- Fresh front and rear styling keeps appeal alive
- Eight-speed auto standard across range
- Smooth, fuel-efficient V-6
- No SRT performance models available
- All-black cabins on most models can be somber
- Dash plastics attract dust
The 2015 Chrysler 300 adds more style, features, and efficiency to an already confident, capable large family sedan.
With its parent company now merged with Fiat to become Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), the Chrysler brand is free to transform itself somewhat, and that’s exactly what it’s aiming to do, starting with the new Chrysler 200 and 300. The 2015 Chrysler 300 picks up where the smaller 200 left off as Chrysler shifts from near-premium to mainstream in its market positioning, taking on the likes of Honda, Toyota, Nissan, GM, and Ford, each of which offers a very competitive large sedan.
For the 2015 model year, Chrysler has completely redesigned the front and rear ends of the 300, but without changing any of the actual sheetmetal that defines the car’s shape. Despite the subtle change, the impact on the look is significant, with a larger, redesigned grille, new lighting options, and a more elegant lower air dam combining to create a fresher, more refined face. The remainder of the car continues to carry the swagger and presence that have made the car so attractive in recent years.
The interior of the 2015 Chrysler 300 is new, too. A redesigned steering wheel, instrument panel, and, with the 300C Platinum, a unique two-tone leather upholstery treatment, among other upgrades. A rotary shift knob controls the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, which is now standard for both V-6 and V-8 models across the 300 line. All models get a standard 7-inch full-color display in front of the driver, as well.
Four core models make up the 2015 Chrysler 300 line, ranging from a well-equipped mainstream full-size sedan in the 300 Limited to the luxurious 300C Platinum. The 300S offers a sportier alternative for the younger crowd, while the 300C balances on a near-luxury beam.
Thanks to the eight-speed automatic transmission now being paired with the 5.7-liter V-8 engine, the 2015 300 is up to 6 percent more efficient. Models equipped with the 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar engine continue to offer up to 31 mpg highway, a figure Chrysler says is best in class.
On the performance front, the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 is easily up to the task of accelerating the large 300. With 292 horsepower on tap, the V-6 is strong, willing, and even when pushed, smooth. Opt for the 300S model and you’ll get a slight performance enhancement to 300 hp thanks to a cold-air intake. If you prefer yet more horsepower, opting for a V-8 model (available in the 300S and 300C lines) brings output up to 363 hp from a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8. Together with the new eight-speed transmission pairing, the HEMI can scoot the large 300 to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds, an improvement of 0.2 seconds over last year’s V-8 models fitted with a five-speed automatic.
Handling in the 300, 300S, and 300C is more about comfort and ride quality than performance—this is, after all, a large sedan. When the road turns twisty, the driver will feel the 300’s size, although the standard electric power steering makes light work of taking the turns. At the same time, the 300 is composed and well-sorted enough to cruise at a fair pace; just don’t push hard enough to ruffle any feathers. For those who just insist on driving harder, however, there are a pair of “Sport” modes in 300S models and V-8-equipped 300C versions: one on the rotary gear selector, and another button on the dash. The “S” mode on the rotary gear selector engages more aggressive accelerator behavior, engine response, transmission shifts, and permanent paddle-shift mode; pushing the “Sport” button on the dash adds sport-tuned steering effort, temporary paddle-shift mode, and the same engine, transmission, and pedal tweaks as the “S” mode.
Seating, likewise, is geared toward comfort, whether you’re in the front or rear seats: supportive bolsters, firm-but-compliant cushions, ample adjustability. Headroom is spacious, and though the rear can be tight on leg room for taller passengers, the 300’s exterior size largely translates into the same inside: plenty of space for people and things. There’s even plenty of trunk space.
Official crash test ratings for the 2015 Chrysler 300 haven’t been released yet, but the structurally identical 2014 model scored five stars overall from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), and top marks of “Good” in all tested categories by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).
A host of new or improved technology, including safety features, is also available in the 2015 Chrysler 300, including: Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus with Full Stop, which now allows the computer to bring the car completely to a stop in traffic; a new Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist leverages the electric power steering to gently nudge the car back into its lane; and the emergency calling service now directly connects the vehicle’s occupants to emergency services with a button push, using the vehicle’s data connection via the Uconnect Access system.