Vehicles

Restyled Chrysler 300 Takes It Up A Notch

Posted on April 23, 2015 by Tom Halligan - Also by this author

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The newly redesign 2015 Chrysler 300 series features more elegant lines and an upscale interior.
The newly redesign 2015 Chrysler 300 series features more elegant lines and an upscale interior.

It was apparent that other drivers were eyeballing my 2015 Chrysler 300 sedan during a recent test drive.

The newly redesigned and maxed-out 300C Platinum model with its Phantom black tri-coat paint, 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, chrome LED tail lights, and LED-illuminated daytime running lights and polished chrome exhaust tips no doubt got attention — especially from the high-end lux motorists. But why? It’s a Chrysler, not a Mercedes-Benz or BMW.

I finally figured it out after passing a Bentley. I realized that the 300’s new, bolder, sculpted style and expressive grill resembles a Silver  Spur. In fact, both automakers even share a winged emblem that I think causes other drivers to rubberneck. Not bad company to keep for the $46,000 top-end Chrysler often mistaken for a $200,000 Bentley.

Of course, operators who add the 300 to their fleets are opting for the more affordable 300 Limited and 300S models that have an MSRP range from $31,400 to $35,900. Still, the new styling does add a notch of panache to the 300 compared to previous models. The 300 has had mixed reviews — some operators think the nameplate does not carry enough status for their corporate clients, while others consider the 300 an acceptable addition to their fleet line-ups.

Initial reviews from media motorheads have been positive about the new upscale design of the 300. They are impressed with its new level of “understated sophistication and tasteful and functional interior,” as one reviewer noted. I agree. The 300 has cleaner lines than its predecessor but still retains the bulk and roominess of a large sedan.

As I mentioned, the 300’s new exterior has the “look” of a livery vehicle. As gas prices are ratcheting up again, the standard Pentastar V-6 engine delivers a combined city/highway 23 mpg, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy ratings. The 300C Platinum I drove — with a powerful 8-speed, 5.7-liter V-8 HEMI — averages a combined city/highway 19 mpg, according to government stats. Yes, the V-8 flies, but for chauffeured transportation, the V-6 cranks 300 horsepower, more than adequate to handle highway maneuvering. Improved suspension takes care of bumps, and the S model chassis features a new sport-tuned suspension with increased damping compared to the previous year.

Passengers have adequate leg, shoulder and headroom, as well as center armrest and climate controls.
Passengers have adequate leg, shoulder and headroom, as well as center armrest and climate controls.

Interior
The interior’s fit and finish is subdued and refined with ample room for two rear-seat passengers. A center armrest console has two cupholders. An adjustable climate control panel contains two USB charging ports. The 300C and Platinum models come equipped with rear-heated seats and other amenities such as front console hot/cold cupholders.

Head, leg and shoulder room are adequate. Plush, comfortable leather-trimmed seats swaddle the passengers. Chauffeurs can adjust eight-way power seats to provide more rear legroom. In fact, the Platinum C is equipped with a power tilt/telescopic steering column and power adjustable pedals to provide even more driver maneuverability, if say, an NBA player is seated behind the driver.

The standard seven-inch full color touchscreen is intuitive and easy to maneuver. A new rotary shifter, which Chrysler says is better than the previous shift lever, now clearly indicates the gear in use. The audio system features various upgrade options. One refreshing Chrysler throwback is the chrome-and-white analog clock that exudes refinement in an age where cars often are overloaded with digital displays.
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