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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Review: 2013 Chrysler 300S

    The affordable dream car returns for an encore performance.


    William Maley

    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.

    2013 Chrysler 300S 8

    The first-generation 300 received many praises for its very distinctive exterior design. That left Chrysler's designers in a tough spot with designing the next-generation model. Do they stick with what worked for the 300 and make minor changes or start anew? They went with the former and somehow made the new model look more exclusive. Park an old and new 300 and you can tell there's a family resemblance between them. The difference between the old and new is that new 300 features a smoother front and rear end, bolder wheel wells, and a set of LEDs arranged in a C-shape in the headlights. S models take the 300's design further by adding dark grey trim pieces and twenty-inch wheels with black paint on the wheel pockets. These additions really make the 300S stand 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.

    2013 Chrysler 300S 13

    As for comfort, the driver and passenger get enveloped in supportive leather seats with power adjustments and heat. Taking a quick trip up to Mid-Michigan for the day, I found that I was very comfortable and had no pain in my back. The back seat provides an adequate amount of head and legroom. However, there is a feeling of claustrophobia thanks to a high beltline and a small greenhouse.

    2013 Chrysler 300S 16

    A large eight-inch touchscreen sits on top of the center stack and features Chrysler's UConnect infotainment system. UConnect controls the radio, climate, navigation, and number of other functions in the 300. This system is has to be one the most user-friendly infotainment system I have used thanks to large touch points and switching from one function to another very quickly. One point of contention with UConnect is the Garmin navigation system. Some complain that it looks like MyFirstNavigation, but I would argue that its easier to use than fair number of competitors. Sure it's simplistic, but the system gets the job done.

    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.

    2013 Chrysler 300S 10

    The 3.6L V6 is a very strong engine whether you're leaving a stop or needing to make a pass. There always seems to be enough power ready at your command. What impressed me more was the eight-speed automatic. This transmission plays very well with the V6, keeping it in the zone of power with no sweat. Shifts were unobtrusive and mostly quick when downshifting. I do wish the upshifts were a little bit faster when I hit the go pedal though.

    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.

    2013 Chrysler 300S 2

    Chrysler found a nice midpoint with comfort and sport with the 300S' ride. We'll start with the comfort. The suspension tuning and long-wheelbase make any road almost feel smooth, even with the standard twenty-inch wheels on the S model. Wind and road noise hardly make an appearance as well. As for the sport, Chrysler fits a touring suspension which helps reduce body roll. Steering has a nice feel and weight when being pushed. However, the large size of the 300S makes it a bit of a handful when being driven hard.

    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.

    gallery_10485_708_341978.jpg

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

    Year: 2013

    Make: Chrysler

    Model: 300

    Trim: S

    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)

    Options:

    SafetyTec - $1,995.00

    UConnect 8.4N AM/FM/Sat/Nav - $995.00

    Light Group - $795.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


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    The current 300 is a great value- the only thing I would improve is adding the 8-Speed to the Hemi a-la Grand Cherokee. The Luxury Series is a flat out steal and I love the brushed aluminum grille, matte wood, brown/tan leather, and chrome ringed steering wheel.

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    I agree with the 8 speed. In my charger RT in tacking around 2300 at 73. I'd like to see that be closer to 1600 or so, would sure help fuel mileage.

    However, I have no complaints, I didn't buy the car looking for fuel economy. With 5.7 hemi and 5 speed auto, I averaged 25 mpg on a trip from NJ to Ohio with the cruise set at 73. Not too shabby for as heavy as the car is, plus the additional weight of my partner and all his luggage!

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    Nice job! I know I'm one of probably only 15 people in North America that think like this, but I sure wish this was available in a wagon. Oh, and with a hemi and the 8 speed, while I'm dreaming.

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    Excellent review. I am consistently surprised and pleased by the quality of writing around here. Anyway, enough of that and back to the point: I'm actually a fan of the first generation's styling. Don't get me wrong, I still think that the latest model 300s are great looking but if I had to choose (based on looks alone) I would go with the 2005 model year.

    You mentioned that the interior dash materials were soft to the touch. Does that mean they aren't using hard, ABS plastics? Is it still the orange peel texture stuff or is it more like a rubberized foam? Anyway, thanks again and I look forward to reading more.

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