profile of the 2019 Chrysler 300S looks like a kid's drawing
of a car and adds to the sedan
I was excited ó
well, maybe excited is a little strong ó but I at least
enthusiastically anticipated the chance to pilot the Chrysler 300, a
car that had eluded me for eight years of testing. Iíd always
liked the styling, how it looked like a little kidís drawing of a
It feels like a big
blow to Chrysler if I start slamming the 300S now. The 300 sedan is
half the brandís lineup. But Iíve been so kind to the other
half, the Pacifica, that I wonít sweat it. (They are adding a
Voyager to the lineup for 2020, but itís just a low-end Pacifica.)
On the road: At first
I hated the handling, but later the big-boy feel grew on me a little
bit. It feels like a 1994 Pontiac Bonneville; the steering is loose
and late, like many rear-wheel-drive cars of yore. Unfortunately,
the test model was all-wheel drive.
Pay careful attention
to the road ó many times I found myself drifting while doing
simple stereo or heating adjustments, even though I had eyes on the
road the whole time.
Up to speed: As the
name implies, the 3.6-liter V-6 in the 300S offers 300 horsepower.
But somehow this sedan included at least 75 or so lame horses. The
car never really felt speedy, even when pressed. Zero to 60 takes
5.3 seconds, Motor Trend says, if you spring for the 5.7-liter Semi
V-8, but I couldnít find reliable numbers on this version. Reports
Shifty: I think the
eight-speed transmission takes those available horses and beats the
oomph right out. In normal driving, it did lots of hunting, maybe
even some gathering.
The 300S test vehicle
also suffered from an occasional shudder, which Iíd also place on
the transmissionís shoulders, as well.
Driverís seat: If
you like íem big and you like íem low, the 300S is just what
youíre looking for.
And while the car
aims toward a, letís say, classic buyer age range, the seats might
put those very buyers off. The heated and ventilated leather-trim
sport seats ó part of the $1,995 300S Premium Group 2, which also
included park assist, heated second-row seats, and much more ó
were hard and quite uncomfortable. I always felt perched atop the
seat rather than snuggling inside. This is a common complaint I have
about FiatChrysler products.
The ginormous hood
and low seating position make parking more of an adventure than it
should be, so make sure you order this package, no matter what. The
park assist is crucial, or there are going to be a lot of fender
benders at the Golden Corral before the early bird special.
Friends and stuff:
Tall Sturgis Kid 4.0 found the rear seat to be an accommodating
place ó not just roomy, but comfortable. I thought it was actually
a bit short on space behind my own seat, and headroom seemed at a
premium. Anyone in the middle will be reduced to tears by a giant
hump and a seat perched high above the two corner seats. So headroom
is cramped, and one needs a yogi level of balance.
Cargo space is 16.3
cubic feet, more than 10% above the Maxima.
Play some tunes: The
300S employed the Alpine Audio Group for $995, with its 506-watt
system, nine premium Alpine speakers, surround sound, and subwoofer.
Sound from the system was delightful.
Operation was simple,
as well, with dials for volume and tuning, and an 8.4-inch
touchscreen for the rest of the functions, much like found in other
Fiat Chrysler products (the touchscreen is part of the $3,495
Premium Group, which also added sunroof, navigation and more).
Keeping warm and
cool: A dial controls fan speed, and buttons control temperature and
direct the air flow. Use the touchscreen for more in-depth changes.
Night shift: The HID
headlamps offer great visibility, and the interior lights donít
interfere with the view of the road.
2019 Chrysler 300S
Price: $50,265 as
tested. The model started at $38,995 and added $1,795 for the S
Appearance Package, and $1,695 for the Safety Tec Group. More
options mentioned below.
ďIt might be outdated, but the Chrysler 300 still has its
charms,Ē according to Motor Trend. In 2018.
ďAn icon of ingenuity.Ē
Reality: A blast from
Fuel economy: I
averaged about 22 mpg in the usual Mr. Driverís Seat round of
testing. (So imagine how much the V-8 drinks.) Feed the V-6
Where itís built:
How itís built: The
300 gets a 2 out of 5 for reliability from Consumer Reports.
In the end: The 300S
sedan has its charms, but this is a lot of money for nostalgia.