By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.3
Chrysler’s 300 sedan for 2016 hearkens back to a time when big, rear-drive, V8-powered cars ruled the American highways. Loaded with the most advanced technology and safety features, the 300 is superior to its ancestors, and with its Hemi-powered V8, runs circles around competitors like the Toyota Avalon, Hyundai Azera and Chevy Impala. The 300’s rear-drive setup (RWD) delivers the kind of performance enthusiasts prefer, but its available all-wheel drive (AWD) is there for those who must regularly deal with snow and ice. What really sets the 300 apart from other sedans in this class is its interior. Elegant even in base guise, the 300 serves up more variety, more color and more upscale options than some full-blown luxury sedans.
If you’re seeking a roomy family sedan that looks and behaves like a high-performance luxury car, the 2016 Chrysler 300 sedan is it. From its elegant interiors to its powerful engine lineup to its impressive handling, the 300 truly stands apart.
KBB Expert Ratings
For 2016, Chrysler’s 300 Limited Anniversary sedan commemorates the company’s 90th anniversary. A new SafteyTec Plus package adds full-speed collision warning, while the 300S gains an enhanced suspension and tire package. The UConnect system gets new features like Drag and Drop, Siri Eyes Free and Do Not Disturb.
Chrysler’s new 300 sedan can be summed up with a few choice words. Comfortable, quiet and powerful, the 300 offers plenty of gusto, even from its base V6 engine. The...
... available 363-horsepower Hemi V8 delivers heart-stopping acceleration, although we’re still not thrilled with the way the 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission manages gear changes. It pauses too long in some cases and doesn’t downshift fast enough in others. Straight-line performance is outstanding in the 300, but on models other than the 300S, cornering is not its most admirable quality. Although the 300 can easily outmaneuver a Toyota Avalon or Hyundai Azera, it’s no match for the Chevrolet SS or Dodge Charger. Somewhat improving matters is a Sport mode standard on the 300S and 300C Platinum that tweaks the response from the steering, throttle and transmission shift points.
Purists love a car driven by its rear wheels, but in today’s family-sedan market such a creature is almost impossible to find. The 300 gladly sends power to its rear wheels, freeing the front wheels to focus solely on the mission of steering.
PREMIUM FEATURES, NON-PREMIUM PRICE
For its roughly $33,000 price tag, the 300 comes packed with features. Even the most basic model includes an excellent 8.4-inch UConnect touch screen, heated front seats and leather upholstery.
Faithful to its raison d'etre, the 2016 Chrysler 300's 5-passenger interior is comfortable and roomy. At over 40 inches, rear-seat legroom is especially commendable. The driver's seat is a great place to work, and higher trims add convenient features like a power-adjustable steering wheel and heated/ventilated seats. Front-seat passengers, though, may feel crowded by the hump that houses part of the 300's powertrain. At over 16 cubic feet, the 300's trunk is large, and the rear seats fold in a 60/40 split for added cargo flexibility. Don't fear if you can't initially find the gear selector. It's actually a space-saving rotary dial.
Over the years the 300 has softened from the brooding toughness it exhibited a decade ago. This latest generation is not as blocky, with a front end that's more tapered than its snub-nosed predecessor. The 2016 300's exterior design has evolved to include a new grille showcasing a "floating" winged badge, a more sculpted front fascia, and an updated rear with LED taillights. The more sporting 300S models have blacked-out elements that aim to convey an imposing presence. One aspect that remains constant is the 300's high beltline, an element that maintains aggressive elegance.
In addition to the 8.4-inch touch-screen display with Chrysler's easy-to-use Uconnect information and entertainment system, all models come with a snazzy 7-inch driver-information display between the analog tachometer and speedometer. The base 300 Limited also includes dual-zone climate control, 12-way-power driver's seat, keyless entry, dash-mounted analog clock and 17-inch cast aluminum-alloy wheels. Entertainment is provided by a 6-speaker AM/FM/satellite radio with USB input and Bluetooth streaming. Higher trims come with rearview camera, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, finer-grade leather interior, heated and cooled front seats and heated and cooled cup holders, navigation and power-operated rear sunshade.
A variety of packages and individual options is available for the 2016 Chrysler 300, some varying across the Chrysler's four trim levels. Among them are upgraded audio systems by Alpine, Beats or harman/kardon. Optional safety and driver-assist features include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning. Traction-enhancing all-wheel drive is available across trims on V6 models. In addition to more aggressive interior and exterior design cues, the sportier 300S models come with paddle shifters and performance-tuned suspension. The Platinum trim is loaded with quilted Nappa leather seats, hand-sanded wood accents and 20-inch wheels.
The 2016 Chrysler 300 comes with the highly lauded 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 as standard across all four trims. In 300S models it has slightly more power – 300 horsepower vs. the usual 292. AWD is optional with this engine. Available on the three higher trim levels is a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine good for 363 horsepower. Both engines are connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is rated up to 31 mpg highway, commendable for such a large car. The powerful V8 is markedly lower, achieving a high of 25 mpg. Cars with either engine can run on regular unleaded, though mid-grade 89 octane is recommended for the V8. With either engine the 300 is rated to tow up to 1,000 pounds.
292 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
300 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm (300S sport model)
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
264 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm (300S sport model)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/31 mpg (RWD), 18/27 mpg (AWD)
363 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
394 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 mpg
The 2016 Chrysler 300 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $32,890 for a Limited model. At the other end of the spectrum, the top-line Chrysler 300 Platinum edition begins at $43,440. Adding all-wheel drive to V6 models is an additional $2,500. The rear-drive-only Hemi V8 option is an extra $3,000. Fully loaded, a Chrysler 300 can hover near the $50,000 mark. At its starting price, a new Chrysler 300 is several thousand more than a Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Impala, and less than the Toyota Avalon and Hyundai Azera. Before buying, check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Chrysler 300. On the resale front, the big Chrysler's value has traditionally not held up as well as that of the Avalon, Azera or Impala.