2013 Chrysler 300 Review

2013 Chrysler 300 - The 2013 Chrysler 300 is alternative to costlier foreign luxury sedans


Prices: $29,845-$48,250

The Chrysler 300 is aging but the 2013 model is reminiscent of a $206,225 Bentley Flying Spur, if only because they have the same subdued elegant styling, an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive..

As with the British Bentley, the 300 has a great heritage-the1955 C-300 was America's first mass-produced 300-horsepower car.  

Of course, the latest 300 is far less costly than the exquisite Bentley. Prices range from $29,845 to $48,250. The 300 comes with standard rear-wheel drive (RWD) or, like the Bentley, with all-wheel drive (AWD). Both also have an eight-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode.

The 300 is filled with comfort, convenience and safety features. Standard are items including a power driver's seat, heated front seats, leather seating, dual-zone automatic climate and cruise controls, keyless start, six-speaker audio system, tilt/telescoping steering column, steering wheel audio controls, electronic vehicle information center, two 12-volt power outlets and snazzy dual chromed exhaust tips.

A "Uconnect 8N" system with Garmin navigation now features enhanced 3-D map and route guidance graphics. Chrysler says it's the segment's largest hands-free communication system and features improved map graphics used to display road signs and lane guidance. It has the segment's largest touchscreen display (8.4 inches).    

The 300S adds such items as a remote engine start, power front passenger seat and back-up camera. An optional "Glacier" package includes cloth/leather low-back bucket front seats.
The 300C has an available 363-horsepower Hemi V-8, cooled front seats and heated rear seats. The SRT8 adds a 470-horsepower Hemi V-8, adjustable pedals, active suspension and rear-parking aid.

I tested the $35,345 AWD 300S "Glacier Edition" model, which is virtually the same as the AWD 300S.

Horsepower of the 300's standard, smooth, 3.6-liter aluminum-6 can be raised from 292 to 300, with slightly more torque-thanks to a new sport-tuned exhaust and cold-air induction system.

I don't know if you can tell much of a difference between 292 and 300 horsepower. However, considering that the 300 weighs from 4,029 to 4,515 pounds, every little bit of horsepower and torque have got to help performance. You can feel the car's weight during hard acceleration, fast cornering and quick stopping.

The 300-horsepower V-6 sprinted from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and provided good 65-75 m.p.h. passing. It's really the best engine for this car for most folks.

The V-6 works with a eight-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift feature that sometimes shifts a big lazily if you're not in a hurry. Paddle shifters allow for quicker manual shifting.

The eight-speed automatic console shifter needs some work, as it doesn't perform as accurately as it should-it's easy to accidentally skip a shift if you're in a hurry.
For a big boy, the 300 delivers decent fuel economy. Its V-6 provides an estimated 19 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on highways with RWD and 18 and 27 with AWD using regular-grade fuel.

The V-8s get a five-speed automatic. The 363-horsepower Hemi V-8 provides 16 city and 25 highway with RWD and 15 and 23 with AWD. The fire-breathing 470-horsepower Hemi V-8 calls for more stops at filling stations, but not as many as you might think if you don't lead-foot it.
My test 300S AWD Glacier Edition had 19-inch polished aluminum wheels, optional sport bucket seats and special cosmetic touches. The Glacier's AWD system has a segment-exclusive active transfer case and front-axle-disconnect system to improve fuel economy. When AWD isn't needed, the system automatically disconnects the front axle to maximize fuel economy while providing performance and handling inherent in RWD vehicles.

You can get the new 300S V-6 with all-season performance tires, "touring-tuned" suspension and quicker steering with heavier on-center feel.

My test car steered quickly and precisely and had a comfortable ride with its firm-but-absorbent all-independent suspension. It securely swept through bends, helped by the AWD and electronic stability control and traction control systems. The brakes bite early with a firm pedal.    

No matter what model, the 300 is impressively roomy, with a limo-style rear seat and plenty of cabin areas. A hefty rear-center armrest with twin cupholders can be folded down to occupy the backseat's stiff center section.

Large door handles are easy to grab for quick entry to the quiet interior. My test car's front bucket seats provided good thigh and lateral support. The backlit art deco main gauges can be quickly read, and a digital speedometer accompanies the regular speedometer to help keep tabs on speeds. An elegant-looking analog dashboard clock provides a touch of class.

Thick windshield posts partly obstruct visibility in turns, and rear driver vision is just adequate. Large power outside mirrors help out here. The sun visors, which have dual lighting, are long enough to swing to the side and block out unwanted sunlight.

Safety items include full-length side-curtain air bags, side air bags and a driver's knee bag.  

There's a mix of large and small dashboard controls and an easily read dashboard screen for such things as audio and climate information. Activate the windshield washers and they squirt so much liquid that they'll remind you of Niagara Falls. Those driving on filthy Northern winter roads will especially appreciate them.

The enormous trunk is wide but has an unusually high sill. The inner-lined lid is held open by enclosed hatches so they don't damage cargo and has a handy pull-down handle. Rear seatbacks fold forward to enlarge the cargo area, but don't fold entirely flat because they're thick.

The inner-lined hood glides open on twin struts, revealing a neatly designed engine compartment with easily reached fluid-filler areas.

As with the first 300, the latest model is Chrysler's flagship. For good reasons

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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