2015 Chrysler 300

By January 8, 2015

The Chrysler 300 offers the boldest styling in the segment, and for 2015 it gets even bolder. Chrysler’s full-size flagship sedan has been redesigned front and rear and features a larger, more imposing front grille, while inside is an improved interior.

The front end of the 2015 Chrysler 300 looks more aggressive but also less gaudy than before, with thinner, more subtle chrome detailing, giving it a more sophisticated, upscale look. A big grille has been a signature design cue since the introduction of the Chrysler 300 in 1955.

Inside, the 2015 Chrysler 300 gets its best interior yet, with a new steering wheel, a new color driver’s display, an updated version of Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system, as well as many attractive interior finishes and materials. We think it’s one of the nicest cabins in the class. Designers describe the Chrysler 300 interior as full of contrasts between old-world, handcrafted touches and new, modern cues. Seats are comfortable and roomy, and feel more lounge-like than those in competing vehicles.

Back-seat passengers have plenty of leg- and headroom, on par with the class. Two USB ports in the rear of the center console let rear passengers plug in their phones and other devices. Cargo space for the Chrysler 300 remains at 16.3 cubic feet, less than both the Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus.

Engines carry over unchanged from the previous model. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, or 292 hp and 264 lb.-ft. in the sportier Chrysler 300S. The standard V6 is perfectly capable, with plenty of power on tap in most driving situations. An optional 5.7-liter V8 Hemi, available on rear-wheel-drive models in nearly every trim puts out 363 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. The V8 is more powerful and better sounding than the V6, and it’s especially fun in the 300S model.

Every 2015 Chrysler 300 comes standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission, which is now controlled from the center console by a rotary knob instead of the traditional gear shifter used on the 2014 model. The knob is easy to use and opens up more space in the cabin, creating an airy feeling between driver and passenger. 2015 Chrysler 300S and Platinum models get steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Fuel economy for the 2015 Chrysler 300 is good for a car of its size. Rear-wheel-drive V6 models achieve an EPA-estimated 19/31 mpg City/Highway, while all-wheel-drive V6 models are rated at 18/27 mpg. V8-powered models don’t fare nearly as well, with an EPA rating of 16/25 mpg City/Highway.

The Chrysler 300 is a large car, and as such isn’t exactly light on its feet. But because of its rear-wheel-drive platform, it’s more capable and handles demanding roads better than some of its competitors. A new sport mode on Platinum and V8-powered models further sharpens performance and handling; drivers choose between normal, comfort, and sport settings, which adjust steering, throttle and shift points. In sport mode, we found the Chrysler 300 felt more agile on tight, twisty roads.

Competitors to the 2015 Chrysler 300 include other full-size sedans including the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus and Toyota Avalon. Those interested in the top-of-the-line Platinum trim might also consider sportier and similarly priced (yet smaller) Cadillac CTS.

Model Lineup

The 2015 Chrysler 300 is available in four trims: 300 Limited, 300C, 300S, 300C Platinum. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter V6 with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. An optional 5.7-liter V8 is available with rear-wheel drive only. All models get an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Chrysler 300 Limited ($31,395) comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, leather trim, power windows/locks/mirrors, power 8-way driver and passenger seats with power lumbar, heated front seats, keyless entry, tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with multifunction controls, charcoal wood trim, cruise control, 8.4-inch touch screen display with the Uconnect interface, Bluetooth phone connectivity and streaming audio, six-speaker audio system with satellite radio capability, front USB port, auxiliary audio jack, two rear USB ports (charge only), 60/40-split folding rear seats, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED tail lights and 17-inch aluminum wheels with all-season performance tires. AWD models get standard 19-inch wheels.

15-300s300S ($34,895) gets a 300-hp version of the V6 engine with cold-aid induction, sport-tuned suspension and sport tuned-exhaust plus remote start, unique interior trim, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, backup camera, a front overhead console with lamp and HomeLink universal receiver, upgraded 10-speaker Beats audio system with subwoofer, unique exterior styling with black chrome accents, LED fog lamps and 20-inch black-painted aluminum wheels.

300C ($37,895) gets heated and ventilated 12-way power front seats, heated steering wheel, a dual-pane sunroof, olive ash burl wood trim, additional interior lighting, navigation with real-time traffic, a six-speaker Alpine premium audio system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, auto-dimming driver’s side exterior mirror with memory function and 18-inch polished aluminum wheels.

300C Platinum ($42,395) adds a hand-sanded, natural matte wood trim, leather armrests with seamed stitching, heated/cooled cupholders, upgraded leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped dash and 20-inch polished aluminum wheels.

Many of the Platinum features can be added as options to the Limited and 300C models. Other options include a Harman Kardon audio system with 19 speakers and subwoofer.

Safety equipment on all models includes advanced multistage front driver and passenger air bags, front and rear side curtain airbags, inflatable driver’s knee airbag, front seat-mounted supplemental side air bags, ABS, brake assist, electronic stability control and traction control.

Optional safety packages include the SafetyTec 1, which adds front and rear parking sensors, full-speed forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control with full stop feature, blind spot monitoring and rear cross path detection (300C and Platinum). The SafetyTec 2 package is available on all trims except the Limited and includes advanced brake assist, rain-sensitive windshield wipers, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, auto high-beam control, full-speed forward collision mitigation and adaptive cruise control with full stop feature.

Walkaround

15-300-walkThe 2015 Chrysler 300 looks cleaner and more modern compared with the 2014 model, with revised styling that brings it more in line with the smaller Chrysler 200 for increased visual brand continuity. Most noticeably, the imposing, mesh front grille is 33 percent larger than the outgoing model and features the Chrysler wing logo floating in the middle. It’s flanked by new headlamps that include LED daytime running lights. The redesigned front-end also gets new LED fog lamps. The sportier S model gets a black chrome mesh grille, as well as black headlamp surrounds.

The side view of the Chrysler 300 hasn’t changed much for 2015. Large, highly sculpted wheel arches anchor each end of the car, with a high character line that runs straight from the front wheel over the door handles and into the tail lights. Wheel sizes and designs vary depending on trim level and equipment, ranging from 18-inch alloys to 20-inch black aluminum wheels. The 300S is distinguished by its aggressive side sills.

From the rear, the Chrysler 300 looks wide and substantial. For 2015, new LED tail lamps, which resemble those on the Chrysler 200, feature a bright ring around the perimeter. The rear of the 300 has a slightly lifted look. 300S V8 models get a decklid spoiler. New twin integrated exhaust tips have a more horizontal shape for 2015, replacing the round tips used on the 2014 model.

Interior Features

15-300-interiorThe interior of the 2015 Chrysler 300 is the best yet. Interior designers say they wanted the cabin to be a place of contrasts, between old-world styling and the latest technology. They seemed to have achieved their aim, with a cabin that uses classic and tasteful color combinations, large color displays and many connectivity features.

For 2015, Chrysler 300 comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission controlled by a rotary knob instead of the traditional gear shifter used on the 2014 model. The knob is easy to use and opens up more space in the cabin, creating an airy feeling between driver and passenger. 2015 Chrysler 300S and Platinum models get steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Fit, finish and materials are some of the best in the class, beating the Ford Taurus, which, generally speaking, has grown long in the tooth. We find the Chrysler 300’s design even more tasteful than that of the Chevrolet Impala, which is greatly improved over its previous generation. Chrysler 300 Limited models get upscale features like dual-zone climate control, leather trim and a glossy wood trim finish.

300C Platinum models are the most luxurious, with gorgeous, hand-sanded matte wood accents and leather trim crafted by Poltrona Frau, the Italian furniture company that also upholsters exotic cars, including the latest Porsche Panamera Exclusive edition.

300S interiors get unique seats and interior trim, though we found them more spartan and noticeably less luxurious than their C and Platinum counterparts.

All Chrysler 300 models feature a color touch screen for the center stack that uses Chrysler’s Uconnect interface. We find the Chrysler Uconnect system more user-friendly than My Ford Touch, though we prefer the menus and layout of Chevrolet MyLink, which uses capacitive touch and includes a locking storage compartment behind the screen. To keep with the old-world tradition, the Chrysler 300 features an analog clock atop its display.

On the instrument cluster, a new digital TFT display sits between the analog speedometer and tachometer, showing speed, navigation instructions, vehicle information and more. While the display is large and easy to read, the trip odometer and speed displays are on separate screens, preventing the driver from seeing both at once.

Seats are roomy, comfortable and well cushioned, good for freeway cruising and road trips. Heated, power front seats are standard, and ventilated front seats come on 300C and Platinum models.

Rear seats have plenty of leg- and headroom, on-par with the class. Two USB ports in the rear of the center console let rear passengers charge their phones and other devices. Cargo space for the Chrysler 300 measures 16.3 cubic feet, less than both the Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus, though the standard 60/40-split folding rear seats make it possible to carry more if needed.

Driving Impressions

15-300-driving-1The Chrysler 300 is a large car so it isn’t exactly light on its feet. But because of its rear-wheel-drive platform, it’s more capable and handles demanding roads better than some of its competitors.

The 3.6-liter V6 is perfectly capable for most driving situations. Acceleration is smooth and linear, and rarely sounds like it’s working hard.

The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is another animal altogether, and while it offers more power and thrust, we could feel the big motor’s added weight on winding roads.

The 8-speed automatic transmission is smooth and nearly imperceptible, except when a surge of power is needed for passing at highway speeds or climbing a steep hill. Most of the time, the transmission cruises in a high gear for fuel economy, though you’ll get some extra oomph out of sport mode on cars so equipped by downshifting. For those who want to click through the gears, 300S and Platinum trims get steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

15-300-drivingThe electric power steering feels smooth and comfortable, and appropriate for a car of this size. A new sport mode on Platinum and V8-powered models helps even further with performance and handling. Drivers can choose between normal, comfort and sport settings, which adjusts steering, throttle and shift points. In sport mode, we found the Chrysler 300 felt more agile on tight, twisty turns.

Active safety features on the 2015 Chrysler 300 are competitive with most luxury brands, and include adaptive cruise control, which can bring the car to a full stop, and can even automatically get the car moving again in stop-and-go traffic (provided the car is stopped for less than two seconds at a time). Forward collision warning will fully stop the car at speeds of less than 20 mph, and lane departure warning with lane keep assist will steer the car back into its lane if the driver accidentally veers. Sensitivity for all of these features can be adjusted; they can also be turned off completely.

We took a 2015 Ford Taurus on a competitive drive, and found it lacking in nearly every way compared to the Chrysler 300. In comparison, the steering and handling felt sloppy, and although we had good power from Ford’s V6, it felt uninspired. In a subsequent drive in the Chevrolet Impala, which we also like, we found it felt more like a big car, with not quite as much pep off the line as the Chrysler 300’s V6.

Fuel economy for the 2015 Chrysler 300 is good for a car of its size. Rear-wheel-drive V6 models achieve an EPA-estimated 19/31 mpg City/Highway, while all-wheel-drive V6 models are rated at 18/27 mpg. Understandably, V8-powered models don’t fare nearly as well, with an EPA rating of 16/25 mpg City/Highway.

Summary, Prices, Specs

15-300-finalThe 2015 Chrysler 300 is a top choice in the large sedan segment with bold styling, ample power, a luxurious cabin and available all-wheel-drive.

New Car Test Drive correspondent Laura Burstein filed this report after driving 2015 Chrysler 300 models near Austin, Texas.

Model Line Overview
Model lineup:Chrysler 300 Limited ($31,395) 300S ($34,895); 300C ($37,895); 300C Platinum ($42,395)
Engines:3.6-liter 292-hp V6; 3.6-liter 300 hp V6; 5.7-liter 363hp Hemi V8
Transmissions:8-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard):advanced multistage front driver and passenger air bags, front and rear side curtain airbags, inflatable driver's knee airbag, front seat-mounted supplemental side air bags, ABS, brake assist, electronic stability control and traction control.
Safety equipment (optional):front and rear parking sensors, full-speed forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control with full stop feature, blind spot monitoring and rear cross path detection, advanced brake assist, rain-sensitive windshield wipers, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, auto high-beam control, full-speed forward collision mitigation
Basic warranty:3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in:Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSPR):Chrysler 300 Limited AWD ($33,895)
Standard equipment:dual-zone automatic climate control, leather trim, power windows/locks/mirrors, power 8-way driver and passenger seats with power lumbar, heated front seats, keyless entry, tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with multifunction controls, charcoal wood trim, cruise control, 8.4-inch touch screen display with the Uconnect interface, Bluetooth phone connectivity and streaming audio, six-speaker audio system with satellite radio capability, front USB port, auxiliary audio jack, two rear USB ports (charge only), 60/40-split folding rear seats, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED tail lights
Options as tested (MSPR):Driver Convenience Group ($1,695): remote start, backup camera, universal garage door opener, LED fog lamps; Navigation with HD radio ($995)
Destination charge:$995
Gas guzzler tax:N/A
Price as tested (MSPR):N/A
Layout:all-wheel drive
Engine:3.7-liter DOHC V6
Horsepower (lb.-ft @ rpm):292 @ 6350
Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm):260 @4800
Transmission:8-speed manual automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:18/27 mpg
Wheelbase:120.2 in.
Length/width/height:198.6/75.0/59.2 in.
Track, f/r:63.4/63.8 in.
Turning circle:N/A
Seating Capacity:5
Head/hip/leg room, f:38.6/56.2/41.8 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:37.9/56.1/40.1 in.
Cargo volume:16.3 cu. ft.
Payload:N/A
Towing capacity:N/A
Suspension, f:independent, coil spring, gas monotube shocks, stabilizer bar
Suspension, r:independent, multi-link, coil springs, gas monotube shocks, stabilizer bar
Ground clearance:4.8 in.
Curb weigth:4235 lbs.
Tires:P235/55R19
Brakes, f/r:vented disc/solid disc with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist
Fuel capacity:18.5 gal.
Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle. All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSPR) effective as of January 8, 2015.Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable. Manufacturer Info Sources: 800-CHRYSLER - www.Chrysler.com