- Incomparably cool yet elegant styling
- Classy interior feel
- Features galore
- Available powerful V-8 engines
- Choppy, stiff ride
- Rear legroom is scarce
- ABS is optional
- V-8s guzzle gas
Still turning heads after five years on the road, the 2009 Chrysler 300 is one of the kings of cool in the large sedan market.
The 2009 Chrysler 300 is the type of vehicle once very common in the U.S. market: a full-size, rear-wheel-drive sedan powered by V-6 or V-8 engines. Now that Ford is in the process of phasing out the ancient Crown Victoria and its sibling vehicles, the Chrysler 300 and closely related Dodge Charger remain the only options for shoppers wanting this type of vehicle.
The 300’s styling struck out in a new direction with its 2005 debut, and since then its rather boxy but low look has aged well. It’s still a head-turner—something that can't be said of most other big sedan competitors.
Base Chrysler 300 models come with a 2.7-liter V-6 that pumps out 178 horsepower. These versions are equipped with a standard four-speed automatic transmission. Opting for the Chrysler 300 Touring brings a 3.5-liter V-6 that delivers 250 hp through a five-speed transmission, with both rear- and all-wheel drive available. The Chrysler 300C comes with a standard HEMI V-8 that now makes 359 hp, up 19 hp over last year, while the top-of-the-line SRT8 trim offers an impressive 425-hp 6.1-liter HEMI V-8, along with a sport suspension, 20-inch rims, and other upgrades.
There are also all-wheel-drive versions of the 300 and 300C. This year, a new active-transfer case disconnects the front axle for better fuel economy and performance. Also new for 2009 is a retuned suspension that should make the ride more acceptable for those with long commutes.
The driving experience in the 2009 Chrysler 300 varies considerably from model to model. Base, Touring, and Limited 300 editions offer a softer ride. The 300C and the 300 SRT8 target the performance enthusiasts with high-horsepower HEMI engines and stiffer suspensions. Stepping up to the 300 SRT8 nets drivers muscle-car performance in the form of sub-14-second quarter-mile times and a top speed of over 150 mph.
The 300 received an interior update for last year, and throughout the cabin, materials look and feel appreciably better than in Chrysler’s smaller cars. You'll note upscale touches everywhere, from the chrome accents to the soft-opening glove box. It does take a while to get used to the narrow greenhouse, but once acclimated, drivers don't mind their view to the outside.
The 2009 Chrysler 300 is disappointing with respect to safety features and protection. Bargain-priced base 300 models lack standard anti-lock brakes; they’re only available as a $1,025 option package that includes electronic stability control. And side airbags remain optional on the entire lineup—even the $46,000 SRT8—at a time when they’re almost universally standard in this class of vehicle. With or without them, crash scores haven’t been stellar.
Infotainment and technology options are plentiful in the 300. They include a Bluetooth connection that features iPod connectivity, a six-disc changer, a MyGIG audio entertainment system, a Boston Acoustics speaker package, Sirius Backseat TV, remote start, and adaptive cruise control.
2009 Chrysler 300
The 2009 Chrysler 300 lineup offers distinctly American styling.
If you want to make an impression and regularly carry more than one passenger, there's not much better way to do it for under $50,000 than with the 2009 Chrysler 300. The big, retro-themed Chrysler sedan has been around for a couple years, but it still turns heads with its strong and imposing styling that harkens back to the Chryslers of the 1950s and 1960s.
The 2009 Chrysler 300 doesn't change much for this model year since going through a refresh for 2008. Trim levels abound on the 2009 Chrysler 300, and Edmunds reports that the Chrysler 300 "is a full-size sedan available in LX, Touring, Limited, 300C and SRT8 trim levels." There's not a lot to distinguish the trims from the exterior, since they all feature what Kelley Blue Book describes as "large slab-side panels, a high 'belt-line' and narrow side windows [that] give the 300 an appearance reminiscent of a custom chop-top cruiser." One of the more unusual features of the 2009 Chrysler 300, according to Edmunds, is the "Walter P. Chrysler Executive Series long-wheelbase package available on Touring and 300C trim levels," which "adds 6 inches to the standard wheelbase to increase rear seat legroom."
Cars.com notes that the exterior of the 2009 Chrysler 300C offers "standard chromed door handles [and] 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels," while there is a "new chrome grille and 20-inch aluminum wheels on [the] Heritage edition." All that chrome and other flashy styling elements lead Kelley Blue Book to advise that "if you're looking for something inconspicuous, say, for a stakeout, the Chrysler 300 might not be your best option."
The interior was redesigned for 2008, and reviews read by TheCarConnection.com definitely appreciate the styling improvements. Cars.com reports that the Chrysler 300's "instruments have a watch-face style, and 300C drivers get a steering wheel with leather accents." ConsumerGuide appreciates that "all controls are within easy reach" and loves that "the navigation system is relatively simple to use, despite a small screen." Edmunds also favors the "simple but elegant layout that benefited from last year's new instrument panel, center console design and upgraded surfaces." On the negative end of the spectrum, Kelley Blue Book warns that "some may find the interior color choices drab...[but] despite the 300 SRT8's somewhat colorless interior, exquisite touches, such as the faux tortoise shell steering wheel on the 300C, add an air of individuality and elegance."
2009 Chrysler 300
The 2009 Chrysler 300 handles well for such a big car, and you can fully enjoy the powerful engines.
The 2009 Chrysler 300 lineup ranges from the docile V-6 variants to the snarling, V-8-powered beast that is the 2009 Chrysler 300 SRT8 edition.
According to Edmunds, the 2009 Chrysler 300 is available with four different engines, which include a "2.7-liter V6 that produces 178 hp and 190 pound-feet of torque," while a "3.5-liter V6 good for 250 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque" comes on the Touring and Limited trims.
Opting for either the Chrysler 300C or SRT8 brings two extra cylinders and a significant power boost. ConsumerGuide reports that the "300C uses a 5.7-liter version of Chrysler's "Hemi V8 with 359 hp, an increase of 19 hp over last year," while the "SRT8 uses a 6.1-liter Hemi V8 with 425 hp."
Driving impressions vary according to engine output, with Cars.com claiming that the "3.5-liter V-6 delivers adequate power for mountainous terrain, but no true surplus," while "performance is almost as appealing with the 2.7-liter V-6." On the 2009 Chrysler 300C, Kelley Blue Book raves about the "impressive blend of power and grace" afforded by the V-8, while ConsumerGuide reports that the "brawny SRT8 leaps off the line and has a surplus of power at any speed." SRT8 versions have been timed at about 5.5 seconds to 60 mph; stepping up to the 300 SRT8 nets drivers musclecar performance in the form of sub-14-second quarter-mile times and a top speed of over 150 mph.
TheCarConnection.com has disappointing news for those who enjoy selecting their own gears: The 2009 Chrysler 300 is only available with an automatic transmission. According to ConsumerGuide, the 2009 Chrysler 300 "LX and rear-drive Touring and Limited have a four-speed automatic transmission [and] all others use a five-speed automatic." While an automatic isn't disappointing by default, the fact that a four-speed is standard on the lower trims and there's no six-speed for the SRT8 is a bit of a downer. ConsumerGuide notes "both transmissions suffer some lag before downshifting, but the five-speed's manual shift gate helps." In terms of drive wheels, Edmunds states that the "Chrysler 300 LX is only available with rear-wheel drive," while "all-wheel drive is optional" for the Touring, Limited, and 300C trims.
Like the big domestic sedans of old, the 2009 Chrysler 300 is one thirsty vehicle. ConsumerGuide rates the V-8s below the class average for fuel economy, noting that a "test SRT8 averaged 15.5 [mpg]" and "300s with the 3.5 V-6 averaged 19.5 mpg in rear-drive form." According to the official EPA estimates, the 5.7-liter engine gets only 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway when matched with AWD.
On-road performance of the 2009 Chrysler 300 is impressive, matching a composed ride with some serious handling merits on the top-end models. ConsumerGuide contends that the 2009 Chrysler 300's "ride is generally smooth" and even "impressively smooth" on the SRT8, "despite 20-inch tires and performance suspension tuning." Cars.com says to "expect a confident feel through winding roads" and notes that "performance in snow and ice is amazing because of the Electronic Stability Program." Kelley Blue Book claims that "the suspension doesn't readily evoke that of a European sport sedan, but tight and true steering keeps you feeling in control of what is admittedly a large vehicle."
Harnessing all of the Chrysler 300's considerable momentum at high speeds are brakes that ConsumerGuide says "offer solid stopping power but suffer from occasional mushiness."
2009 Chrysler 300
Comfort & Quality
Interior space is ample in the 2009 Chrysler 300, but some materials still fall short.
TheCarConnection.com has discovered few major problems in the comfort and quality of the 2009 Chrysler 300. The latest Chrysler 300 series offers a comfortable, quiet ride and some upgraded interior materials that take the cabin to the next level in terms of luxury.
The large 2009 Chrysler 300 makes the most of its ample dimensions, offering generous passenger space in both the front and backseats. Up front, ConsumerGuide notices "lots of headroom and legroom," although the "flat seat bottoms cause passengers to slide during aggressive cornering except in SRT8, which has grippy suede seat inserts." Kelley Blue Book observes that "legroom is abundant throughout, as is headroom both front and rear," while Car and Driver reports that the Chrysler 300 has "ample interior space," and "when used for sitting, both the front and rear seats coddle the keister." Overall, reviewers at CarGurus appreciate the "cavernous interior" that affords great "interior room and comfort."
For such a large vehicle, the 2009 Chrysler 300 is a surprising disappointment when it comes to cargo space. ConsumerGuide rates the Chrysler 300 below the class average in this regard, claiming that while the "300 has a large, deep trunk," the trunk "liftover is fairly high, and the opening is too small to load large cargo." CarGurus registers a similar complaint, finding that "drivers also believe a big sedan like the 300 should have more trunk space." Edmunds provides even more criticism of the trunk, stating that the Chrysler 300's "trunk capacity measures a relatively modest 15.6 cubic feet." Inside the cabin, ConsumerGuide reports there is "decent cabin storage abetted by numerous cubbies and roomy center console."
The 2008 refresh of the Chrysler 300 brought improvements in both materials and build quality, and reviews read by TheCarConnection.com certainly took notice. For 2009, those improvements carry over, and Edmunds says that the Chrysler 300 has "a much nicer cabin, but given the 300C's price, some may expect something nicer." ConsumerGuide agrees, noting that while "tasteful wood and chrome accents and some padded surfaces give a luxury feel to an otherwise commonplace interior," it simply isn't enough when "what passes for acceptable at $30,000 seems inappropriately cheap on cars loaded to $45,000." Kelley Blue Book tends to like the interior materials, though "some of the plastics lack the precise color-matching and touch-friendly feel of some top-notch luxury sedans." Build quality usually isn't a sore point, though a ConsumerGuide vehicle "suffered from misaligned body panels and improperly assembled interior trim pieces."
The 2009 Chrysler 300 lineup offers a relatively quiet ride, according to reviews read by TheCarConnection.com. ConsumerGuide finds that the available "V-6s cruise quietly, [and] roar noticeably during acceleration," while the large "V-8s have [a] throaty, subdued growl." They add that "tire thrum [is] evident, but not objectionable."
2009 Chrysler 300
It’s buyer beware in this category, with disappointing side-impact protection and the lack of many safety features that are standard on virtually all rivals.
The fact that some critical safety features are optional instead of standard hurts the 2009 Chrysler 300 in both crash tests and overall safety scores, and TheCarConnection.com can’t help but share the disappointment in a sedan where there’s otherwise a lot to like.
In NHTSA tests, the 2009 Chrysler 300 earned quite acceptable crash scores, with five-star results in frontal impact and a mix of four- and five-star results in side impact. The IIHS confirms the 300’s good showing in frontal protection, but gives it their worst possible score, "poor," for side impacts. Even with the optional side airbags, the score improves to a still-inadequate "marginal" rating.
According to reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, standard safety equipment varies considerably across the 2009 Chrysler 300 lineup. Edmunds reports that the base model “doesn't get much in the way of standard safety equipment, but antilock brakes and stability and traction control are at least optional." ConsumerGuide states that the base model offers standard "four-wheel disc brakes" and "dual front airbags," while the Chrysler 300 Touring adds "antilock four-wheel disc brakes, brake assist, [and] antiskid system." Cars.com reviewers also point out that Chrysler 300C models come with "adaptive cruise control [that] regulates speed based on the distance to the vehicle ahead," while "optional side curtain and side-impact airbags" are available.
Visibility is another area of concern regarding the 2009 Chrysler 300, according to some professional reviewers. Cars.com reports that "visibility can be hampered at times," and ConsumerGuide says that "a tall tail and wide rear pillars reduce the driver's aft visibility." Other problem areas, according to ConsumerGuide, are the corners, since the "thick front pillars interfere with the view" to both sides.
2009 Chrysler 300
Satellite TV for backseat passengers of the 2009 Chrysler 300 is among the many cool tech features that you can add—for extra money, of course.
Based on the number of technology and entertainment features available onboard, the 2009 Chrysler 300 has definite appeal for those who spend a lot of time in the car.
The 2009 Chrysler 300 is available in a wide array of trim levels, and between those trims and the options list, there is something for the shopper in just about every price range. TheCarConnection.com has discovered that while the Chrysler 300 can be understandably feature-light, other trims offer a long list of standard features. Edmunds reviewers find that the 2009 Chrysler 300 LX "comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories...eight-way power driver seat" and a "four-speaker stereo with CD/MP3 player and auxiliary audio jack."
Stepping up to the Chrysler 300 Touring, ConsumerGuide reports that the standard features expand to include "dual-zone automatic climate controls" and "heated power mirrors," along with "satellite radio." The Limited trim is even more deluxe, notes Edmunds, which says that it includes a "trip computer, steering wheel audio controls and a six-speaker touchscreen-operated stereo with six-CD changer and 30GB hard drive for digital music storage." The major standard features available on the Chrysler 300C and 300 SRT8 models include a "Boston Acoustics eight-speaker sound system" and "power sun roof," according to Kelley Blue Book.
Moving to the optional features list, which is quite extensive, reveals enough features to drive the price of a fully loaded Chrysler 300 SRT8 to nearly the $50,000 mark. According to reviewers at Edmunds, "many of the 2008 Chrysler 300 upper trim levels' upgraded features are available as options on the lower trims. Other major options, typically grouped in packages with availability depending on the trim level, include hard-drive-based and surround-sound audio systems, a navigation system, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with Sirius TV, adaptive cruise control, Bluetooth and an iPod interface." For those who won't be driving themselves much, Cars.com reports that a long-wheelbase edition includes "writing tables, footrests, illuminated vanity mirrors, adjustable reading lights and 12-volt power plugs for charging mobile electronic devices" from the backseat.