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2012 Chrysler 300

Overview
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2012 Chrysler 300 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 8.8

The 2012 Chrysler 300 sedan is one of the few remaining big, powerful, rear-wheel-drive American luxury sedans, a layout that was once the hallmark of Detroit's Big Three. But, unlike those early giants, this full-size 4-door can handle like a German sport sedan, accelerate like a hyped-up muscle machine, and impress the neighbors as if it cost twice the price. Whereas the last-generation Chrysler 300 had a decidedly gangster feel to it, the 2012 Chrysler 300 sedan has moved uptown, showing softer edges and more tasteful use of chrome trim. The tall doors and narrow windows are still in place, although there is more glass in the rear for improved visibility. However, when riding on 20-inch wheels and clad in gloss black paint, the 2012 Chrysler 300 sedan still lets its tough persona shine through. The new standard Pentastar V6 engine is brilliant, as are the two Hemi V8 engines offered with the 300C and the all-new high-performance 300 SRT8.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you demand your car's interior be as hushed as a library at midnight, the 2012 Chrysler 300 should be at the top of your car shopping list. Among its competitors, including the Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon and Buick LaCrosse, only the 2012 Chrysler 300 sedan offers the superior handling that comes from a rear-drive platform.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While front-wheel drive is better in the snow than rear drive, the 2012 Chrysler 300 does offer all-wheel drive (AWD) on both the V6 and V8 models. Unfortunately, you'll end up paying a lot more than a comparable front-drive competitor and you'll see your gas mileage drop a bit.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Chrysler 300 receives a new 8-speed ZF automatic transmission as well as new S letter series and Luxury Series trim levels. The new transmission is available on the V6 Limited, 300S and AWD models, with the S trim getting a "Sport" shift manual mode. Versions of the Chrysler 300 with the V8 get a new mesh grille, while the "Beats by Dr. Dre" audio system is offered on more models. Model-year 2012 also marks the return of the 300 SRT8, featuring a 6.4-liter Hemi V8, 2-mode adaptive damping suspension and 19-speaker harman/kardon audio system.

Driving the 300

Driving Impressions With its powerful V6 and V8 engines, rear-wheel drive (RWD) platform and performance-tuned suspension, the 2012 Chrysler 300 is arguably the best-handling sedan in the segment (along with its Chrysler...

sibling, the Dodge Charger). But, while we are in love with the car's acceleration and handling, we've also observed that the 2012 Chrysler 300 sedan doesn't return the road feel and steering feedback associated with high-performance sedans. We don't think this will bother most owners, as a car like the 2012 Chrysler 300 sedan is built more for cruising 'cross country than carving up twisting back roads. If performance is your intention, however, the powerful new 300 SRT8 is the sedan you'll want. Its 470-horsepower Hemi V8 can rocket it to 60 mph in under 5 seconds and achieve a top speed of 175 mph. You'll sacrifice some ride comfort and quiet, but the trade-off for the blistering performance the SRT8 offers is something we figure most enthusiasts can accept. The S and Limited trim levels offer interiors as quiet as a Lexus LS 460, or so Chrysler claims, and seemingly as luxurious as an Audi A6. Those who seek the thrill of acceleration will likely choose the Hemi V8 but, in truth, the standard Pentastar V6 is more than adequate in this car, delivering excellent fuel economy and smooth, quiet operation.

The Big Screen
The 2012 Chrysler 300 sedan's big 8.4-inch view screen features clear, easy to read and operate controls for the audio and available navigation. The UConnect Touch infotainment system allows control of an iPod via the steering-wheel remotes or voice activation and features hands-free texting. The available navigation radio also features voice activation, as well as maps by Garmin.

Quiet Highway Ride
The 2012 Chrysler 300 offers a bunch of tech-based features worth highlighting, but the most memorable first impression is the remarkably quiet cabin.
2011 Chrysler 300 Details

2012 Chrysler 300 Details
2012 Chrysler 300 photo Interior

Compared to the last-generation 300, the 2012 sedan's interior is the difference between an army surplus cot and a goose-down feather bed. Gone are the drab gray plastics and hard surfaces, replaced by warm tones, padded armrest and console, and a dazzling array of back-lit instrumentation. If you like thick-rimmed steering wheels, you'll be happy to find in the new Chrysler 300 one of the world's thickest. The flagship 300C Luxury Series models are even more luxurious, offering such items as a leather-stitched dash cap, 2-tone leather seating, and heated and cooling 12-way power seats. Passenger comfort is paramount for the Chrysler 300, which offers generous legroom for both front and rear passengers, but the trade-off is a rather small trunk.

Exterior
2012 Chrysler 300 photo

There is still widespread disagreement amongst our editors about the 2012 Chrysler 300 sedan's new grille. The flat-nose front end and horizontal grille stand in stark contrast to the previous model's protruding egg-crate grille, but the look is growing on us and Chrysler offers a number of aftermarket grilles as well. The familiar 300 silhouette is still easily recognizable, but there is a softer, more mature feel to the design. Intricate details, such as the vertical crease in the rear tail lamps, the chrome air-intake surrounds, and LED daytime running lamps speak to the Chrysler 300's luxury status. The 300 SRT8 makes no such claim, displaying a more monochrome exterior with low ground effects and 7-spoke lightweight forged aluminum wheels. But even the base 300 gets the star treatment, with attractive paint and chrome trim, 17-inch wheels and a host of available upgrades.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The entry-priced 2012 Chrysler 300 sedan is a lot of car for the money, featuring keyless entry and start, a big 8.4-inch touchscreen with climate and music controls, USB/iPod connectivity, dual-zone auto climate control, power driver's seat, one-touch up/down windows all around and a full complement of active and passive safety features. Bluetooth phone connectivity is among the few glaring omissions from the standard equipment list.

Optional Equipment

In addition to the 363-horsepower V8 engine, all-wheel drive, a navigation system and leather seats, a Chrysler 300C AWD loaded with all the options will include an impressive list of high-tech luxuries: Radar-based adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning systems up front, rear cross-path sensors out back, and blind-spot monitoring to help out on the side. In-cabin highlights include heated/cooled cup holders and a 900-watt, 19-speaker harman/kardon audio system.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Chrysler 300's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is the most powerful base engine in the category. The Hemi V8 has just slightly less horsepower than the Ford Taurus' twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, but a substantially larger amount of torque. The SRT8's 6.4-liter monster pumps out 470 horsepower, more than anything in this class. On Limited, S and AWD V6 trims a new 8-speed ZF transmission helps boost fuel economy figures to best in class. All other models employ a 5-speed automatic.

3.6-liter V6
292 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (RWD, 5-speed automatic), 19/31 (RWD, 8-speed automatic), 18/27 (AWD)

5.7-liter V8
363 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
394 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 (RWD), 15/23 (AWD)

6.4-liter V8
465 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
465 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25

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2012 Chrysler 300 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 85 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Best overall car I have owned vs 450SL, 300SD, STS

By on Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "A comparable european auto would cost +$25-50,000"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Tremendous power and acceleration all the way to 120mph. Cruises quietly and like a rock at 160. For its size and weight I have been very competitive in SCCA SOLO events. Comfortably seats 5 full size adults(I mean big, 200-250lbs). Fold down rear seat expands length of cargo items you can haul. Sound system is first class front and rear."

love this fine car

By on Tuesday, September 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,240

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "very stylish and comfortable with all the options."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is one of the best US made cars I have owned. I just drove this Chrysler 300C 1745 miles down to Victorville, Calif and back to Oregon and averaged 33 mpg. I'm a senior 76 and the wife and I were very happy with the cars comfort and performance."

6 people out of 12 found this review helpful

300C - A beautiful driving experience

By on Thursday, August 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,100

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Awesome ride, great luxury value, V6 fuel economy"

Cons: "Early reliability issues (but dealer fixed quick)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I test drove a new Chevy Impala and a new Buick Lacrosse (the two competitors in this large sedan category) and the Chrysler 300C blew them out of the water. Rear wheel drive (Chrysler) versus front wheel drive (Competitors) really makes a big difference in steering and road feel. I bought the car from a dealer out of state and drove it 700 miles back home. I enjoyed the ride so much I was disappointed when the trip ended; I wanted to go on another long trip. One point about the 8 rating on reliability; I have replaced an O2 sensor (Malfunction Light on) and the water pump (making a intermittent squeaking noise) within the first 800 miles. On both times the dealer fixed the issue with no hassle. My fingers are crossed that I have got the bugs out and will enjoy a long and carefree ownership, because I love everything about this car."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

A very nice bend of performance, luxury and value.

By on Saturday, July 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,012

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Very well equiped; great performance"

Cons: "Interior trim pieces coming loose, needs 6 speed"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Very pleasurable performance and luxury at a price that knocks the sox of the imports. Have had not a single mechanical repair in 40,000 miles, though the optional performance tires are good for only about 25,000 miles. My only problem has been with the interior carbon fiber trim separating from the leather. Most everyone who sees the car finds it to be stylish, especially with the black chrome package."

25 people out of 44 found this review helpful

This has been a great car.

By on Saturday, July 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fuel mileage.Fit and Finish"

Cons: "Little less road noise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"My 2012 300s has been a very good car and have had no problems in the 40,000 miles I have driven it. I drive in Dallas stop and go traffic and consistently get 25 to 27 mpg. The pentastar V6 is so smooth that you'll have to look at the tach to see if it is running. The 8 speed transmission shifts so smooth that it's hard to tell that it's changing gears.With 8 gears they have the ratios so close that the rpm doesn't drop much between gear changes and the engine will rapidly buzz up to the 6500 rpm redline so smoothly. The Beats audio my car is equipped with is awesome.If you want to you can rattle the windows with the trunk mounted subwoofer. Chrysler did a great job on the interior.Fit and finish is top notch. About the only negative I can say is maybe road noise through the tires could be a little less.I attribute this to the 20" wheels with low profile tires.Car came equipped with Firestone Firehawk tires wich have held up good but maybe some Michelins might be a little quieter ?"

10 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Love this car! Plan on getting another one.

By on Thursday, July 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, extremely comfortable, very reliable"

Cons: "Haven't found any."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This has to be my favorite car of all that I have owned. And I have owned nice cars, I.e. Cadillac, Lincoln Town Car, etc. the Chrysler 300 tops them all! It's beautiful, reliable, the ride is so smooth and comfortable!"

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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