level when cornering and quickly respond to change in direction. Steering is quick and features a nice weight when turning. Ride quality is slightly rough with a fair number of bumps coming inside. Some of this can be attributed to the 18-inch wheels fitted on my tester.  Should you consider a 2018 Mazda3 when the bright and shiny 2019 3 is available now? I can only give a half-answer as I haven’t driven the 2019 model yet. But having sat in one, I can see why someone would consider it. The impressive design inside and out can make you believe you’re driving something from a luxury brand. The 2018 model still has some things going for it such as having slightly more interior space, similar fuel economy figures, and dealers beginning to lower prices on them to get them out. As I am writing this (May 5th), I have seen dealers in my local drop prices by $1,000 to $3,000 on 2018 models. Right now, I would be willing to pocket the extra cash and go with a 2018 Mazda3. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the 3, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: 3
      Trim: Grand Touring
      Engine: 2.5L SKYACTIV-G DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline:  Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 5,700
      Torque @ RPM: 185 @ 3,250 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/35/30
      Curb Weight: 3,098 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Salamanca, Mexico
      Base Price: $24,945
      As Tested Price: $28,035 (Includes $890.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Equipment Package - $1,600.00
      Soul Red Metallic Paint - $300.00
      Scuff Plates/Door Sill Trim Plate - $125.00
      Rear Bumper Guard - $100.00
      Cargo Mat - $75.00
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