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


William Maley

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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)

 

Options:
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)

 

Options:
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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  • 3 weeks later...

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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      Engine: 4.0L DOHC 24-Valve V6
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      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/19/17
      Curb Weight: N/A
      Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $44,285
      As Tested Price: $48,877 (Includes $1,120.00 Destination Charge and $730.00 Keep It Wild discount)
      Options:
      Kinentic Dynamic Suspension Suspension System (KDSS) - $1,750.00
      TRD Pro Exhaust - $799.00
      Power Tilt/Slide Moonroof - $730.00
      Running Boards - $345.00
      Cargo Floor Mats & Cargo Mat - $269.00
      Door Edge Guard - $79.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Land Cruiser
      Trim: Heritage Edition
      Engine: 5.7L DOHC 32-Valve VVT-i V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 381 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 401 @ 3,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/17/14
      Curb Weight: 5,715 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Toyota, Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $87,645
      As Tested Price: $89,239 (Includes $1,295.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Glass Breakage Sensor - $299.00
    • By William Maley
      Have you ever wondered what it would be to add all-wheel drive to a Prius? What about adding slightly more sport to a Corolla hatchback? Wonder no more as I can tell you some thoughts on the 2020 Toyota Prius AWD-e and Corolla XSE hatchback.
      Prius XLE AWD-e
      The Prius AWD-e powertrain is mostly the same as you'll find in the standard model - a 1.8L inline-four paired with an electric motor to provide an output of 121 horsepower. But, the e-AWD adds a second electric motor producing 7 horsepower and 40 pound-feet onto the rear axle. This provides extra traction and helps with initial acceleration (up to 6 mph). The other change deals with the battery as Toyota swaps the lithium-ion pack for a nickel-metal hydride. Toyota says the nickel-metal hydride chemistry has better resilience in extremely cold temperatures. Does the addition of a second electric motor make the Prius any faster? Not at all. It feels the same as the standard Prius; fine in stop-go driving, but struggling during hard acceleration such as merging onto a freeway. The AWD system is very unobtrusive, you don’t notice come on when one of the front wheels loses traction. There is an important caveat to note; this system only operates up to 43 mph. This is likely due to Toyota wanting to keep somewhat high fuel economy figures. As for fuel economy, the EPA rates the Prius AWD-e at 52 City/48 Highway/50 Combined - the lowest of any Prius model. My average for the week was a slightly disappointing 47 mpg. Handling characteristics are the same as the standard Prius. It's slightly fun to drive on winding roads with minimal body roll, but the steering is lackluster. Ride comfort is excellent with most bumps being ironed out. The AWD option does make the Prius a more appealing option for those living in the snow belt who still want excellent fuel economy. Corolla XSE Hatchback

      Toyota wants to make it clear the XSE is the sporting version of the Corolla Hatchback and it shows on the exterior. There is a distinct rear wing, 18-inch wheels with black inserts, and a body kit that makes the hatchback stand out from the plain-jane SE. Power comes from the same 2.0L inline-four found in the SE, producing 169 horsepower. In my tester, I had the standard six-speed manual. The CVT is an option. I was hoping for a slight improvement in overall performance with the manual, but it’s similar to the CVT. The engine feels more suited around town where it can get up to speed pretty quick. But it does show some signs of struggling when trying to reach higher speeds. The manual transmission is a mixed bag. The throws are a bit too long for any sort of enthusiastic driving and it is slightly difficult to slot into the next gear due to the vague feeling gate. But, the clutch is very easy to modulate. Despite having a sportier tune for the suspension, I couldn't tell any difference in the handling between this and the SE hatchback I drove in 2020. Both feel agile and composed when driven on a curvy stretch of pavement. I will say the SE does a better job of minimizing impacts from bumps and potholes with smaller wheels. The only reasons I see picking the XSE over the SE is for the more aggressive looks and additional standard equipment (dual-zone climate control, 7-inch screen in the instrument cluster, and power-adjustable driver seat). Otherwise, the SE offers the same driving dynamics, manual transmission, and a slightly better ride for less money. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Prius AWD-e
      Trim: XLE
      Engine: 1.8L DOHC 16-Valve VVT-i Four-Cylinder, AC Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: ECVT, All Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 96 @ 5,200 (Gas): 71 @ 0 (Electric Motor 1): 7 @ 0 (Electric Motor 2): 121 (Combined)
      Torque @ RPM: 105 @ 3,600 (Gas): 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 52/48/50
      Curb Weight: 3,220 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: 
      Base Price: $28,375
      As Tested Price: $31,757 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Advanced Technology Package - $800.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Corolla Hatchback
      Trim: XSE
      Engine: 2.0 DOHC 15-Valve D-4S with Dual VVT-i Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 168 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/37/31
      Curb Weight: 3,060 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $23,240
      As Tested Price: $26,450 (Includes $955.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Black Roof, Spoiler, and Side Mirrors - $500.00
      Adaptive Headlights - $415.00
      Rear Window Spoiler - $375.00
      Carpet Mat Package - $249.00
      Door Sill Protectors - $165.00
      Black Emblem Overlays - $129.00
      Mudguards - $129.00
      Door Edge Guard - $125.00
      Rear Bumper Protector - $89.00
      TRD Air Filter - $79.00

      View full article
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