2016 Chrysler 300 Review

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Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Editor
June 16, 2016

Capable and confident, the 2016 Chrysler 300 is decidedly American large family sedan with plenty of room, lots of luxury, and available V-8 power.

The Chrysler 300 is a large sedan that straddles the line between the mass market and luxury. Big and bold, with rear-wheel drive and an available V-8, it is also quintessentially American.

After a major refresh for the 2015 model year, the 2016 Chrysler 300 gets some updates to its technology and suspension, and adds a new 90th Anniversary Edition option package to celebrate 90 years of Chrysler automobiles. Tech changes include a new drag-and-drop menu bar on the 8.4-inch touchscreen control interface, the addition of Siri Eyes Free voice control, and a newly available safety package that can prevent or mitigate forward collisions and keep the car in its lane. The base suspension becomes a bit firmer this year, and S models are now offered with a performance suspension that also includes summer performance tires.

The 300 has a decidedly American look, with a bold, upright design and a squared off profile. It manages to exude swagger yet be buttoned-down and elegant. Inside, the cabin’s look is all about smooth curves and organic shapes. The top model boasts a unique two-tone leather upholstery treatment.

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As a large car, the 300 has plenty of space for five. Seating is geared toward comfort. Whether you’re in the front or rear seats, you get supportive bolsters and firm-but-compliant cushions. Headroom is spacious, though the rear can be tight on leg room for taller passengers. At 16.3 cubic feet, the trunk is fairly large, though average for the class.

Hauling class

Four core models make up the 2016 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.

The 300 is offered with 3.6-liter V-6 or a 5.7-liter V-8, both mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional for the V-6.

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 (available in the 300S and 300C lines) brings output of the Hemi V-8 up to 363 hp. Together with the 8-speed transmission, the Hemi can scoot the large 300 to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds.

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, though the standard electric power steering makes light work of taking 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 gear selector engages more aggressive accelerator behavior, engine response, transmission shifts, and a 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.

Federal safety officials gave the 2016 Chrysler 300 four stars overall for safety, including five stars for side crash safety. The IIHS gives the 300 a "Good" rating in all categories, except the small front overlap test where it earned a "Marginal" score.

A host of safety features is available for the 2016 Chrysler 300, including: a forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and emergency services call-assist using the vehicle’s data connection via the Uconnect Access system.

With the V-6, the Chrysler 300 earns EPA ratings of 19 mpg city, 31 highway, 23 combined. Adding all-wheel-drive lowers those numbers to 18/27/21 mpg. The thirstier V-8 penalizes mileage to 16/25/19 mpg.

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2016 Chrysler 300

Styling

The 2016 Chrysler 300 exhudes American presence with an upright stance and square shoulders.

The 300 has kept the same basic shape since it was introduced in 2005. It's a decidedly American look, with a bold, upright design and a squared off profile. It manages to exude swagger yet be buttoned-down and elegant.

Up front, the car features a large, simple, trapezoidal grille with a mesh pattern and the Chrysler winged logo inset at the top. The lower air dam is available with chrome accents or black surrounds, depending on the model chosen), and LED fog lamps provide a consistent white color temperature at the front.

LED taillights with an illuminated halo provide a fresh appearance at the rear, while a built-in lip spoiler helps square off the rear of the car. The profile retains the square-shouldered, brawny, yet sleek look it has had since 2012’s redesign, though the 300S features unique side sills for a slightly more athletic appearance.

Inside, the cabin’s look is all about smooth curves and organic shapes. At the base level, there are many black plastics, but if you ramp up to the top-of-the-line 300C Platinum the materials and style progress apace, with a two-tone leather upholstery finish available, as well as hand-sanded, open-pore wood trim, and metallic accents.

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2016 Chrysler 300

Performance

The 2016 Chrysler 300 drives like a big car with some body lean in turns, but is stable and confident.

There’s no doubting the 2016 Chrysler 300’s size is a big draw for both its appearance and its comfort. When it comes to performance, it places certain limitations on the car, but those limitations aren’t related to offering ample power.

All models come standard with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 rated at 292 horsepower (or 300 hp in the 300S, thanks to a cold air intake and performance exhaust) as standard equipment. Although it’s not as powerful as the optional V-8 engine, the V-6 still hustles the large 300 along just fine. Whether accelerating onto the freeway or passing on a rural two-lane road, most buyers will find it plenty powerful for their needs.

Opting for the 363-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine turns up the power in a big way. Zero to 60 mph runs take just 5.8 seconds, and the power is delivered in a smooth, controlled manner befitting a car that leans toward luxury.

The 300's big-car feel can be charming, including the body roll and soft heaving motions during acceleration and braking. For the 300 Limited and 300C, including the 300C Platinum, these descriptions are accurate—but not accusations. The 300 drives like a big American sedan should: stably, confidently, and well—it just doesn’t handle like a sports car.

For those requiring a little more edge, there’s the 300S. Again, it drives like a big car. Many of those body motions are better controlled in the S model, without causing the ride to become too firm. Especially with the V-8, the 300S is a quick, fun-to-drive big car.

While rear-wheel drive is the standard for the Chrysler 300 line, all-wheel-drive (AWD) is available for V-6 models. The AWD system offers a complete axle-disconnect system to reduce parasitic drag and friction losses when the extra traction isn’t needed for power delivery.

A pair of “sport” modes also sharpens performance in the 300 range (available on 300S, 300C with V-8, and 300C Platinum). The “S” mode on the rotary shift selector engages sport-tuned engine, transmission, throttle, and paddle-shift settings; the “Sport” button on the dash separately engages those same functions, but adds sport-tuned steering, as well as enabling rear-biased torque distribution for the AWD system. Both the “S” gear selection and “Sport” button cut shift times for the 8-speed automatic transmission down to just 250 milliseconds from the standard 400 milliseconds.

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2016 Chrysler 300

Comfort & Quality

Roomy and refined, the Chrysler 300 delivers an unapoligetically American take on luxury.

Leaps and bounds ahead of its original incarnation, the 2016 Chrysler 300 is a quiet, comfortable, well-constructed car with just enough engine, road, and wind noise to keep you connected with the road.

The interior of the 300’s cabin looks high-tech and it's also quite well-assembled, with good fit and nice materials finishes throughout—aside from the occasional expanse of hard, hollow plastic in lower-trim models. The rubberized material of the dash looks and feels pleasant, though we have noticed it has a tendency to attract and collect lint as a result of its slightly gummy feel.

The highlight of the car from the tech side is the Uconnect control interface with its large 8.4-inch touchscreen. The icons on this screen are large enough to be easy to hit with a finger, and strong processing power means quick reactions. The design is as easy to understand as anything on the market, making this one of our favorite in-car control systems. For 2016, it adds a drag-and-drop menu bar, Siri Eyes Free voice recognition, and a "Do Not Disturb" feature.

The seats are suited to American tastes: they’re large, supportive, and, for front seat passengers, highly adjustable. Head room and leg room are also great in the front row. Rear-seat passengers will find the seats themselves comfy, but taller occupants may come up a touch short on leg room.

Cupholders are, as you’d expect of a large American sedan, plentiful and well-sized. Elsewhere in the cabin there’s plenty of space for your stuff, including a bin ahead of the rotary shifter, molded-in bottle holders in the doors, and a 16.3-cubic-foot trunk.

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2016 Chrysler 300

Safety

The 2016 Chrysler 300 offers plenty of safety features to go with a sturdy crash structure.

Standard safety equipment on the 2016 Chrysler 300 includes a driver's knee airbag, curtain side airbags, front side airbags, a rearview camera, hill-start assist, and rain brake assist to help dry brakes in wet conditions.

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.

A new SafetyTec Plus package includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

That suite of safety technology can help mitigate or avoid a crash altogether. Active driving assist programs are becoming the norm for many new cars, and its inclusion on an older chassis such as the 300 is a welcome site for safety conscious drivers. An available Uconnect Access system can even directly connect the vehicle’s occupants with emergency services with a single button press, using the car’s existing data connection.

The 2016 Chrysler 300 has been awarded four stars overall in crash testing by the NHTSA. In IIHS testing, the 300 received the top rating of “Good” in all tests except the small-overlap front crash test, in which it scored only a "Marginal" rating.

Visibility in the Chrysler 300 is quite good in all directions, thanks to narrow roof supports. 

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2016 Chrysler 300

Features

A variety of models and options lets buyers choose a 300 optimized for luxury, sportiness, and/or technology.

The 2016 Chrysler 300 is offered in a range of trims, allowing buyers to equip their cars for luxury, sportiness, technology, or a combination of the three. The lineup includes the well-equipped, entry-level 300 Limited, the sporty 300S, the luxury-oriented 300C, and the high-tech loaded 300C Platinum.

Starting with the 300 Limited, standard features include LED daytime running lights, keyless ignition, heated leather front seats, a power driver's seat, a heated steering wheel, power windows/locks/mirrors, dual-zone climate control, satellite radio, a USB port, a 7.0-inch instrument panel screen, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen.

Opt for the sportier 300S and you’ll get sport suspension with V-6 models or a performance-tuned suspension with the V-8 that includes increased spring rates, performance-tuned steering and bushings, larger sway bars, and Goodyear Eagle F1 summer tires. The performance suspension, steering, and Eagle F1 tires are also offered for the rear-drive V-6, but it doesn't come with the larger sway bars. All 300S models also have shift paddles, piano black trim, and blacked-out exterior trim.

The 300C skips the sportier route, opting instead for greater luxury, with premium leather, natural wood trim, electrically adjustable pedals, navigation, and more.

The 300C Platinum takes the luxury a notch higher with Nappa leather, hand-sanded open-pore wood, Poltrona-Frau leather-wrapped instrument panel, and unique satin-finish “platinum chrome” 20-inch alloy wheels.

New for 2016 is a 90th anniversary option package to commemorate 90 years of Chrysler. Offered for the 300 Limited, it comes with navigation, HD radio, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, Bluetooth, Uconnect Access, a universal garage door opener, a dual-pane sunroof, a startup splash screen logo, and premium floor mats with an embroidered logo.

Buyers can also get Connect Via Mobile, which lets users stream their favorite Internet radio channels over the audio system via their mobile data plan, including support for Pandora, Slacker, iHeartRadio, and Aha by Harman.

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2016 Chrysler 300

Fuel Economy

While V-8 models of the 2016 Chrysler 300 are somewhat hard on gas, V-6 versions are efficient for a large car.

Despite its hefty curb weight and large size, the 2016 Chrysler 300 can deliver decent fuel economy, especially with the V-6. A standard 8-speed automatic transmission is a considerable help at the gas pump.

With the V-6, the Chrysler 300 earns EPA ratings of 19 mpg city, 31 highway, 23 combined. Adding all-wheel-drive lowers those numbers to 18/27/21 mpg.

Opting for the V-8, which about 15 percent of buyers will do, brings ratings of 16/25/19 mpg.

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April 18, 2016
2016 Chrysler 300 4-Door Sedan 300C Platinum RWD

Affordable luxury

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2016 Chrysler 300 4-Door Sedan 300S AWD

I finally got my dream car.

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Styling 8.0
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