2014 Chrysler 300 Review

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Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
August 19, 2014

The Chrysler 300 is loaded with comfort and technology features, and it comes as either a near-luxury sedan, or an monstrously powerful muscle car.

The 300 and 300C are largest sedans in the Chrysler lineup, and with a variety of drivetrains and available features, they make for compelling options in the segment. With a sleek exterior, competent performance even from the V-6 models, and a long roster of technology and luxury features, these sedans flirt with the edge of the luxury market–and in some cases, qualify as legitimate premium cars.

From the exterior, the 300 always seems to find an attractive blend of traditional, ornate and modern design. With one foot planted firmly in the past, the 2014 Chrysler 300 remains a swaggering hulk of sedan. A redesign in 2012 brought a level of subtlety to the 300's design–softer shoulders, smoother lines and a somewhat less cartoonish grille modernized the model. Inside, the look went decidedly upscale and high-tech, with soft lines wrapping upward to house the dash's new oversized LCD touchscreen. Depending on the trim level, chrome, carbon-fiber- or wood-look accents made the car feel either more luxurious, or more like a sports sedan.

Even the base 300 includes power windows, locks and mirrors; LED daytime running lights; pushbutton start and keyless entry; a power driver seat; cloth upholstery; dual-zone climate control; satellite radio; a USB port; and an 8.4-inch LCD touchscreen display. Step up to the 300S and you get leather front seats; shift paddles; piano black trim; and performance tires. Premium leather, natural wood trim, power-adjustable pedals, and a heated steering wheel all contribute to the top-lux feel of the 300C, which also includes navigation--and the Garmin-based touch-screen nav system includes real-time traffic info and was enhanced in 2013. On top of all their performance upgrades, SRTs get carbon-fiber trim; heated and ventilated front seats; and a layer of instrumentation in its navigation system that displays performance stats like acceleration times and lateral grip.

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There's also a Beats by Dr. Dre premium audio system, offering a 12-channel amp, proprietary equalization, and trunk-mounted subwoofer. Also, a special Chrysler 300 Glacier model brings Gloss Black mirrors, Black Chrome grille blades, special eight-spoke Satin Carbon-finish aluminum wheels and special paint hues, along with Piano black interior finishes, special upholstery with leather-wrapped bolsters and French seams, and steering-wheel paddles with a Sport mode.

Base V-6 versions of the Chrysler 300 perform well enough to satisfy anyone who mainly looks to the 300 for its styling and luxury. The 292-horsepower version of the company's Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 is smooth, strong, and responsive with the eight-speed automatic that's included in most versions. Times to 60 mph land at around eight seconds, while highway fuel economy is up to 31 miles per gallon--extraordinary for a large sedan in this class. Also on the step-up 300S, the V-6 gets a cold-air intake and performance exhaust making it good for 300 hp.

For some, the real appeal for the 300 will be in the brash V-8 powertrains in the 300S and 300C, as well as the top-performance SRT. The 300S and 300C are offered with a 363-hp, 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 and a five-speed automatic. While the V-6 is smooth and luxury-car-like, the HEMI is more aggressive and muscle-car-like in sound and responsiveness. These models can get to 60 mph in less than six seconds, but the SRT can get there in less than five seconds with its 470-hp, 6.4-liter V-8. A NASCAR-like throb completes the sensory experience in the SRT.

The 300 doesn't drive or feel small at all, but it has a big-car charm without the usual body roll and mushy, pitchy body motions. As you might guess, 300 models move up the ladder from more comfort-oriented to firm and sport-sedan-like as you step up in engine performance. All models have an absorbent ride and responsive electrohydraulic steering, but as you move up to the 20-inch wheels in some of the models there's a bit more ride harshness. SRT models get an adaptive damping system with normal and sport modes, which helps.

You'll find the 300 to be one of the more spacious sedans in its class, even though it doesn't quite have the sprawl-out space of a Toyota Avalon. In front, the seats are well bolstered, and there's plenty of headroom even if you get the sunroof. Back seats tend to be a little tight on legroom, although they're comfortable enough for two adults. Trunk space is quite good, too. These current versions of the 300 don't feel quite as claustrophobic as the previous version, due to thinner pillars and a little more side glass, so visibility is a bit better, too.

Safety-wise, the 300 includes all the usual electronic controls and airbags; Hill Start Assist, Rain Brake Support, and Ready Alert Braking are also included. On higher trims, you can get a SafetyTec option package that includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, a forward-collision warning system, rear fog lamps, and power-folding exterior mirrors.

8

2014 Chrysler 300

Styling

The 2014 Chrysler 300 is svelte, swaggering, and uniquely American.

Aesthetically, the 300 sedans have always found a unique blend traditional, ornate and modern, and the 2014 Chrysler 300 remains a hulking mass of sedan swagger.

Overall, the look is a bit less showy, following 2012's redesign that smoothed out some of the boxy lines and those oversized shoulders. With that in mind, we also think the 19-inch wheels look better here; the 20's are just a little too much overkill for us.

Vertical-tube lamps in back add a more expensive look--almost Cadillac-like. The cartoonish grille and faux-Bentley look are gone, with brash details toned down. Smaller headlights wear LED eyeliner, while the fenders are more rectilinear, especially on the rear where they've picked up some of the intricate stamped-in details seen on the current Ford Taurus, Buick LaCrosse, even the most recent E-Class.

Inside, the look became smoother and richer, with regrouped controls and an LCD touchscreen taking up prime real estate at the middle of the dash; there's also a bit more metallic trim to provide framing, while a carbon-fiber look or naturally finished wood for trims sets a modern, elegant tone.

8

2014 Chrysler 300

Performance

Chrysler 300 models with the V-6 are surprisingly well-rounded performers; and if it's all-out brawn you want, the 300C Hemi V-8 models deliver.

The 300 doesn't drive or feel small at all, but it has a big-car charm without the usual body roll and mushy, pitchy body motions. As you might guess, 300 models move up the ladder from more comfort-oriented to firm and sport-sedan-like as you step up in engine performance. All models have an absorbent ride and responsive electrohydraulic steering, but as you move up to the 20-inch wheels in some of the models there's a bit more ride harshness. SRT models get an adaptive damping system with normal and sport modes, which helps. And no matter which model, this is a car that feels most at home on the highway, or on a two-lane road with long sweepers.

For some, the real appeal for the 300 will be in the brash V-8 powertrains in the 300S and 300C, as well as the top-performance SRT8. The 300S and 300C are offered with a 363-hp, 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 and a five-speed automatic. While the V-6 is smooth and luxury-car-like, the HEMI is more aggressive and muscle-car-like in sound and responsiveness. These models can get to 60 mph in less than six seconds, but the SRT can get there in less than five seconds with its 470-hp, 6.4-liter V-8. A NASCAR-like throb completes the sensory experience in the SRT.

Base V-6 versions of the Chrysler 300 perform well enough to satisfy anyone who mainly looks to the 300 for its styling and luxury. The 292-horsepower version of the company's Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 is smooth, strong, and responsive with the eight-speed automatic that's included in most versions. Times to 60 mph land at around eight seconds, while highway fuel economy is up to 31 miles per gallon--extraordinary for a large sedan in this class. Also for 2014 on the step-up 300S, the V-6 gets a cold-air intake and performance exhaust making it good for 300 hp.

The Chrysler 300 is a rear-driver, except when it's not: the HEMI-equipped 300C can be fitted with all-wheel drive, which has an advantageous axle-disconnect system that helps fuel economy and handling when there's no need for all wheels to be engaged in power delivery. It's fitted with 19-inch wheels, which aren't much of an enemy to the 300's ride quality on rear-drive models.

8

2014 Chrysler 300

Comfort & Quality

The 2014 Chrysler 300 is no pretender; it's a luxury car inside, refined in every way you'd expect.

This is a model that's improved tremendously in refinement and noise, compared to its first iteration a number of years back. Thanks to thicker glass and more sound insulation, there's only now a faint thrum in V-6 models and, of course, the burble and rumble of V-8 models, while wind and road noise are sealed away.

You'll also find plenty of places to hide things in the 300's cabin. The cupholders hide under a roll-away tambour; the center console hides a usefully deep well, and there's a nicely sized bin in the console ahead of the shifter. All the doors have molded-in bottle holders. In the trunk, 16.3 cubic feet of space will hold plenty, even if it's not as big as the titanic 20-cube trunk in the Ford Taurus.

You'll find the 300 to be one of the more spacious sedans in its class, even though it doesn't quite have the sprawl-out space of a Buick LaCrosse or Toyota Avalon. It probably comes as no surprise that this sedan's rear-wheel-drive layout and chiseled, just-right roofline and contours favor design over utility.

In front, the seats are well bolstered, and there's plenty of headroom even if you get the sunroof. Back seats tend to be a little tight on legroom, although they're comfortable enough for two adults.

Trunk space is quite good, too. These current versions of the 300 don't feel quite as claustrophobic as the previous version, due to thinner pillars and a little more side glass, so visibility is a bit better, too.

We have noticed that the new rubberized material on the dash has a gumminess to it that attracts lint; that's one of the few fine details that detracts a bit from the classy, somewhat retro vibe of the interior.

8

2014 Chrysler 300

Safety

Top-notch safety ratings complement a well-rounded set of safety features in the 2014 Chrysler 300 and 300C.

The 300 has scored well in crash tests, and it's equipped all of the expected safety technologies, plus a few extras.

Thanks to the slimming of roof pillars and an increase in glass areas, there's better outward visibility--which should yield better safety when backing up or changing lanes.

Every car receives Hill Start Assist, Ready Alert Braking and Rain Brake Support. On higher trims, you can get a SafetyTec option package that includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, a forward-collision warning system, rear fog lamps, and power-folding exterior mirrors.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has awarded top 'good' ratings in frontal, side, and rear impact, as well as in roof strength, and in previous model years it's earned Top Safety Pick status--but without small-overlap test results, it doesn't qualify for that nod this year. It's also earned five stars overall from the federal government, including five stars for side impact and five stars for frontal impact, with only a four-star rollover-resistance rating keeping it from a perfect score.
9

2014 Chrysler 300

Features

There's no shortage of high-end luxury items in the Chrysler 300, but it really dials up the tech features, too.

The 2014 Chrysler 300 can be had with a variety of personalities, ranging from a well-equipped entry-level sedan, to a muscular sport sedan or legitimate luxury tourer.

On top of all their performance upgrades--like the mammoth 6.4-liter engine, heavy-duty braking, adaptive damping, and 20-inch wheels--SRTs get carbon-fiber trim; heated and ventilated front seats; and a layer of instrumentation in its navigation system that displays performance stats like acceleration times and lateral grip.

With the 300S and you get leather front seats; shift paddles; piano black trim; and performance tires. Premium leather, natural wood trim, power-adjustable pedals, and a heated steering wheel all contribute to the top-lux feel of the 300C, which also includes navigation--and the Garmin-based touch-screen nav system includes real-time traffic info was enhanced last year.

Even at the base level, the 300 includes an impressive list of standard features, like power windows, locks and mirrors; LED daytime running lights; pushbutton start and keyless entry; a power driver seat; cloth upholstery; dual-zone climate control; satellite radio; a USB port; and an 8.4-inch LCD touchscreen display.

New for last year was a Beats by Dr. Dre premium audio system, offering a 12-channel amp, proprietary equalization, and trunk-mounted subwoofer.

Also, a special Chrysler 300 Glacier model brings Gloss Black mirrors, Black Chrome grille blades, special eight-spoke Satin Carbon-finish aluminum wheels and special paint hues, along with Piano black interior finishes, special upholstery with leather-wrapped bolsters and French seams, and steering-wheel paddles with a Sport mode.

6

2014 Chrysler 300

Fuel Economy

For a large luxury sedan, the V-6 versions of the 2014 Chrysler 300 are reasonably fuel-efficient. Not so for the Hemi V-8 models, though.

The Chrysler 300 can be surprisingly efficient, thanks to its eight-speed automatic transmission and 3.6-liter V-6. The EPA rates rear-wheel-drive models at 19 mpg city, 31 mpg highway. You lose a bit with all-wheel drive, which earns a rating of 18/27 mpg, respectively.

EPA ratings for the SRT, with a city rating of just 14 mpg, seem right on the mark, if even a bit optimistic, based on what we've seen. This is a performance model best enjoyed by those who know exactly what they're getting--a blast-from-the-past, large-displacement V-8 engine with a potentially budget-busting thirst.

Chrysler 300C HEMI V-8 models earn highway numbers of up to 25 mpg. Although due to so-called Fuel Saver Technology (cylinder deactivation), you may see even better, as we have, if you can use some self-control and keep your right foot light.

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May 8, 2015
2014 Chrysler 300 4-Door Sedan RWD

Feel like a million bucks without spending alot

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THE GOOD: Muscular Manly stylish sedan at a great price. Great performance, the engine sounds powerful yet refine, never noicy, always smooth and refine power traine. Suspencion is a dream, comfortable refine... + More »
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April 28, 2015
2014 Chrysler 300 4-Door Sedan 300C RWD

Red 300 Chrysler

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Great car with super performance and style. We traded in a 2007 and really like the improvements to the 2014.
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April 16, 2015
For 2014 Chrysler 300

Mechanicaly it is great. Responds well and parks with ease.

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The Chrsler 300 is well performing vehicle. Corners well with little sway. Accelerates better most cars in class. The bluish light for the instrument panel is great. The one drawback is the satellite radio... + More »
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April 13, 2015
For 2014 Chrysler 300

Chrysler 300 Sport: The Big American Dream Machine is Back!

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I primarily bought my Chrysler 300 because of the classic styling. As every car rushes to create the same fastback look, my Chrysler stands out in any crowd. The car has been flawless since purchase 9 months... + More »
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8.2
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Styling 8.0
Performance 8.0
Comfort & Quality 8.0
Safety 8.0
Features 9.0
Fuel Economy 6.0
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