In one word, the 2012 Chrysler 300 sedan is “gangsta.” It is a fierce four-door car with a no-nonsense look that is aggressive. In my book, the hulky 300 is still one of the best products to come out of the Motor City.
Street Cred Looks
The 300 was given the old overhaul last year and the automaker, trimmed some of the fat from the vehicle’s body. Although the 300’s exterior has been toned down, its exterior is even more appealing, sleeker, it has an athletic look that rings sophistication. Body-color fascia accents and mirrors, combined with black-accent headlight bezels and black chrome horizontal grille blades, a well-raked windshield, smaller headlights that are LED-accented, expansive (optional) dual-pane sunroof and vertical tube tail lamps, all put together in a package that commands stares as it cruises down the street.
The cabin of the 300 is pretty swanky. The premium interior has soft-touch materials, matte carbon fibre touches. The easy-to-read and logical touch screen control interface is one of the most sensible and uncomplicated systems around. Timepiece-faced, LED backlit gauges warm the cabin with their sapphire blue glow.
The seating in the 300 is top-notch, bolstered just right. The room in the front is accommodating for even tall passengers, the headroom is great as well. Those tall folks (over 5’10”) who sit in the rear will definitely have to watch it getting in though (low roofline). Even though Chrysler has given the 300, 50.7 cubic feet of rear seat volume, the talls will still feel a little cramped.
You will love listening to your fave music picks while driving the 300 through the Beats, the first integration of the audio system designed by recording industry great Dr. Dre and music bigwig Jimmy Iovine. The 522-watt, 12-channel amplifier includes 10 speakers that deliver the “power to play music as the artist intended it to be heard,” according to Chrysler.
One thing that did irk me was that whenever I’d get into the vehicle and attempted to close the door, I’d have to practically step one foot out to close it and I’m far from being a small and my arms are pretty proportioned to my height of 5’10 (on a good day). When my hubster who is 6’6″ attempted to close the door, he also had to extend way too far to do so. The wide opening of the door might be problematic for smaller and older folks.
Just one more thing that also irked me was the rear visibility factor. Thick rear pillars makes it kind of difficult to spot other vehicles in the rear three-quarter view.
Chrysler Makes It Do What It Do!
The 300’s handling rises from controlled to “move it or I’ll smoke you off the road” as you step up the performance ladder. Driving the 300, you feel as if you are cruising in a big fat luxury vehicle. The cabin is so quiet, you can hear your stomach growl. Road annoyances are absorbed smoothly. The very responsive electric-assist steering makes it a breeze to maneuver. Acceleration in the 300 S V6 (my tester) is enthusiastic. The 300 takes the road with a feel-good confidence and that makes it a pleasurable experience behind the wheel.
The Chrysler 300 base, Limited and 300S V6 models come standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that kicks out 292 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city/27 mpg hwy and 21 mpg combined with either the five-speed automatic or all-wheel drive. The eight-speed automatic with rear-wheel drive stands at 19/31/23. The 300C and 300S V8 get a 5.7-liter V8 that gives you 363 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard, but all-wheel drive is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16/25/19 with rear-wheel drive and 15/23/18 with AWD. The tire-smoker SRT8 gets a 6.4-liter V8 which puts out 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for the SRT8 is 14/23/17.
It’s a Safe Bet
The safety credentials in the 2012 Chrysler 300 are noteworthy. The sedan has the usual airbags, traction and stability control. The SafetyTec package adds a blind-spot warning system, a cross-path warning system (alerts the driver to cross traffic while backing up) and a forward collision warning system. Honorable mention goes to the antilock braking system. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing gives the 300 a top rating of ‘Good.’
The 2012 Chrysler 300 is a pretty nice buy through and through for those who want to surround themselves with luxury, spend a few dollars less than the foreign buys and stay true to the old red, white and blue.
Prices start at $28,670. Want more info? www.chrysler.com
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