Comparison: 2011 Chrysler 300 Limited vs. 2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 vs. 2011 Toyota Avalon Limited

Matt Tierney

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.

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.

there are quite a number of gentlemen turning over in their graves right now to find out a chrysler 300 is being compared to the likes of a hyundai and toyota. whoda thunk it back in 1958? when this was considered luxury of the cadillac, imperial, lincoln category? Makes you wonder what chrysler was thinking doesnt it? They really should stop producing cars or at least stop using the name that once was likened to luxury and performance.
Why do journalists continue to use phrases such as "American swagger" and "American muscle" to describe cars produced in Canada? Is it because Canada is in North America?
I'd take the Genesis everyday of the week over the Mopar. I like the Avalon but the Genesis has more of the styling I prefer.
Amazing, every other article I have read puts the 300 in forst place. The interior of the 300 is definitely more upscale than th Hyundai and makes the Toyota seem cheap. The Chrsyler is the only one in the group with true luxry car underpinnings, the chassis is an E Class, the old reliable 5 speed automatic ia a Benz units, as is the suspension and steering. I own an 05 Magnum R/T, built with the same parts, 130,000 miles and completely reliable. Buy the Mopar.
@Bran0Where are numbers for the 2012 Genesis V6? I'm guessing it's quieter than the R spec, and I believe the 2012 has additional sound insulation. Test drove the Genesis V6 a few years ago and it was very quiet. The way I see it, the 300 could well have the noisiest cabin in this company.
Some observations seems to be a little fishy.Insideline tests showed that 300 is significantly quieter.Road noise @70mph cruise2012 Genesis R spec - 64.1db2009 Genesis V6 - 63.5db2011 Chrysler 300 V6 - 61.5db 2011 Bentley Mulsanne - 60.1dbTop Gear review of 300c over rough British roads, and we all know how they "like" American cars."Quieter than a submarine with its engines off, and with a ride quality that would make a magic carpet seem harsh, the new 300 now does luxury-car waft better than cars 10 times its price."
A fair article that seems to cover many aspects of the trade for the large sedan segment. However, this part is absurd => "The 300 also admits the most road and wind noise to the cabin." This not only ontradicts every other review of the 2011 300 but also the ones with similar comparo's to the Genesis and/or Avalon. Automobile MAG should either post their recorded decibels numbers (at idle and speed) to back this or have their testers hearing checked!
The Hyundai looks like the box the Toyota came in minus the Toyota emblem Give me the Chrysler anyday over these two losers.

New Car Research

Find reviews, photos & pricing for:

Chrysler 300

Toyota Avalon

Hyundai Genesis

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price


new cars

Read Related Articles