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2011 Chrysler 300 Comfort & Quality

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On Comfort & Quality

The 2011 Chrysler 300 hasn't given up any ground as one of the more roomy full-size sedans on the market.

It's no Toyota Avalon, but the 300's wide-open spaces in front and in back mean it's a legit luxury conveyance for adults on their way to a trendy documentary screening--or something more furtive, requiring dark-tinted windows. The front seats feel better, with more side bolstering wrapped in upgraded, softer-skinned leather. There's a cloth seat standard on the base and Limited editions, but we haven't yet seen an example among all the pre-production 300s we're driven and shot on auto-show floors.

The Chrysler 300's interior has the space to match its more discreet charm, and it's built from better materials.

The back seat adopts the new textures too, and it benefits from slightly more glass surrounding it, now that Chrysler's thinned out the 300's roof pillars. It doesn't seem as claustrophobic in the back seat as it used to--which means two full-grown adults will be able to focus on the good head and knee room, instead of on breathing. On paper it's a five-seat sedan, so if you're shooting for that target, make sure the back-seat passengers are on good terms, or moderate in size, or both.

All of the surfaces inside the 300 have been reworked, rethought, and regrained--and it shows. We'd prefer a less rubberized dash cover, though. On a few examples, the black-tinted coating already seemed to be collecting dust and lint, detracting from the modern-Sinatra vibe that the 300 (especially the all-black versions) toss off casually.

You'll 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.

Chrysler's spent some energy on muting the noise making its way into the 2011 300. In both V-6 and V-8 sedans we drove recently, there's still some appreciable noise. With the V-6, it's a semi-pronounced, midrange thrum emanating from the V-6 engine, blunted by thicker glass but still noticeable. Oddly, on the 300C we drove, all the noise rushed in through the rear--which a Chrysler engineer later attributed to reverberations echoing up a drip rail, a glitch being ironed out and baked into production-ready vehicles.

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