These two sedans square off with different takes on affordable luxury and solid performance. Which would you choose?

Which to Buy: Chevrolet Impala vs. Chrysler 300 | CarMax

These days, car buyers who want an affordable luxury family sedan can choose from plenty of options. If you’re looking for a used car that emphasizes traditional luxury offerings in a big package, then you might want to consider a used Chrysler 300. But if you want a full-sized sedan with sportier intentions, then a used Chevrolet Impala could be your go-to choice. These two all-American car manufacturers have battled for market supremacy since the 1950s, and nearly seven decades later, they each still give shoppers options for a distinct taste of affordable mid-grade luxury—especially with the new 2016 Chrysler 300 and 2016 Chevrolet Impala.

The 300 and the Impala ignore the conservative, sleek design that’s synonymous with trendy German luxury sedans. Instead, these cars are bold, dynamic, and distinctive.

People who want a more eye-catching exterior design should consider the newer model years and specialty trim packages. And folks who want a more refined style that blends in a bit better on the road should look at older 300 and Impala models.  

The bold and brave will appreciate the 2016 Chrysler 300S’s more aggressive appearance and sportier suspension tuning. And monotone enthusiasts will love the Impala Midnight Edition’s blacked-out, uniform appearance that’s reminiscent of the 1994-1996 Impala SS. The 2016 Chevrolet Impala has an upscale look to it, while the 2016 Chrysler 300 exudes attitude.

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Each car has found its footing through several generations and stylistic evolutions.

The current, 10th-generation Chevy Impala was introduced in 2014 with a refreshing and attractive body style that incorporates modern Chevrolet design. Chevy designers even included arched fenders as a throwback to the 1958 Impala. Overall, the Impala looks good while it shows off as a stylish, modern sedan.

Which to Buy: Chevrolet Impala vs. Chrysler 300 | CarMax

Then there’s the Chrysler 300, which has more of an old-school look with a muscular, slab-sided body. The features, manufacturing methods, and aesthetics have been refined and improved in the last decade, but the overall look hasn’t changed much since 2004. The second-generation Chrysler 300 launched in 2011, the result of the then-new partnership between Chrysler and Fiat. The redesigned second-gen 300 was released as a 2015 model; the styling, interior, and features all received major enhancements.

Which to Buy: Chevrolet Impala vs. Chrysler 300 | CarMax

Like the 300, the Chevrolet Impala has also improved over the last several model years. The ninth-generation Impala debuted in 2006, with an optional V8 engine to give it sportier intentions. This generation was popular among car rental agencies, police departments, and taxi companies, and was phased out of production in 2013. However, the well-liked body style lives on as a limited trim package for the newer, 2014-2016 Impala.

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The design is only part of this head-to-head battle. Interior features and comfort also play an important role.

Want more comfort? The Chevrolet Impala and Chrysler 300 are fairly comparable, with spacious seating for five passengers and similar interior space. The newest-generation Impala has 105 cubic feet of passenger volume and almost 20 cubic feet of cargo volume, while the refreshed, second-generation 300 has 106 cubic feet of passenger volume and 16 cubic feet of cargo volume.

The 300 has a more stylish cabin that uses premium materials and an 8.4-inch touch screen, while the Impala is quiet at highway speeds and has a great infotainment system.

On the other hand, each car also has its aesthetic drawbacks. The 300 has an awkward rotary knob gear selector and narrow side windows that can make checking blind spots a challenge. The Impala uses a lot of plastic throughout the cabin, and the swoopy roofline can limit headroom for taller occupants.

In all comparable configurations, the 2016 Chevrolet Impala weighs several hundred pounds less than the 2016 Chrysler 300, and this helps immensely when it comes to fuel economy. Both of these cars have made progress regarding fuel economy in the last several years. While the 2012 Impala gets 18 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, the 2016 Impala’s smaller, four-cylinder engine surpasses these numbers with 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. What’s rather surprising, though, is that the 300’s V6 returns up to 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which is a decent improvement over the 2012 Chrysler 300’s 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The Hemi-powered 300C gets the lowest fuel economy numbers of these cars, however they’re still respectable—up to 16 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

With competition that includes the Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon, and Hyundai Azera, you really can’t go wrong with either the Chrysler 300 or the Chevrolet Impala. Each car has its pros and cons that can swing buyers one way or the other. The Impala sometimes edges out its rival with a lower price, better cabin tech, and better fuel economy, but the 300 has more attitude and a very luxurious interior.