2015 Chrysler 300 Expert Reviews

Expert Reviews

2015 Chrysler 300

Laura Burstein
© 2015 NewCarTestDrive.com

The Chrysler 300 offers the boldest styling in the segment, and for 2015 it gets even bolder. Chrysler’s full-size flagship sedan has been redesigned front and rear and features a larger, more imposing front grille, while inside is an improved interior.

The front end of the 2015 Chrysler 300 looks more aggressive but also less gaudy than before, with thinner, more subtle chrome detailing, giving it a more sophisticated, upscale look. A big grille has been a signature design cue since the introduction of the Chrysler 300 in 1955.

Inside, the 2015 Chrysler 300 gets its best interior yet, with a new steering wheel, a new color driver’s display, an updated version of Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system, as well as many attractive interior finishes and materials. We think it’s one of the nicest cabins in the class. Designers describe the Chrysler 300 interior as full of contrasts between old-world, handcrafted touches and new, modern cues. Seats are comfortable and roomy, and feel more lounge-like than those in competing vehicles.

Back-seat passengers have plenty of leg- and headroom, on par with the class. Two USB ports in the rear of the center console let rear passengers plug in their phones and other devices. Cargo space for the Chrysler 300 remains at 16.3 cubic feet, less than both the Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus.

Engines carry over unchanged from the previous model. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, or 292 hp and 264 lb.-ft. in the sportier Chrysler 300S. The standard V6 is perfectly capable, with plenty of power on tap in most driving situations. An optional 5.7-liter V8 Hemi, available on rear-wheel-drive models in nearly every trim puts out 363 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. The V8 is more powerful and better sounding than the V6, and it’s especially fun in the 300S model.

Every 2015 Chrysler 300 comes standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission, which is now controlled from the center console by a rotary knob instead of the traditional gear shifter used on the 2014 model. The knob is easy to use and opens up more space in the cabin, creating an airy feeling between driver and passenger. 2015 Chrysler 300S and Platinum models get steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Fuel economy for the 2015 Chrysler 300 is good for a car of its size. Rear-wheel-drive V6 models achieve an EPA-estimated 19/31 mpg City/Highway, while all-wheel-drive V6 models are rated at 18/27 mpg. V8-powered models don’t fare nearly as well, with an EPA rating of 16/25 mpg City/Highway.

The Chrysler 300 is a large car, and as such isn’t exactly light on its feet. But because of its rear-wheel-drive platform, it’s more capable and handles demanding roads better than some of its competitors. A new sport mode on Platinum and V8-powered models further sharpens performance and handling; drivers choose between normal, comfort, and sport settings, which adjust steering, throttle and shift points. In sport mode, we found the Chrysler 300 felt more agile on tight, twisty roads.

Competitors to the 2015 Chrysler 300 include other full-size sedans including the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus and Toyota Avalon. Those interested in the top-of-the-line Platinum trim might also consider sportier and similarly priced (yet smaller) Cadillac CTS.

Model Lineup

Chrysler 300 Limited ($31,395) 300S ($34,895); 300C ($37,895); 300C Platinum ($42,395)

Walk Around

The 2015 Chrysler 300 looks cleaner and more modern compared with the 2014 model, with revised styling that brings it more in line with the smaller Chrysler 200 for increased visual brand continuity. Most noticeably, the imposing, mesh front grille is 33 percent larger than the outgoing model and features the Chrysler wing logo floating in the middle. It’s flanked by new headlamps that include LED daytime running lights. The redesigned front-end also gets new LED fog lamps. The sportier S model gets a black chrome mesh grille, as well as black headlamp surrounds.

The side view of the Chrysler 300 hasn’t changed much for 2015. Large, highly sculpted wheel arches anchor each end of the car, with a high character line that runs straight from the front wheel over the door handles and into the tail lights. Wheel sizes and designs vary depending on trim level and equipment, ranging from 18-inch alloys to 20-inch black aluminum wheels. The 300S is distinguished by its aggressive side sills.

From the rear, the Chrysler 300 looks wide and substantial. For 2015, new LED tail lamps, which resemble those on the Chrysler 200, feature a bright ring around the perimeter. The rear of the 300 has a slightly lifted look. 300S V8 models get a decklid spoiler. New twin integrated exhaust tips have a more horizontal shape for 2015, replacing the round tips used on the 2014 model.

Interior

The interior of the 2015 Chrysler 300 is the best yet. Interior designers say they wanted the cabin to be a place of contrasts, between old-world styling and the latest technology. They seemed to have achieved their aim, with a cabin that uses classic and tasteful color combinations, large color displays and many connectivity features.

For 2015, Chrysler 300 comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission controlled by a rotary knob instead of the traditional gear shifter used on the 2014 model. The knob is easy to use and opens up more space in the cabin, creating an airy feeling between driver and passenger. 2015 Chrysler 300S and Platinum models get steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Fit, finish and materials are some of the best in the class, beating the Ford Taurus, which, generally speaking, has grown long in the tooth. We find the Chrysler 300’s design even more tasteful than that of the Chevrolet Impala, which is greatly improved over its previous generation. Chrysler 300 Limited models get upscale features like dual-zone climate control, leather trim and a glossy wood trim finish.

300C Platinum models are the most luxurious, with gorgeous, hand-sanded matte wood accents and leather trim crafted by Poltrona Frau, the Italian furniture company that also upholsters exotic cars, including the latest Porsche Panamera Exclusive edition.

300S interiors get unique seats and interior trim, though we found them more spartan and noticeably less luxurious than their C and Platinum counterparts.

All Chrysler 300 models feature a color touch screen for the center stack that uses Chrysler’s Uconnect interface. We find the Chrysler Uconnect system more user-friendly than My Ford Touch, though we prefer the menus and layout of Chevrolet MyLink, which uses capacitive touch and includes a locking storage compartment behind the screen. To keep with the old-world tradition, the Chrysler 300 features an analog clock atop its display.

On the instrument cluster, a new digital TFT display sits between the analog speedometer and tachometer, showing speed, navigation instructions, vehicle information and more. While the display is large and easy to read, the trip odometer and speed displays are on separate screens, preventing the driver from seeing both at once.

Seats are roomy, comfortable and well cushioned, good for freeway cruising and road trips. Heated, power front seats are standard, and ventilated front seats come on 300C and Platinum models.

Rear seats have plenty of leg- and headroom, on-par with the class. Two USB ports in the rear of the center console let rear passengers charge their phones and other devices. Cargo space for the Chrysler 300 measures 16.3 cubic feet, less than both the Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus, though the standard 60/40-split folding rear seats make it possible to carry more if needed.

Driving Impressions

The electric power steering feels smooth and comfortable, and appropriate for a car of this size. A new sport mode on Platinum and V8-powered models helps even further with performance and handling. Drivers can choose between normal, comfort and sport settings, which adjusts steering, throttle and shift points. In sport mode, we found the Chrysler 300 felt more agile on tight, twisty turns.

Active safety features on the 2015 Chrysler 300 are competitive with most luxury brands, and include adaptive cruise control, which can bring the car to a full stop, and can even automatically get the car moving again in stop-and-go traffic (provided the car is stopped for less than two seconds at a time). Forward collision warning will fully stop the car at speeds of less than 20 mph, and lane departure warning with lane keep assist will steer the car back into its lane if the driver accidentally veers. Sensitivity for all of these features can be adjusted; they can also be turned off completely.

We took a 2015 Ford Taurus on a competitive drive, and found it lacking in nearly every way compared to the Chrysler 300. In comparison, the steering and handling felt sloppy, and although we had good power from Ford’s V6, it felt uninspired. In a subsequent drive in the Chevrolet Impala, which we also like, we found it felt more like a big car, with not quite as much pep off the line as the Chrysler 300’s V6.

Fuel economy for the 2015 Chrysler 300 is good for a car of its size. Rear-wheel-drive V6 models achieve an EPA-estimated 19/31 mpg City/Highway, while all-wheel-drive V6 models are rated at 18/27 mpg. Understandably, V8-powered models don’t fare nearly as well, with an EPA rating of 16/25 mpg City/Highway.

The 2015 Chrysler 300 is a top choice in the large sedan segment with bold styling, ample power, a luxurious cabin and available all-wheel-drive.

New Car Test Drive correspondent Laura Burstein filed this report after driving 2015 Chrysler 300 models near Austin, Texas.

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