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FEATURES | 9 out of 10
A huge new 8.4-inch touch screen, beautifully integrated into the center stack, has graphics and colors that rival any of its competitors, but then you touch the navigation button and all that loveliness disappears, replaced by the garish colors and graphics of Garmin.
The optional Garmin-based nav system’s bold colors and large graphics make it easy to use, but they lend it an almost juvenile appearance. Still, we prefer basic and useful to elegant and stupefying.
Car and Driver
Skip the optional Garmin navigation system, whose slow map scrolling and clumsy icons feel at odds with the rest of the system.
All editions of the 2012 Chrysler 300 come with standard power windows, locks and mirrors; LED daytime running lights; push-button 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.
The upgraded version of that system, called UConnect Touch, is included with 300S, 300C, and SRT8 models, and adds hands-free texting capability, text-to-speech capability on incoming texts, voice-command navigation, Sirius Traffic information, and iPod controls.
The 300S adds sport leather front seats; shift paddles; piano black trim; and performance tires. The 300C gets a premium grade of leather upholstery; natural wood trim; navigation; power-adjustable pedals; and a heated steering wheel. SRT8s have 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.
In addition to the higher-performance engine, the SRT8 adds a host of heavy-duty extras under the hood, a performance suspension with adaptive damping, a performance braking system, 20-inch SRT-design wheels, fog lamps, auto-leveling HID headlamps, rain-sensitive wipers, heated-and-ventilated front seats, leather-and-suede upholstery, a heated steering wheel, heated/cooled cupholders, power-adjustable pedals, and more.
A 900-watt Harmon Kardon sound system is now an option on most models, and a "uConnect Web" option plugs in a 3G dongle into the car and turns it into a mobile WiFi hotspot.
UConnect Touch and a host of infotainment features keep the 2012 Chrysler 300 family on the leading edge.