2013 Chrysler 300C Luxury Series AWD Sedan (3.6L 6-cyl. AWD 8-speed Auto)
Driven On 7/9/2013
As a luxury sedan, the 300C Luxury Series AWD is aptly named. It's certainly not a sport sedan. Instead it's stylish, quiet and well-equipped, and we'd recommend it to anyone who cares less about a badge and more about size, comfort and features.
PerformanceThe 300C had a reasonable showing at our test facility, but it's not sporty. Rather, it's all about smooth and effortless luxury driving. The all-wheel-drive system seems geared for inclement weather rather than dry performance.
As respectable as a 7.1-sec 0-60 time is, the 292-hp V6 engine feels burdened by this 4,300-pound car. The 8-speed transmission is smooth and smart, but lacks rev-matched downshifts.
For a large car, the brakes feel responsive and confident. But our testing revealed a low tolerance for heat resistance, and the panic stopping distances were longer than average.
Light-effort steering suits the scale of this car. It also offers commendable precision when taking turns with some extra vigor.
Handling is not the 300C's strength, especially with this car's touring-tuned suspension. Still, there was more athleticism than we expected for such a large and heavy four-door.
Despite lackluster performance (get the SRT8 model if you want a sport sedan), the 300C offers good everyday driveability. Poor sight lines make parallel parking difficult though.
Even when properly equipped, the 300C can only tow up to 1,000 pounds. The V8 model is rated to the same weight.
ComfortAlthough the AWD model doesn't ride as comfortably as the Base rear-drive versions, our Luxury Series tester countered this with exceptional seats and an ultra-quiet cabin.
This model's standard heated/vented front and heated rear seats are well above average for comfort. It helps that there's plenty of room for passengers to stretch out.
Even when fitted with 19-inch wheels, the tires have enough sidewall to cushion the ride. But the Touring suspension of AWD models rides firmer than the rear-drive cars.
The Chrysler 300 has always had a quiet cabin and this year is no exception. The 8-speed automatic transmission helps to keep the revs (and noise) low at highway speeds.
InteriorEspecially in the Luxury Series trim, the 300C's interior gets high scores for its sensible ease-of-use, easy access and an abundance of high-quality materials.
There's some learning required for the standard touchscreen infotainment system, but it's still one of the better versions. Other knobs/buttons are well-labeled and operate intuitively.
Pretty much what you'd expect from a car of this size: Large doors and sensible seat heights mean getting in and out is easy.
With 122.6 cubic-feet of interior volume, there are few cars available at any price that offer this much cabin space.
As has been the case since the 300 came out, the view rearward is troublesome. This model's standard reverse camera and optional park sensors/blind-spot monitor help greatly.
There are plenty of dedicated cubbies to store little things within the cabin. The large, 16.3 cubic-foot trunk has shrouded hinges that won't crush or mar a mountain of luggage.
ValueThe 300C is a truly multi-national effort: Engine from Mexico, transmission from Germany and it's assembled in Canada. There's a lot of car here for the money along with a competitive warranty. Reliability, however, might be questionable.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Our Luxury Series example exhibited high-quality materials throughout the cabin, with tight door seals and panel gaps, too. The level of quality is commensurate with the price.
Many of the standard features on the Luxury Series are found on imports' optional equipment lists, such as keyless entry/ignition, heated seats, Bluetooth, nav and rear camera.
Some might find the Luxury Series AWD's $43K base price shocking because a base rear-drive 300 starts at around $31K. We think it's fair, however, considering the content.
The AWD is smart enough to "disconnect" when not needed, but the best fuel economy we observed barely matched the EPA's combined 20 mpg rating. No doubt about it, this is a big car.
While the basic 3-year/36,000-mile warranty is nothing special, the powertrain and roadside assistance are covered for 5 years/100,000 miles.
The 300 doesn't have a free scheduled maintenance program. And Chrysler's checkered past of unscheduled dealer visits gives us pause.
Fun To DriveWhile there's more athleticism here than the car's size and shape would suggest, the 300 Luxury Series is more about enjoying the journey rather than how quickly you can get there.
Driving the 300C Luxury Series AWD is a very low-impact experience and largely pleasurable. But it's not as effortless or cloud-like as its V8-powered rear-drive brethren.
There's a feeling of quiet competence when you drive the 300C Luxury. There's a "large-and-in-charge" sensation, and it's a fantastic highway hauler.