2011 Chrysler 300

Touring RWD 4-Dr Sedan V6 auto trans

2011 chrysler 300 Reviews and News

2011 Chrysler 300C Right Side View
When the original Chrysler 300 debuted in 2005 (make that the modern original, as the nameplate first appeared in 1955), it was a dramatic affirmation that the classic American sedan -- a big, rear-wheel-drive, V-8 -- could still be relevant, rather than just some hoary old throwback suitable only for sunbelt geezers and the livery trade. With its blocky, vaguely Bentley-esque design, the car was an immediate hit. It was a darling of today's tastemakers, the hip-hop crowd, and was frequently customized. Much was made of the fact that Snoop Dogg phoned up then-Chrysler president Dieter Zetsche ("Doctor Z") looking to get one.
2011 Chrysler 300C Front View
In, then out
In the years following, the fervor over the 300's styling inevitably cooled, and people began to take a more critical look at the car underneath. Although the 300 still represented the best of Chrysler Corporation, it was not immune from the problems that were rife throughout the company's lineup, including painfully penny-pinched interiors, rudimentary chassis tuning, and plentiful road noise. Buyers who didn't step up to the Hemi V-8 also suffered with one of two V-6 engines that were underpowered and coarse.
Given Chrysler's tumultuous bankruptcy and new ownership under Fiat, it's safe to say that expectations for the revamped 300 were not high. The new 300, however, has proven to be one of the nicest surprises of the year. It's a far more worthy example of Chrysler's back-from-the-brink ethos than the 200, which was used in the award-winning "Imported from Detroit" TV commercial.
More changed than it appears
The reworked sheetmetal appears at first to be just a tweaking, but it actually incorporates significant changes, such as a less upright windshield and less massive pillars, both of which aid visibility. The car also wears a lot more jewelry, with LED daytime running lights, LED taillamps, and a more chrome-heavy visage.
The more evident changes are inside. Again, the visuals are brighter and glitzier, starting with a standard 8.4-inch touch-screen that incorporates a variety of controls -- a few too many, actually, although there are large knobs and some physical buttons for important HVAC and audio functions. The other good news is that the screen's touch points are large and the logic is clear. Gauges with thick chrome surrounds and bright blue LED lighting (day or night) also makes quite a visual impression, and real wood trim is liberally used, including on the thick rim of the steering wheel. The oversize seats are comfortable, the optional leather is high quality, and soft-touch surfaces abound. Doctor Z and his cohorts wouldn't recognize this cabin.
The list of standard and available features is long. Options include adaptive HID headlamps, blind-spot warning and rear cross-path detection, adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, and a panoramic sunroof. Standard items (on the 300C) include heated and ventilated seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, power steering column, heated and cooled cup holders, Nappa leather, keyless ignition and remote start, navigation, a backup camera, and LED ambient interior lighting. Obviously, one of the lessons of the Daimler/Cerberus years that had to be unlearned was that one should be stingy with standard equipment.
More than skin deep
The reworking of the 300, however, goes deeper than upgrading the interior and adding a lot more equipment. There's been some reengineering of the car underneath, and that's noticeable too, once you drive it. There's a new electric power steering system, and it's tuned well enough -- precise and well weighted -- that it easily could pass for hydraulic. The suspension has been revamped, and on the 300C AWD, which has the Touring-tuned Suspension (larger anti-roll bars and firmer dampers), it felt pleasantly tied-down but still delivered an exceptionally comfortable ride -- particularly given the standard 19-inch wheels. Engineers also threw a bunch of noise-reduction measures at the car, and indeed it is a quiet cruiser.
The V-8 powertrain essentially carries over, and the much-vaunted Hemi and the five-speed automatic turn out to be one of the weakest aspects of the new car. The Hemi is still sweet sounding and powerful (363 hp) but it has a pretty big drinking habit, although at least it's satisfied with regular. The optional all-wheel-drive system exacerbates the situation, despite its ability to disconnect from the front wheels when operating in rear-wheel-drive mode. Also, the V-8/AWD car, at 4513 pounds, carries an additional 500-plus pounds compared to the six-cylinder, rear-wheel-drive version.
Still, as an example of a true, American-style luxury car, the 300 pretty much stands alone. Lincoln doesn't make a car like this. Cadillac (!) doesn't make a car like this (the CTS may be good but it's determinedly Euro). The 300's formula is one your dad would recognize: a powerful V-8, rear-wheel drive, a roomy interior, plenty of flash, lots of gadgetry, and solid street presence. The most surprising thing about the 300 is that all the chrome and leather, all the electronics and LEDs, do not feel like a thin veneer of glitz papering over a cheap substrate. The car is quiet, the powertrain is smooth, the steering is direct, the seats are firm, and the ride quality is good.
Thirst and weight are negatives, but the new 300 earns its swagger. But with this test example, the 300C AWD (the most expensive version), starting at $41,145 and maxing out at $46,880 with options, the question becomes: Does it have $46,880 worth of swagger? I think the 300 is getting ahead of itself at those prices. It's unlikely anyone actually pays those prices given Chrysler's hefty incentives (currently averaging more than $3000), but still. It may be that the much-improved new V-6 -- which for 2012 comes with an eight-speed automatic -- is the way to go, as it deflates the sticker and dramatically improves fuel economy. Indeed, that's the version that stars in the 300's own "Imported from Detroit" commercial. There are those who quibble that the 300 is made in Ontario, and that Jay-Z, whose music is used in the 300 commercial, is not a Detroiter. But I'd argue that the spot is still impactful, and this car is too.
2011 Chrysler 300C AWD
2011 Chrysler 300C Rear Right Side View
Base price (with destination): $41,145
Price as tested: $46,880
Standard Equipment:
5.7-liter V-8
5-speed automatic transmission
Four-wheel drive
Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and Brake Assist
Traction control
Stability control
Hill start assist
Keyless entry and ignition
Remote start
Dual front, side curtain, and driver's knee air bags
Active head restraints
Cruise control
Rain-sensing wipers
Leather-trimmed seats
8-way power seats
Heated front and rear seats
Ventilated front seats
Wood and leather steering wheel w/audio controls
Power windows
Power rear sunshade
U-Connect touch-screen navigation
Voice controls
Back up camera
XM satellite radio
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Fog lamps
Dual chrome exhaust tips
19-inch wheels
Options on this vehicle:
Ivory tri-coat pearl exterior paint - $995
Sound group 1 - $650

9 amplified speakers with subwoofer
506-watt amplifier
SafetyTec - $2795 Power multi-function mirrors with manual fold-away
Automatic headlamp leveling system
Bi-Xenon adaptive HID headlamps
Rear fog lamps
Forward collision warning
ParkSense front/rear park assist system
Blind spot and cross path detection
Adaptive cruise control
Exterior mirrors with supplemental signals and courtesy lamps
Dual-pane panoramic sunroof - $1295
Key options not on vehicle:
Fuel economy:
15 / 23 / 18 mpg
5.7L V-8
Horsepower: 363 hp @ 5200 rpm
Torque: 394 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm
5-speed automatic
Curb weight: 4513 lb
19.0 x 7.5 inch wheels
235/55R19 Michelin Pilot MK MXM4 tires
Hyundai Genesis
Lincoln MKS
Nissan Maxima
Volvo S60
2011 Chrysler 300 Limited 2012 Hyundai Genesis 3 8 2011 Toyota Avalon Limited Front View Parked
If you’re looking for a car that can keep passengers comfortable, entertain the driver, and look sharp at the golf club, the best bet is a full-size, V-6-powered sedan like the three we’ve gathered here -- all priced at around $40,000
2011 Chrysler 300 Limited 2012 Hyundai Genesis 3 8 2011 Toyota Avalon Limited Front View 2
The Hyundai Genesis arrived on American shores for model year 2009, and just three years later has undergone a hefty refresh. The 2012 Genesis benefits from new fascias, restyled headlights, new wheels, larger brakes, and a revised suspension. Its base 3.8-liter V-6 gains 15 percent more power, for a total of 333 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque, thanks to the addition of direct injection. The new model year also brings Hyundai’s new eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Genesis 3.8 starts at $35,050. On top of that, our car had the $4000 Technology package, which adds a 17-speaker sound system, navigation, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, parking sensors, heated rear seats, and a cooled driver’s seat; and the $4800 Premium package, which includes a sunroof, power rear sunshade, power folding mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, a backup camera, and 18-inch wheels. Our tester’s final sticker price was thus $43,050.
Chrysler launched the second-generation 300 for 2011, and its basic recipe remains the same as when the 300 first debuted in 2004: a luxurious, all-American rear-wheel-drive sedan with a choice of thrifty V-6 and brawny V-8 engines. The new base engine is Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, offering 292 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission.
Our tester was a Chrysler 300 Limited V-6, which stickered for $31,195 before options, which included the $2795 SafetyTec package consisting of power folding mirrors, adaptive HID headlights, parking sensors, collision- and blind-spot warning systems, and adaptive cruise control; a $1295 panoramic sunroof; and the $795 UConnect touch-screen navigation and entertainment interface. Our 300 also had the $3250 Luxury group with niceties like leather seats, LED interior lighting, a power sunshade, heated and cooled front seats, and heated and cooled cup holders. With all its options, our tester’s sticker price climbed to $42,770.
The Toyota Avalon is the only front-wheel-drive sedan in this group. This iteration of the Avalon was introduced in model year 2005 and was refreshed for 2011. The update brought a new grille, rear bumper, revised interior trimmings, and restyled wheels. A 3.5-liter V-6 provides 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque, which is routed through a six-speed automatic transmission.
We opted for the $36,445 Avalon Limited with the $1450 Navigation and Premium Audio package, which includes a touch-screen navigation system, backup camera, 12-speaker sound system, plus iPod and Bluetooth connectivity; and the $393 Preferred Accessory package, which nets carpeted floor mats, a first-aid kit, and a glass-breakage sensor for the alarm. The as-tested price was $38,884 -- the cheapest of the bunch.
Which of these full-size V-6 sedans deserves your hard-earned paycheck? Read on to find out how the three cars stack up.
Curb Appeal
When it comes to sheer panache and visual presence, the Chrysler 300 wins hands-down. Its muscular lines, LED-accented headlights, and optional 20-inch wheels add up to a car that exudes far more presence than the Toyota and Hyundai. The front three-quarter view may be worth the price tag alone: a flashy chrome grille and squared-off headlights lead into broad shoulder lines than run the length of the bulky car.
Sitting in the Chrysler 300 can feel a bit dark and gloomy, as our tester was filled with dark leather and burled-wood trim. The dashboard and center console are upscale and attractive, showing that Chrysler really put effort into refreshing the 300 for 2011. Although the gauges are ornately trimmed in chrome and the cabin is swathed in blue LED lighting, many of us think the interior looks a bit overdone. Nice touches include heated-and-cooled cup holders and a big panoramic sunroof.
With the Genesis, Hyundai has taken a more European approach to luxury-car styling, producing a car that looks compact and taut next to the bloated Chrysler. Smart creases border the grille and run across the hood into the car’s A-pillars. Its profile is accented by subtle chrome strips, and head- and taillights that wrap onto the fenders. Some of our staff feel the exterior is too plain and that Hyundai could have gone a little further with the 2012 refresh.
Sitting inside the Hyundai Genesis reveals an interior following the same styling mantra as the outside: stylish and upscale. Leather and aluminum trim pieces mix with soft-touch plastics and smart switchgear. The cabin feels special and looks expensive without flashing its luxury pretentions in your face. Again, some of us think the interior is starting to look dated and deserved a more thorough freshening for 2012.
We were least taken with the styling of the Toyota Avalon, which struck us as bland and generic. The Avalon's profile is the quintessential shape of a car: a hood, a passenger compartment, a trunk, and four wheels. Although it looks somewhat like the Genesis from the side, the Avalon's plain lighting designs, massive C-pillar, and protruding trunk aren't as pretty as the Hyundai. Colleagues noted that the Avalon vanished in their rear-view mirrors, a testament to the car's anonymity on the road. The Toyota's derivative looks mean it will never stand out from the crowd in a parking lot.
The Toyota Avalon has a spacious interior, but its dashboard layout looks the same as Toyotas from a decade earlier. In true Toyota fashion, the switchgear and gauges are arranged sensibly in a marvel of ergonomics. Perhaps to cater to the older generation known for buying the Avalon, the controls are labeled in a size-24 font.
Advantage: Chrysler 300
Power Brokers
The Hyundai Genesis’ drivetrain provides the best combination of speed and smoothness in this pack. The V-6, which for 2012 gained direct injection for more precise control of fuel delivery, is now more efficient and more powerful than the 2011 Genesis. The engine is quiet, and the eight-speed automatic provides quick yet smooth shifts. Yet the engine is remarkably responsive when pushed, providing dramatic performance and sporty exhaust note. The Genesis is by far the quickest sedan here, easily pulling away from the Toyota and Chrysler on a blast through the rural roads south of our office.
2011 Chrysler 300 Limited 2012 Hyundai Genesis 3 8 2011 Toyota Avalon Limited Front View
The 3.5-liter V-6 under the hood of the Toyota Avalon is perhaps the smoothest and most mellifluous of this test. Though the engine and transmission are tuned primarily for comfort, the Avalon is surprisingly quick. The front-wheel-drive chassis struggles with the engine’s power, so it’s easy to accidentally squeal the front tires from a stop. The automatic transmission is decently responsive in Sport -- and yes, were surprised that the pedestrian Avalon even has a Sport mode. Left in Drive, the transmission delivers gear changes gently and without fuss.
In spite of horsepower and torque ratings that are mid-pack, the Chrysler 300 is noticeably slower than the other two cars. This lethargy is due in part to the fact that the 300 is the heaviest car in this trio. The blame can also be attributed to the aging five-speed automatic transmission (although an eight-speed is coming for 2012). The tall gears are optimized for fuel economy at the expense of acceleration. The 300 feels lazy when pushed, especially so because its transmission is hesitant to downshift. Chrysler’s V-6 was also the only engine to transmit vibration to the driver at idle.
Fuel economy is comparable among all of the cars. The Genesis is EPA-rated at 19 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, while the Avalon receives scores of 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. The 300’s weight and transmission once again penalize it on the consumption front, as the Chrysler returns just 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
Advantage: Hyundai Genesis
Behind the Wheel
These sedans are far from sports cars, as they prioritize occupant comfort over corner carving. But the Hyundai Genesis still imparts some fun to the driver, and feels lithe when asked to navigate twisting roads. Upgrades for 2012 include beefier brakes and firmer anti-roll bars, making it a willing companion for enthusiastic driving. The Hyundai’s steering provides a decent amount of weight and feedback for this car’s class. The Genesis’ suspension strikes a balance between that of the Toyota and the Chrysler, providing more insulation than the 300 from road imperfections yet a slightly firmer ride than the Avalon.
The Chrysler 300 feels solid and composed on the road. Its firm suspension and wide tires (the widest of this trio) keep the car under control, along with strong brakes and decent feel from the chunky steering wheel. While its handling responses are respectable, the Chrysler’s weight precludes it from feeling as energetic as the Hyundai. Although the ride is generally pleasant, it can be jarring over severe bumps and doesn’t feel quite as settled as the Toyota. The 300 also admits the most road and wind noise to the cabin.
The Toyota Avalon’s chassis is tuned for comfort rather than sport, meaning the Toyota wobbles and rolls in sharp corners. It is ill-suited to enthusiastic driving: one staffer even got the front brakes smoking after a few high-speed stops. Still, these are meant to be luxury cars, and the Avalon’s creamy ride allows it to float over bumps of all shapes and sizes. The Toyota’s sloppy dynamics disappointed our lead-footed staffers, but it undeniably has the most cosseting ride in this group.
Advantage: Hyundai Genesis
Taking A Back Seat
If you’re going on a long trip, the Toyota Avalon is indubitably the car to choose. Three adults can sit comfortable in the back seat, where they will find themselves almost totally isolated from road and wind noise. The rear seatback even reclines a few degrees. Though on paper it has the smallest volume at 14.4 cubic feet, the Avalon’s trunk is still commodious enough to swallow several large suitcases. A generously sized interior and plush seats make this the most comfortable car in our comparison.
2011 Toyota Avalon Limited Front View
It’s the Chrysler 300, though, that can hold the most cargo, with a plentiful 16.3 cubic feet of trunk space on offer. Our tester’s leather bucket seats are exceptionally comfortable, and the rear seat offers cavernous leg and headroom. However, the rear seats are low compared to the high beltline, making some shorter passengers feel claustrophobic.
The Hyundai’s back seat is the tightest, although that’s a relative term as there is still plenty of space for six-foot passengers. A low beltline and large windows mean the Genesis feels light and airy in the back. At 15.9 cubic feet, trunk space in the Hyundai is midway between that of the Avalon and the 300.
Advantage: Toyota Avalon
The Digital Divide
Chrysler’s array of in-car technologies is the most comprehensive in this test. The optional eight-inch Uconnect touch-screen interface has clear, bright graphics and a logical control layout. The system can even operate the climate control, though many staffers prefer the physical HVAC knobs located on the center stack. The system’s one demerit is that the screen requires a firm push to register touches. The optional SafetyTec package includes adaptive cruise and lane-departure systems, like the Genesis, adding two other safety features. A blind-spot warning system chimes loudly if the driver signals while another vehicle is in the 300’s blind spot, and forward collision warning sounds an alarm if the driver is about to rear-end another vehicle.
Of our three sedans, the Avalon has the smallest selection of driver aids and in-car gadgets, likely due in part to the car’s age. Though it’s available with Bluetooth, a touch-screen navigation system, a backup camera, and push-button start, the Toyota lacks several modern safety and convenience toys found on the other cars. Its touch-screen audio and navigation interface has blocky graphics that look dated, but the menus are easy to use.
The Genesis’ Technology package bundles two new safety features, adaptive cruise control and a lane-departure warning system. The former uses radar to keep pace with other cars on the highway: if the car in front slows, the cruise control automatically decelerates. Lane-departure warning uses cameras to monitor lane markings, warning the driver if he or she accidentally drifts out of the lane. The Genesis’ audio and navigation system is controlled via a rotary dial and several buttons on the center console, rather than a touch screen. The interface already felt outdated when the car bowed in 2009, and still feels unnecessarily complex. Given that cars without the Technology package feature a touch screen instead of the control knob, we wish that our upgraded tester would offer both control methods.
Advantage: Chrysler 300
And The Winner Is...
In spite of their many similarities, each of these sedans excels in a different area. The Hyundai’s enthusiastic performance, precise handling, and understated exterior provide the best combination of sportiness and refinement. It’s our choice in this group. Think of the Genesis as a cut-price Mercedes-Benz or BMW.
The Chrysler 300 will satisfy the driver looking to make a big impression on others. The 300 emerges from the factory in Ontario with an all-American swagger that can and does turn heads in parking lots. The 300 is the car that will most impress your neighbors, with to its masculine styling and glitzy trimmings. Though the 300 is fun and luxurious, it never feels quite as refined or complete as the Hyundai Genesis. The driving experience may improve somewhat when the new eight-speed automatic arrives. It should yield improved fuel economy and livelier acceleration.
Driving the Toyota Avalon is like eating mashed potatoes: it reliably serves a purpose, but won’t hold your interest for very long. There is no denying that the Avalon is the most comfortable, roomiest, and most genteel of these three cars. It wafts along highways and provides an ideal conveyance in which to shuttle five adults and luggage. However, there is no excitement to be had behind the wheel of an Avalon. The next version of the Avalon will arrive for model year 2012 with a litany of revisions and upgrades. Perhaps the new model will appeal to our enthusiast side as much as the current car keeps us comfortable.
2011 Chrysler 300 Limited 2012 Hyundai Genesis 3 8 2011 Toyota Avalon Limited Front Right Side View
2011 Chrysler 300 Limited V-6
Base Price:
Price as Tested: $42,770
3.6-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6
Horsepower: 292 hp @ 6350 rpm
Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Drive: Rear-wheel
L x W x H:
198.6 x 75.0 x 58.7 in
Legroom F/R: 41.8/40.1 in
Headroom F/R: 36.9/36.9 in
Cargo capacity: 16.3 cu ft
Curb Weight: 4006 lb
EPA Rating (city/highway): 18/27 mpg
2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8
Base Price:
Price as Tested: $43,050
3.8-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6
Horsepower: 333 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 291 lb-ft at 5100 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: Rear-wheel
L x W x H:
196.3 x 74.4 x 58.3 in
Legroom F/R: 44.3/38.6 in
Headroom F/R: 40.4/37.7 in
Cargo capacity: 15.9 cu ft
Curb Weight: 3824 lb
EPA Rating (city/highway): 19/29 mpg
2011 Toyota Avalon Limited
Base Price:
Price as Tested: $38,884
3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6
Horsepower: 268 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 248 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Drive: Front-wheel
L x W x H:
197.6 x 72.8 x 58.5 in
Legroom F/R: 41.3/40.9 in
Headroom F/R: 38.9/37.5 in
Cargo capacity: 14.4 cu ft
Curb Weight: 3616 lb
EPA Rating (city/highway): 20/29 mpg
2011 Chrysler 300 Promo
It was December 2008, mere weeks after former chairman Robert Nardelli pleaded with the U.S. Congress for bailout funding for Chrysler Corporation. The company was up against the ropes, sales were tanking along with the economy, and the product lineup was heavy on misses, light on hits. An increasingly desperate Chrysler invited the usual scrum of automotive journalists, pundits, and analysts to the company's design dome in Auburn Hills for a sneak peek of the next-generation Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans, among other future models, in an attempt to prove that this was a car company and a roster of products that were worth saving. There on the dome floor sat two draped vehicles; there was no time or inclination for such niceties as elevated turntables. The drapes were unceremoniously peeled away, revealing two crisply executed sedans that were distinctly American and clearly related to the existing cars, yet substantially different. It was immediately evident that these were not just pinpoints of light in Chrysler's gathering darkness, they were kliegs, and they were vivid proof of the talent that resided in the vast Chrysler headquarters complex even through the years of Daimler mismanagement. To quote Madonna, they had style, they had grace. In those grim days, though, we weren't sure if they had a chance in hell of ever seeing the showroom floor.
2011 Chrysler 300 Front Three Quarter In Motion
We all know what happened in the intervening two years, and you probably already know that these two sedans did make it out of the design studios and into the public spotlight. We drove the handsome new Dodge Charger two months ago, and now we've been behind the wheel of the Chrysler 300, which is trailing the Charger to showrooms. How much is riding on the 300's shoulders? We'd say nothing less than the entire Chrysler brand, as the division cannot survive on Town & Country minivan sales alone.
Happily, the new 300 not only looks great, it's still a great driver. The previous car's rough edges have been sanded away, as evidenced mainly by the high-caliber cabin and the standard 292-hp, 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with variable valve timing. The previous base engine, an anemic 2.7-liter V-6, wasn't worthy of the car, and the previous optional 3.5-liter V-6 was no class leader, either, leaving only the mighty Hemi V-8 to really get an enthusiast excited. That engine returns in the 300C, but the Pentastar V-6 is powerful enough, and good enough, that we think far fewer buyers will be pining for the Hemi this time around.
Where the previous 300 could make its mark based solely on its styling, its brashness, its rear-wheel-drive chassis, and its allusions to Chrysler history, the second generation delves more deeply into luxury-car territory. Mitch Clauw, chief engineer on the 300, explains that he and his development team benchmarked the Lexus LS460 and the Mercedes-Benz E-class, as well as other premium luxury brands, and surveyed 350 owners of those cars and the original 300 to arrive at 3300 functional attributes that they wished to achieve. The LS was their target for ride quality and NVH, the Mercedes E350 for handling.
2011 Chrysler 300 Front Three Quarter 3
Our first drive impressions indicate that Clauw's team came pretty close to meeting those targets. The 300 is impressively quiet, especially on the freeway. In fact, some 300C buyers might find the car too quiet and wish for a bit more exhaust note and Hemi hum. As for handling, the 300 drives smaller than it is, with good body control; a creamy and controlled ride; and meaty, precise steering. The brake pedal on the 300 has really nice modulation and excellent response, inspiring confidence during our drives in the foothills of southern San Diego County. The 300C, as before, gets bigger front rotors and dual-piston calipers.
We had several opportunities to take real advantage of the Hemi's 363 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque, and although it extracts a 2-mpg penalty over the V-6 (which gets 18/27 city/highway), it sure is nice to have this 5.7-liter beast behind the 300's big, seven-slat grille when you need to pass on a two-lane road. It's just too bad that, although the 300C provides a 160-mph speedometer, a limiter cuts in abruptly at only 118 mph, as we repeatedly found out. Come on, Chrysler, 118 mph is for wimps. At least give us the option of a premium tire package that would enable you to increase V-max. The four 300 trims -- 300, 300 Limited, 300C, and 300C AWD -- are equipped, variably, with seventeen-, eighteen-, nineteen-, and twenty-inch tires, every one of them all-seasons rubber.
Another bummer is the carryover five-speed automatic, a severely dated device with unpredictable responses that does not make the most of the Pentastar's very flat torque curve. Chrysler has confirmed that a ZF eight-speed automatic, the very one used by the big guys in Germany, is on its way, but only for the V-6, not the Hemi. Cannot. Come. Quickly. Enough.
Aside from the gearbox, though, the 300 offers much of what a luxury-sedan buyer might want, aside from a true prestige badge and the inflated price that comes with it. Every conceivable modern safety device is available, including active cruise, blind-spot monitoring, and collision warning. The cabin is elegant and well-proportioned, what Brandon Faurote, head of Chrysler design, calls "more sculptural, fluid, and refined, with less bright trim," than before. The front doors are so big, and open so wide, that it's a stretch to grab the nicely trimmed interior door handle and pull them shut.
2011 Chrysler 300 Front Three Quarters In Motion 2
From the driver's seat, you've got a handsome steering wheel and two ice-blue-lit instruments in the main cluster. There's a big expanse of dashboard and a high cowl, but the top of the windshield is raked back three inches more than before and the A-pillars are thinner, which helps outward visibility. A huge new 8.4-inch touch screen, beautifully integrated into the center stack, has graphics and colors that rival any of its competitors, but then you touch the navigation button and all that loveliness disappears, replaced by the garish colors and graphics of Garmin. Incredibly cheesy. When pressed, Bruce Velisek, the 300's chief marketer, admits that they might move toward two levels of navigation: the Garmin as the cheapie and a more refined interface for more money. Cannot. Come. Quickly. Enough.
We nitpick, but then again, luxury-sedan buyers nitpick. They also have become accustomed in recent years to the availability of all-wheel drive, but the new 300 is coming out of the Brampton, Ontario, assembly plant with AWD available only on the top-spec 300C. The old car offered AWD with the 3.5-liter V-6. Luckily, Chrysler will likely reintroduce AWD and a V-6 for the 300 this fall, probably in conjunction with the eight-speed automatic and just in time for the winter 2012 buying season. Cannot. Come. Quickly. Enough.
Chrysler at that time also hopes to introduce a line of 300 variants that it's currently referring to as the S models. Tim Kuniskis, head of Chrysler marketing, explains that they "are not sport models or trim packages. They are totally different from [the regular 300] yet the same. We're going to give them different wheels and interiors, take out the chrome and wood. They represent design with purpose and a whole lot of attitude." We gather that what they really represent is Chrysler's recognition that the aftermarket has sucked up a lot of modification dollars from Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger buyers, and the company understandably wants a slice of that.
We say, more power to them. The fact that Chrysler can even entertain the notion of such baubles in its lineup is an indication of how far it has come since 2008 and of its prospects for yet another phoenixlike resurrection from the near-dead. Which cannot come quickly enough.
2011 Chrysler 300
Price: $27,995/$31,995/$38,995 (base/Limited/300C)
On sale: Now
Engines: 3.7-liter V-6, 292 hp, 260 lb-ft; 5.7-liter V-8, 363 hp, 394 lb-ft
Drive: Rear- or 4-wheel
Mazda Takeri Concept Front Three Quarter1
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2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Rear Three Quarters
Just as it’s introduced in the V-6 Chargers and 300s for 2012, Chrysler’s new ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission is set to spread through Jeep’s Grand Cherokee lineup, according to a report from the Brits at Autocar. The new ZF-sourced eight-speed recently made its debut on 2012 Pentastar V-6-equipped Chrysler 300s and Dodge Chargers.
2012 Chrysler 300S Rear Three Quarter
Alfa Romeo will launch a rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan in 2014 on the platform of the Chrysler 300. According to Autocar, the new Alfa sedan will serve as a flagship model and will help reintroduce the Italian brand to the American market.
2012 Chrysler 300 Gear Shift
If there was one item that was tough to overcome on the 2011 Chrysler 300 (plus a few other Chrysler cars) it was the ancient five-speed transmission. Great news  -- the 2012 Chrysler 300 debuts the new eight-speed gearbox, which should be smoother and more fuel efficient. So why the delayed rollout of the new gearbox? The narrator in the following commercial explains it like so: “If you’re going to build a fuel efficient car, the first thing you gotta do is make a car worth building. One with character and conviction. That has all the luxury you’d expect. And pride that you can notice from down the street. Then, and only then, do you put in an eight-speed transmission that gets 31 mpg.” Fine. We’re just glad it’s finally here. Keep a look out for our driving impressions of the Chrysler’s new gearbox. Source: YouTube [youtube neq5zZ9vD44]

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2011 Chrysler 300
2011 Chrysler 300
Touring RWD 4-Dr Sedan V6
18 MPG City | 27 MPG Hwy
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2011 Chrysler 300
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2011 Chrysler 300
2011 Chrysler 300
Touring RWD 4-Dr Sedan V6
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2011 Chrysler 300
2011 Chrysler 300
Touring RWD 4-Dr Sedan V6

2011 Chrysler 300 Specifications

Quick Glance:
3.6L V6Engine
Fuel economy City:
18 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
27 MPG
292 hp @ 6350rpm
260 ft lb of torque @ 4800rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
36,000 miles / 36 months
100,000 miles / 60 months
Unlimited miles / 36 months
36,000 miles / 36 months
Recall Date
Potential Units Affected

Recall Date
Potential Units Affected

Recall Date
Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, and Dodge Charger vehicles manufactured April 11, 2011, through December 14, 2011. The affected vehicles may have improperly sized terminal crimps on the seat side-airbag wiring harness which may cause the seat side-airbags to malfunction and illuminate the airbag warning light.
In the event of a crash necessitating airbag deployment the airbags may not operate as designed, increasing the risk of injury.
Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace both driver and passenger seat airbag wiring harnesses, free of charge. The recall began on April 22, 2013. Owners may contact Chrysler at 1-800-247-9753. Chrysler's recall campaign number is N07.
Potential Units Affected
Chrysler Group LLC

Recall Date
Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling certain model year 2011-2014 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Challenger, and Durango; and 2012-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured April 22, 2010, to January 2, 2014, and equipped with a 3.6L engine and a 160 amp alternator. In the affected vehicles, the alternator may suddenly fail.
If the alternator fails, the vehicle may stall without warning, increasing the risk of a crash.
Chrysler has notified owners, and dealers will replace the alternator, free of charge. The recall began on February 27, 2015. Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number for this recall is P60.
Potential Units Affected
Chrysler Group LLC

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