Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
November 6, 2013
Chrysler has a habit of building a car that can cause everyone to go gaga and have the desire to own one. In the early 2000s, it was the PT Cruiser that caused many people to go crazy with lust. Then in 2005, lighting stuck once again with the introduction of the 300. Its bold styling and available HEMI V8 struck a chord with people. Here was a vehicle that looked like a million bucks, but was very much attainable. However the 300 lost it's exclusiveness and became old news.
But a couple years ago, Chrysler under the guiding hand of Fiat launched a new 300. The new model was leaner and possibly a little meaner as well. But the question for the new 300 is this; can it be the attainable dream car like the previous model? I had a 2013 300S for a week to find out.
One of the biggest complaints with the last 300 was the use of questionable materials in the interior. The outside looked great, but was let down by an interior that could be described as disappointing. The new model fixes that by a wide margin. Chrysler made the 300S look and feel like a more expensive car by using better materials such as soft-touch materials along the dash and door panels, brushed metal trim, and leather on the steering wheel and seats. Controls felt solid and build quality was excellent. The only item I would change in the 300S' interior is switching out the black seats for the optional red ones. I thought the red seats would be somewhat garish. But after spending a week in what felt like complete darkness thanks to black leather on the seats and black dashboard, the red leather would provide some contrast.
Now that I have talked about the show in 300S, Let us dive into what makes this go on the next page.
The 300 comes with the choice of a V6 or the HEMI V8. In this particular 300S, it was equipped with Chrysler's 3.6L Pentastar V6 that produces 300 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque, up from the standard 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This is thanks to a sport-tuned exhaust and cold-air induction system. An eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF gets the power to the rear wheels.
The eight-speed automatic also has one of oddest and confusing gear selectors on the market today. It's supposed to work like your standard gear selector where you pull back to go into reverse or drive and push forward to go into park. But I never could seem to get into the gear I wanted on the first try. I would figure out that there are notches when you push or pull the selector, which helped out somewhat. I was left wondering why Chrysler thought this was a good idea. Maybe with a refresh or next-generation, a rotary knob will take the place.
Fuel economy wise, the 3.6L is rated at 19 City/31 Highway/23 Combined. During my week, I saw an average of 25.3 MPG.
In every facet, Chrysler has improved the 300. Under the familiar but somehow new body lies a number of major changes that make new model not only a standout in the Chrysler family, but in the entire marketplace. Also considering the as-tested price of $37,925 makes the 300S a bit of bargain.
The affordable dream car is back with a vengeance.
Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the 300S, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas.
Engine: 3.6L DOHC 24-Valve V6
Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
Horsepower @ RPM: 300 @ 6350
Torque @ RPM: 264 @ 4,800
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/31/23
Curb Weight: 4,029 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario
Base Price: $33,145
As Tested Price: $37,925 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
SafetyTec - $1,995.00
UConnect 8.4N AM/FM/Sat/Nav - $995.00
Light Group - $795.00