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  • William Maley
    William Maley
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    The Brief: 2015 Chrysler 300S and Dodge Durango R/T AWD

      What Are Two of Chrysler's Vehicles Like When Equipped With A V8?

    Last year at the LA Auto Show, Chrysler gave the 300 lineup a modest refresh. A new grille and headlights for the exterior, while interior boasted a new gauge cluster and dial for the gear shifter. Some people thought Chrysler should have gone farther, but we think the right call was made here. Our 300 came in the S trim which brought a blacked-out grille, headlights, wheels, and new lip spoiler. Paired with a coat of red paint, the 300S strikes a nice balance of aggression and handsomeness. Despite the looks, the 300 is still a tricky vehicle when it comes to overall visibility. Due to the limited area of glass, the 300 has large blind spots that make it tricky to park or safely change lanes. We highly recommend optioning the park assist and blind spot systems to make the 300 that much easier to live with.


    Powertrains haven’t changed much since we last checked out the 300 back in 2013. A 3.6L V6 with 292 horsepower (300 horsepower for the S) comes standard, while a 5.7 HEMI V8 with 364 horsepower is an option. No matter which engine you choose, an eight-speed automatic is standard. We had the V8 in our 300S tester and it fits the vehicle's persona. With a distinctive engine note at idle and plenty of punch throughout the rev range, the V8 is perfect for those who want power. The new eight-speed automatic is very fast with shifts and helps boost fuel economy to 16 City/25 Highway/19 Combined.


    In terms of handling, the 300S gets a retuned suspension to help reduce body roll and feel more planted. It does make a difference as the S feels slightly more capable around corners than the standard 300. Steering is quite good with the right amount of weight and feel. For day to day driving, the 300S is very comfortable as the suspension is able to glide over bumps. Wind and road noise are kept in check.


    The Chrysler 300S starts at $34,895 for the V6 and $37,895 for the V8. Our tester came to an as-tester price of $42,865 with a couple of options. So while the Chrysler 300 may not have gone under the dramatic changes many wanted, the changes Chrysler did make keep the 300 as one of the best bang for your buck vehicles.


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



    Year: 2015
    Make: Chrysler
    Model: 300
    Trim: S
    Engine: 5.7L HEMI MDS VVT V8
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 363 @ 5,200
    Torque @ RPM: 394 @ 4,200
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/25/19
    Curb Weight: 4,326 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario
    Base Price: $34,895
    As Tested Price: $42,685 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)


    300S Premium Group - $3,295
    5.7L HEMI MDS VVT V8 - $3,000
    Redline 3-Coat Pearl Exterior Paint - $500


    Next Page: 2015 Dodge Durango R/T


    The Dodge Durango is already an imposing looking crossover with its boxy shape, crosshair grille, and a long taillight. But what if you want something more aggressive in a Durango? Dodge has you covered with the R/T trim.


    The R/T begins with changes to exterior such as a body-colored grille element, twin-exhaust ports, and a set twenty-inch wheels finished in a dark gray. These little changes increase the aggressive look that Dodge is conveying with the Durango. The interior is the same as any other Durango with a clean dash and seating for six or seven people. But the Durango is on the lower end in terms of cargo space. With all three rows up, the Durango offers 17.2 cubic feet. This increases to 47.7 cubic feet with the third row folded and 84.5 with both rear rows folded. Those who want more cargo space should look at GM’s full-size crossovers.


    The other change for the R/T is the 5.7L HEMI V8 with 360 horsepower becoming standard. This engine fits the attitude that the R/T is presenting. Start the Durango R/T and the V8 comes alive with a burble that is reminiscent of a muscle car. That impression continues when you step on the accelerator and engine roars to life, delivering power at a very quick rate. This is helped by a new eight-speed automatic which provides lightning-fast shifts to keep the V8 in the zone of power. Fuel economy may be the big downside to the V8 as it is rated at 14 City/22 Highway/16 Combined. We got 17.1 MPG during our week. Handling-wise, the Durango is a delight. Body motions are kept in check and the steering provides a nice feel of the road. The ride is very smooth and quiet, making it a perfect long distance cruiser.


    As for pricing, the 2015 Dodge Durango R/T starts at $42,495. Our tester with a few options climbed to $48,525. Considering the performance and styling tweaks the R/T offers, along with the amities of the standard Durango, the R/T is very much worth a look.


    Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Durango R/T, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas



    Year: 2015
    Make: Dodge
    Model: Durango
    Trim: R/T AWD
    Engine: 5.7L HEMI MDS VVT V8
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 360 @ 5,150
    Torque @ RPM: 390 @ 4,250
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 14/22/16
    Curb Weight: 5,331 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Detroit, MI
    Base Price: $42,495
    As Tested Price: $48,525 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)


    Rear DVD Entertainment Center - $1,995
    Premium Nappa Leather Group - $1,295
    Second-Row Fold/Tumble Captain Chairs - $995.00
    UConnect 8.4AN AM/FM/SXM/HD/BT/NAV - $750.00

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    That is hands down the best looking Chrysler 300 I've ever seen. The ONE THING holding back the exterior from coming together and truly feeling premium is that big squared off grille smack in the middle of the design flow. The right tweaks to the shape and size could've really gone a long way.


    Oh well, the 300S V8 is an appealing package. Looking forward to Chrysler's follow up sedan, assuming it retains RWD.

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