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
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)
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